The hectare site is managed on organic principles and is off-grid. We only use natural fertilisers and no commercial pesticides.
Design and build:
All timber was sourced from sustainably managed forests. Much of this was grown and milled in Northland. All wood used internally, including framing, is untreated in order to avoid the off-gassing associated with treated wood.
Two to three coats of ‘eco-oil’ from Natural House has been applied to all internal surfaces.
All paint used is low-VOC paint from Resene.
In order to reduce waste, off-cuts of untreated timber were used in our wood-burning stove to both heat our home and also frequently for cooking.
Shelving and cabinetry is almost entirely made from left-over and recycled wood.
We have used insulation with a far higher rating than required by the building code in order to minimise heating in winter.
All windows are double-glazed.
The house faces Northwest to maximise passive solar heating. The walls on the north side of the house are almost entirely glass, while the window area on the south side of the house is minimal, in order to best enhance this passive solar aspect.
Our builders and associated sub-contractors were Northland based in order to minimise road miles.
Great efforts were made to keep the damage to surrounding bush to a minimum during construction, and a major landscaping exercise using native planting is well underway to mitigate any damage caused.
Our electricity is produced by solar panels.
A separate solar system produces almost all our hot water. (An energy efficient gas califont is used very occasionally for top-up on very low light days).
Due to high insulation values, the house requires very little heating. This is provided by an energy efficient flued Rinnai eco gas heater
Rain water for both drinking and washing is collected from the roof and stored under the house. It is double filtered before use.
We have our own on-site vermiculture eco-septic system that treats all black and grey water.
All lighting (internal and external) uses low wattage bulbs.
In order to minimise water and detergent use, we do not routinely offer daily changing of sheets and towels. We encourage guests to carefully consider the environmental impact of their stay.
We launder sheets and towels with environmentally friendly washing powder.
Soaps, body wash, shampoo and conditioner are all environmentally friendly, locally produced by ecostore and are free of parabens and sodium laureth sulfate.
Fittings and Furnishings:
Where possible, we have used New Zealand companies for fittings and furnishings.
Our tiles were hand made in Warkworth by Middle Earth Tiles, New Zealand’s only remaining commercial tile manufacturer.
The door handles were created by Zealous. They produce cast bronze in West Auckland and use traditional techniques with a minimal environmental impact.
Tapware is from Methven, a New Zealand company. The shower head is low-flow to conserve water and the toilet has a dual flush.
Our deluxe king-size bed was made by New Zealand company Design Mobel. The frame is made from sustainably sourced native timber and the mattress is natural latex. The pillows are made from natural materials and we offer a range to suit different guest preferences, including wood fibre, latex and feather/down.
Towels and sheets are made from a bamboo/cotton mix or organic cotton. This greatly reduces the amount of pesticide, fertilizer, bleach and dye used in production.
The duvet inner is 100% silk. As well as being a luxurious light material to sleep under, silk has unique insulating and anti-bacterial properties, as well as requiring little fertilizer or pesticide in production.
Glassware was made using energy efficient processes and environmentally friendly components.
The drawer liner for utensils is made from bamboo.
Outdoor furniture is made from FSC certified hardwood.
Our kettle is both low volume and (relatively) low wattage to minimise water and electricity use.
The hair dryer is low wattage.
Breakfasts and meals:
Where possible all breakfasts and dinners are made from locally sourced, organic products.
We continue to expand our own organic gardens and orchards and where possible will use this produce on a seasonal basis.
All wine served with meals is sourced from within Northland with an organic selection available.
Recycling and waste reduction:
All paper, glass and metal waste is recycled at our local recycling centre.
We are taking steps to minimise paper use and avoid purchasing products with excessive packaging.
All food scraps are recycled using Bokashi fermentation or composting and are subsequently used in our gardens.
Coffee and tea supplied is Fair Trade and/or organic.
We plan to audit our materials and energy use on an on-going basis in order to achieve continued improvement.
We offer a wide selection of local activities. These have a low-carbon, low environmental impact focus and include bush walks, horse riding, picnics etc.
We actively encourage native birdlife and bees by planting Flax, Manuka, Kowhai etc. We also trap possums using humane traps and battle invasive non-native weeds by hand!