Autumn... looking forward to our first winter in a Passive House

Temperatures are dropping, leaves falling, and we listen to the quiet of autumn at the Lagoon. 

What is it like to be in a super-insulated Hut on a cold day? 

Amazing.... peaceful, warm, and our power bills from Flick show exactly what we are doing on a day by day basis - NOT turning on the heat pumps as we don't have any!. In fairness, on a very cold day we do need a heat source. In Base Hut we light the fire (and open the windows when the low emission, high output, Pyroclassic mini gives us more heat than we need), Top Hut I installed one electric wall mounted panel heater - low space, low energy, on a thermostat and timer. And in Mid Hut with my bedroom and studio, I am still experimenting with no additional heat source. 

When the sun shines, warmth is captured and retained. When the sun does not shine, on a 2 degree day with a persistent inversion layer, the fire is perfect. The best thing is, the heat you put into a Hut, is retained for far longer than a standard Code compliant house. 

I have never lived in a highly insulated home before, and I suspect many New Zealanders have not either. If you are in the area, feel free to give me a call for a visit. I am happy to share ideas and details with those interested in highly efficient homes.

Much love,



Waters Huts, Albert Town, Wanaka - May 2018

Waters Huts, Albert Town, Wanaka - May 2018

Open Home - 5th and 12th May

Huts are our home!

6 by 6 meters with a 2 meter eave, 140mm timber frame, wool insulation, double wrap, triple cavity, CLT floor, factory built, any internal configuration you wish,

mountain hut inspired, high quality European details, New Zealand vernacular,

warm efficient love space, built to maximise production efficiency, maximise comfort levels, minimise ongoing running costs.

environmentally sensitive, passionate architecture.

save consultant fees and construction cost with off the shelf design, known process, time and quality,

our doors are open to you in May, come experience the space for yourself,

Waters Huts at 80 Lagoon Ave, Albert Town, Wanaka

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004 - 80 Lagoon Ave APR 2018.jpg

Waters Huts fly in ...

Two of the three huts are on site, the last one to be delivered next week.... given so much is done in the factory we will be living in the little mountain Huts by Friday! Photos below of Top Hut being built in the Welhaus factory in Christchurch, and being craned into position in Wanaka.

Soon to come: how to build your own Hut, things to look out for in your own build project and comments on where the industry that surrounds construction (insurance, valuation, banking) needs to catch up with the high performance and pre-fab elements of new builds.... 

I love talking this stuff over a coffee so if you feel inclined, give me a call and lets catch up.



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80 Lagoon Ave - Show Home Under Construction!

Work is well and truly under way - foundations going in on site and the huts being constructed under a single factory roof in Christchurch. Love it - doing two things at once!

Controlling time and quality. LVL wall and ceiling frames are the ultimate in dry straight timber, they will never see a drop of rain, CLT flooring panels coming in off the ship shortly, 110mm thick flooring panels provide structure, insulation and finished floor surface all in one. Being factory built with a panelised system means maximum efficiency. Designed to fit the 1200mm standard we are minimizing waste. Panels are built on a table meaning the builders are working at ergonomic heights and panels are mechanically turned minimizing lifting and strain. 

Designed by yours truly (Sonia Waters:) and built by Welhaus in Christchurch and Tom Hudson in Wanaka these three little passive house huts will be craned into position before Christmas. Will update you with the load-in date/s when known - will have a street bbq to celebrate! 


Affordable Housing - definition

What is affordable housing and how do we achieve it?
The international definition of Affordable Housing is where the cost of mortgage or rent is no more than 1/3 of your income.
For the person on New Zealand's average income of $56,000 that is $326.00 per week.
Assuming that person has saved a 10% deposit, and interest at 5% your Affordable House is $400,000 or less.
An Auckland development just lifted their Affordable House price from $550,000 to $650,000. Really????
So how do we supply $400,000 homes to the market? We need game-changing shifts on multiple fronts .... solutions coming soon.


Sonia Waters' Huts

Sonia Waters' Huts