It's quite some achievement -- constructing what will be New Zealand's greenest apartment building.
Developer Mark Todd is justifiably proud of Daisy, the apartment block his company, Ockham Residential, is going to build next year. It has been appraised to receive a Homestar rating of 9, which is currently the highest rating given to an apartment block in the country.
"Daisy is ahead of the times, but hopefully people will appreciate what we are trying to do," says Mark.
A Homestar rating is similar to the Energy Star rating given to appliances, but for dwellings instead. It helps people to see how energy efficient and healthy their homes are and takes into consideration factors such as the structure of a building and how much sun it gets, materials used, insulation, lighting, heating and water efficiency.
Ockham has been responsible for several other high-quality developments around Auckland, and the company always tries to make its buildings as low energy and sustainable as possible. But they've taken things to the next level with Daisy.
Latest green technologies include a clever heat-recovery ventilation system that exchanges cold air for warm, and a solar farm on the roof that will drive pumps to heat the hot water in the building. Argon-filled double-glazing, high levels of insulation, appliances with high-energy saving ratings and low-energy LED light fittings will all help make Daisy a great place to live and a building that does its bit for the environment.
And in a move Mark describes as "pretty radical", the design of the building, which is 3km from Auckland's CBD, doesn't include parking spaces for cars. Instead there are 40 spaces for bikes and 15 for scooters. Two hybrid cars will be available on site for residents to use.
"If people need a car to go to the supermarket or see a doctor, they can book one online. Otherwise, it is a short walk to Dominion Rd, which is the busiest bus spine in Auckland, and you're also 800m from the train station," says Mark.
"I don't know if anyone in New Zealand has ever done this before, but hopefully it will help encourage people to use public transport."
Ockham Residential is also joining forces with its charitable arm, Ockham Foundation, to offer a shared equity scheme. This will be available on a third of Daisy apartments, and will provide owner-occupiers with an interest-free loan of up to 15 per cent of the purchase price for up to 10 years.
"In some cases, that could result in a 20 per cent reduction in the cost of servicing a mortgage for up to 10 years," says Mark. Ockham wants to help people get into the tricky Auckland housing market, and it expects it will be particularly appealing to baby boomers keen to help their children get a foot on the property ladder.
Not only does Ockham think it is important to create competitively priced green buildings, but it wants to improve the local community.
Daisy will have 33 one- and two-bedroom apartments over six levels. It will be constructed from high-quality concrete, finished with a solid render system featuring decorative daisies. The flower was chosen as the name of the building after its location -- akepiro is a type of tree daisy. And the outer ring of petals on a daisy illustrate the Fibonacci sequence, a famous series of numbers. Ockham's developments pay tribute in some way to mathematics and famous mathematicians -- one of their other buildings is The Turing, in Grey Lynn, named after code-breaker Alan Turing -- which is a nod to the fact that Mark and fellow Ockham founder Ben Preston studied maths together at university.
The pair describe themselves as "urban regenerators" and want to leave a legacy of well-built buildings that will age gracefully and improve Auckland's landscape.
They hope Daisy will attract people who share their vision of urban living that is both comfortable and sustainable.