If your plan is to build a light, warm, healthy, sustainable home, then Christchurch City Council’s new Eco Design Advisor could be just the person to talk to.
French-born Julie Villard has been in the role for only a few weeks and is already helping people talk through the ways they can design and position their homes for maximum eco reward.
With 10 years’ experience as an architect Julie has a passion for sustainability, building her skills and knowledge in Canada, Switzerland and for the past five years, New Zealand.
She is the welcoming face of the Council's recently-launched Eco Design Advisor service, which offers a free two-hour session where advisors can consult on a range of projects from new builds to home renovations and retrofits.
“I sit down with people and go over their plans. You consider things like orientation to the sun, which is vital, and sizing and so on.
“After that, I switch to the ‘thermal envelope’ or the shell of the building – the roof, walls and ceiling. I explain how it works; I check what they’ve got, answer questions, and we talk about their options. Then I go into the detail of the specifications of the place, such as heating and ventilation systems or kitchen design.
“It’s really important to understand that you can’t choose your heating system if you haven’t done the first two steps. A house on piles will react completely differently to one on a concrete slab, for example. If you’ve got really good insulation, you don’t need such a big heating system and vice-versa,” Julie said.
“I love it when people come in with their plans and they are so excited to get started. In my first few weeks I saw 10 clients – several even before we had really promoted the service. I think some people have been waiting to be able to tap into this kind of knowledge and advice.
“We target everyone when it comes to finding ways to save energy and be more sustainable, but my main focus is new homes where so many gains can be made through design and layout.
“I also know the consents system and understand council processes because I have worked as an architect in Christchurch for the last four years.”
Another component of Julie’s role is to work with industry, which includes architects, designers, builders and manufacturers.
“There are so many ways efficiencies can be achieved just by talking to one another and sharing knowledge about ways to do things and latest products.”
To talk with Julie phone (03) 941 8999 or email email@example.com. You can also find out more about the Eco Design Advisor Service on the Council's website.