Modern 609m2 house with 4.5kW photovoltaics, solar hot water, wetback powering energy efficient appliances. Come and see!

Contact us today to visit the solar energy house and get extensive hints, tips and notes for free as part of the tour...


Where possible the Copes have chosen New Zealand-made building materials and equipment, to reduce transport energy and support New Zealand business.


They include Halcyon light fittings, Athena shower units, Breeze Furniture for wardrobes and bathroom vanities and tough Linear weatherboard cladding from James Hardie to match the existing weatherboards.


They regret they were unable to find New Zealand-manufactured whiteware that met their exacting standards of energy efficiency, and hope that one day F&P will take this lead.


They looked at low-toxicity BioPaints but found the Taubmans Wattyl “green” paints were more affordable.

State house supports self-sufficiency

Visionaries or pragmatists? Simon and Kristina Cope have invested heavily in smart energy strategies for their Auckland home, but they expect it to pay its way.


Article by Cathy Sheenan - Editor for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA - NZ Govt Dept)

Published in EnergyWiseNews Magazine Oct 2004 & updated in June 2009

Embodied energy

Energy generation

On the roof, the Copes have solar photovoltaic (PV) modules that generate electricity from the sun’s energy.


So far, they have 2 kilowatts and are planning to add another 2 kilowatts in 2009 to power the office as it expands with more employees. They were going to also install an additional 640 watt array connected to a small battery pack to act as uninterruptible power supply for the office and essential systems when the grid fails... Thankfully new technology from the inverter manufacturer SMA has been invented to solve this common challenge the Cope's also experienced in NZ; 99% of the time the power grid is fine. When we do get a power failure/blackout the main PV modules cannot be used... what a waste and very frustrating when the smalled 640 watt array doesn't generate enough energy to continbue on as normal...


The direct current (DC) from the modules is fed to the $3000 Sunny Boy inverter in the laundry and converted to alternating current (AC) before it enters the electricity grid.


Acting as a mini power station, PV and inverter feed the electricity into the grid.


Being able to feed the grid means the Copes do not need to buy, maintain and find space for the ‘wall’ of truck battery-sized batteries used for an independently-powered household (like they had for 5 years in their first solar powered home in Mt Roskill.)


With the new technology mentioned above from SMA,

Although Simon is an electronics whiz, he hasn't gone overboard with high-tech digital controls. Subscribing to the "Keep it Simple Stupid" principle, he has no voice-activated switches or digital keypads.


The temperature controller for each of the radiators is a simple knob.


The most "smart"-looking part of the whole system is the Sunny Boy inverter, which has a digital readout showing how much electricity is being generated. It is capable of handling multiple circuits, a facility  Simon's planning to use when he adds the next batch of solar PV modules.


Everything else is hidden - quietly keeping the house snug and warm in winter and cool in summer.

Smart house for dummies

Solar Energy House C/- Simon & Kristina Cope | 19 Manapau Street, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072  |  New Zealand  |  Contact us now to arrange your tour

Net metering


The Holmes TV item hughlighted the difficulties Householders face when trying to...


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