Eco Design for Sustainable Buildings

Eco-design is design with an efficient use of resources in mind. With careful design, you can improve a building's sustainability, your health and your bank balance. Here are some easy steps towards making your home or workplace warmer, drier and healthier.

Free ways to save

  • Take showers not baths.
  • Limit your shower time.
  • Use and maintain bathroom and kitchen extractors.
  • Dry your clothes outside of the house.
  • Find an alternative to gas heaters.
  • Limit the number of pot plants.
  • When washing your clothes, use cold water and wash full loads.
  • Turn off lights when leaving the room.
  • Fix leaky taps.
  • Close your curtains at sunset.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall.
  • Block off open fire places when they are not in use (as per fire service advice).
  • Turn off ‘second’ or ‘beer’ fridges when they are not in use.
  • Only heat rooms that are occupied.
  • Move your bed away from windows.

Low cost ways to save

  • Install an energy efficient/low flow shower head.
  • Check your insulation and fill in any gaps.
  • Install a hot water cylinder wrap – even on new hot water cylinders.
  • Insulate your hot water pipes.
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs in the rooms you use most.
  • Replace down lights with surface mounted lights and re-insulate the ceiling area.
  • Draught proof your doors and windows.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors.
  • When shopping for new appliances, check their energy efficiency rating.
  • Install security stays on the windows for passive ventilation.

Further ways to save

  • Install or increase ceiling, floor and wall insulation.
  • Install pelmets and full length lined thermal curtains.
  • Replace old appliances with energy efficient appliances – check for the Energy Star rating.
  • Install kitchen and bathroom extractors with timers.
  • Install rain water and grey water systems.
  • Double glaze your windows.
  • Install windows with passive air vents or security stays.
  • Install exterior mechanisms to shade windows which overheat your home in the summer.
  • Remove carpets from the kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas to prevent moisture build-up.
  • Use solar water heating or a heat pump to heat your living spaces to 18-24 degrees Celsius.

Warm up New Zealand

You may be eligible for ENERGYWISE funding to help insulate your house and install clean and efficient heating under the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme. To find out more information on this programme visit

Eco Design Advisory Service

New Plymouth District Council does not have an Eco Design Advisory Service. However, you can access many resources and presentations on the Eco Design Advisor website