A Whangaparaoa house has been built to bring power to the people.
The six-bedroom, 280sq m $840,000 house at 62 Ardern Ave, Stanmore Bay, is selling electricity back to the national grid, generating $127.75 in its first two months.
Malcolm McAll, managing director of Ecos Homes and the architect who designed the house, said more money could be generated. The last two months were cloudy and the house gets power from the sun so summer will be more productive, he said.
"A retired couple in a small two-bedroom home with $60,000 spare cash could generate an income of about $600-$800 a month to supplement their pension," he said.
In Europe, people had electric cars which they could charge at home.
"They are now at the stage where they have no fuel bills, no electricity bills and they are generating an income. That's part of the message we need to get across in New Zealand," he said.
The show home was designed to display energy efficiency and quality building features which McAll said he hoped would become standard practice in New Zealand.
He said the energy-saving and financial benefits would more than compensate for the cost of installing special features. A three-bedroom 120sq m house with energy-saving features could be built for about $360,000, McAll estimated.
The Stanmore Bay house has 30sq m of photovoltaic panels, which cost about $30,000, allowing it to generate electricity from the sun with the potential to produce more power than is needed and sell power back to Meridian Energy.
Rebecca Johns, a business consultant at Meridian in Christchurch, said more houses were being fitted with import-export metres allowing them to sell excess power.
"We sell at the same rate we buy," she said.
Meridian works closely with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority on energy saving advice.
But McAll said few energy providers bought power from homeowners.
The Government's residential initiative is managed by the authority and offers discounts on installing wall, roof and underfloor insulation and heat pumps for older homes.
A Jennian Homes spokeswoman said her firm offered clients eco-features such as low-toxicity paint and solar panels.
* Solar panels to generate extra power.
* Insulation is 80 per cent recycled plastic bottles.
* All windows double-glazed.
* Eves/overhangs reduce summer sun.
* Wood burner with hot water booster.
* Thicker walls allow more insulation.
* House much stronger than NZ standard.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version. The house is 280sq m, not 3000sq m. Its solar panels are 30sq m, not 1000sq m.