Because your new home shouldn't cost the earth


Olive + Hero recognise the important role residential construction plays in creating a sustainable future for New Zealand. By carefully managing our environmental impact we can help ensure that we provide all our customers with sustainability as standard, whilst still ensuring we build homes with leading quality, value and durability.

Responsible environmental practice is now more important than ever, with almost unanimous acceptance that our planet faces growing climate pressure, it is the responsibility of all households and businesses to ensure they are making a positive contribution to a sustainable future.

When we think of sustainability or environmental responsibility in homes, we often think of bolt-on renewable energy devices, such as solar panels or smart home technologies, which are often priced out of reach for everyday Kiwi families. Olive + Hero believe the balance between budgets and green choices should be built into the very fabric of the building, from the outset – and that saving the earth shouldn’t have to cost it.

With good planning, good design and smarter material choices, Olive + Hero believe environmental responsibility can be embodied into every new home as standard, giving all of our customers peace of mind that their new home can create a positive impact for generations.

Two things in common
– your budget and our earth


When considering a new home many of us have an overriding pressure of budget, after all a new home is likely to be the largest purchase of your life. In choosing your new home you always want to ensure the home fits your lifestyle and needs, whilst ensuring it provides good value, great quality and long-term durability.

Many of us also want to ensure that our largest purchase also has the minimum possible environmental impact, without adversely impacting budgets. To achieve this, smarter thinking is required.

Sustainable design

By ensuring your home maximises natural site amenity, ensuring that the orientation, layout and specification of your home enhances comfort and reduces unnecessary energy or resource consumption. Primary examples include making good use of sunlight to reduce the need for artificial heating or cooling in summer or winter.

Sustainable materials

A growing European approach to energy efficiency is known as Fabric First, where the building itself performs an energy saving function through its fabric, for example using materials of good thermal mass, quality insulation or double glazing. At Olive + Hero we believe that this approach should also take into account the environmental footprint of the building fabric, by specifying products of recycled, secondary or sustainable sources where possible, for example responsibly sourced timber through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme.

Responsible sourcing

Residential construction relies on large, complex supply chains, with many manufacturers or distributors involved in the completion of your home. Understanding the Environmental Management Systems of these manufacturers or distributors is an important step many businesses fail to consider. At Olive + Hero we have compiled a Responsible Sourcing document which lists the Environmental Management Systems of many of our suppliers, providing peace of mind that our operations are not undermined earlier in the supply chain.

Modern, sustainable housing typologies

New Zealand has traditionally built low density, high maintenance, detached housing typologies. Modern Kiwis want homes that are lower maintenance, smarter designed and closer to existing amenity and infrastructure. At Olive + Hero we believe that medium density buildings, such as terraced homes, better fit modern, busy lifestyles, but also contribute positively to a sustainable urban future. Typically, higher population density reduces carbon footprint through less urban sprawl, better transport links and greater energy efficiency through adjacency and shared wall mass.


Recognising that environmentally responsible materials or design should positively contribute to the living standards within your home, not reduce it. Afterall, sustainable credentials are soon forgotten if your home doesn’t perform as you’d like. Well designed homes last and perform for generations and nothing should take away from this.

What can I expect?


At Olive + Hero we consider every build and development individually, ensuring that every practical aspect is maximised for environmental responsibility. In doing this we generally work along the whole construction cycle, from initial planning to the overall design and specification of the project, allowing us to positively contribute to quality, value, practicality and sustainability.

By being often prescriptive on the specification of materials, we can ensure that our fundamental environmental and build philosophies are embodied into every home. Typically, many of our builds will include the following sustainable principles or materials as standard:

  • Timber frame construction

    By using timber frame construction methodologies we can ensure a positive CO2 contribution from the very outset, when compared to alternate framing materials such as steel. As a tried and tested formula for New Zealand building its environmental credentials are enhanced further with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifying New Zealand supplied timber as having amongst the highest environmental and social standards, avoiding long term damage to the world’s forests and ecosystems.

  • Materials made from recycled sources

    By using materials made from recycled sources, coupled with excellent performance and durability, products such as Pink Batts insulation contain over 80% recycled glass, ensuring that the world's waste is being turned into something which keeps your home warm and dry.

  • Materials made from natural sources

    By using materials which are made from naturally occurring materials of abundant supply, means we can ensure we manage long term resource levels. Examples of these products are plasterboard made from gypsum, or clay bricks of high thermal mass and durability, sourced from clay earth.

  • Materials of low toxicity

    By using non-toxic materials such as water based paints or fibre cement cladding containing no formaldehydes, we can help ensure that people, animals, plants and waterways are not harmed through the release of toxic substances which remain stubbornly present in our ecosystem for many years.

  • Materials of high thermal mass

    By using materials of higher thermal mass, we create an external building fabric which has a greater density related ability to absorb and store free solar energy. These materials can therefore better retain daytime solar warmth, creating lower overall temperature fluctuations inside a home. Good examples of high thermal mass materials are commonly used clay bricks.

  • Double glazing as standard

    Double glazing is not a mandatory requirement in NZ, however for little cost double glazing can halve external heat loss, significantly improve thermal comfort, reduce or remove condensation build up and significantly reduce external noise, especially important in modern urban living.

  • Water and waste management systems

    Many modern urban developments require systems which promote water sensitive design. This includes water retention or detention systems to manage the flow of stormwater to prevent flooding and river erosion, alongside promoting water conservation through greywater reuse for non-human consumption such as gardens or toilets. Similarly, some developments require sewer grinders to help promote more efficient, reliable and controlled black water waste discharge into existing infrastructure systems.

Protecting our environment for the benefit of future generations is increasingly important and is something which requires a universal, collaborative approach. At Olive + Hero we believe that by playing our part we can ensure we make a positive contribution to New Zealand’s built environment, alongside ensuring that all of our homes provide quality, value and durability for your peace of mind, whilst embodying sustainability and environmental management as standard.