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Case Studies – Pier Development Apartments

New Zealand’s largest apartments solar water heating systems

Solar by the sea
Property developer Paul Spackman chose solar water heating for 32 new apartments on Wellington’s sunny Kapiti Coast.
Edwards Solar Water Heating was part of the package for the quality pier development. It increased the cost by only $2,500 per apartment (based on the bulk purchase arrangement with the supplier). The potential savings for the owner of each apartment are around $500 a year in water heating costs.

Energy efficient design
The apartments were designed by architect Gary Phillips – a solar advocate with a 30-year association with energy efficiency.
They are extremely comfortable and economical to heat: oriented towards the sun, with good insulation and limited use of glass on the south side.
Paul put the job out to tender among solar suppliers and chose Solar Edwards Systems from Solar Tech. They installed 32 heaters, each with a 300 litre tank and 4m2 rooftop panels.
Gary commends Paul for going solar: “Unless someone takes the bull by the horns we’ll never move forward. If everyone just looked at the short-term payback, that would restrict progress.”

Happy buyers
Leigh Tuohy, who bought one of the apartments, says the solar was a plus for her and her builder husband.
“We need to think about alternative ways of getting heat and I know that water heating takes a hell of a lot.”
Leigh is pleased with how quickly her apartment warms up, and says she would consider solar for her own building projects.

Support from EECA
The development received financial assistance from EECA to install the systems, in an initiative to support large-scale solar water heating development.
EECA believes solar water heating has enormous potential for hotels, motels, hospitals, prisons, retirement homes, farms and other users of large quantities of hot water.

Award winning design
The development was highly commended in the Meridian Energy Renewable Energy category of the 2006 EECA EnergyWise Awards.
Judges said the project was an elegant demonstration of residential-scale hot water systems that went beyond the normal approach of building developers. Its sustainability ethos was unusual for such developments and provided a good local model for others to follow.

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