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People Have the Power: Dave Stubbs

People Have the Power is a content series bringing you people from around New Zealand who are focussed on living a more sustainable lifestyle, be that through the home, work or travel.


First up is Dave Stubbs, architect and founder of Altar Projects, an architecture practice based in Marlborough, committed to crafting simple and sustainable homes, so New Zealanders can live better.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your background 

I’m a designer based in Marlborough. I guess I came to my career a little later than most - as I was more focused on pursuing wakeboarding in my twenties. Eventually I realised I was more interested in design and architecture and I could try to balance both of them together, and use each to inform how we think about design and architecture. 

Tell us about some of your recent design projects that incorporated energy sustainability or solutions

Most of our projects are SIPS panel construction, coupled with more thermally efficient ingredients. High performing homes, yet still balanced with adventurous architecture. Most projects undergo energy modelling to ensure they perform as a brand new home should. This ties into breeding a healthier lifestyle and hopefully mindset for our clients. 

Tell us about your home, how would you describe the environment?

It’s pretty low-key, a modest cabin in a paddock of horses on the outskirts of Blenheim. We installed solar to the whole North facing roof, we will be keeping the property for a while so it made economic sense. It's hooked up to battery storage and any excess goes to the grid.

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Have you incorporated sustainable energy solutions in your own home and lifestyle?

As well as the solar panels, we have a logburner hooked up to a wetback and generally only use the logburner for heating the home. All our firewood so far has been taken from the property. The solar charges the car and the HWC which is the biggest draw.

What can you share with us about the process of owning an EV

I think EV’s make a lot of sense, but still need to be used responsibly. The main reason I chose an EV was to reduce emissions, they make our environment intimidating and polluted for cyclists and pedestrians. I didn't own a vehicle for a year or so, and thought hard about what the right move was. It's a cleaner move, and the car is so intuitive.

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Do you have an idea of what you'll be working on next?

I’m interested in innovative housing solutions, we need to rethink how our housing and lifestyles could evolve, it shouldn’t be as speculative and dull as it currently is. Our building and resource consenting is very prescriptive and alternatives aren't given the proper thought they deserve. Tiny homes are a good example, there are a large number of people willing to sacrifice on size and owning land, but there aren't any solutions to include this sector of society. The framework isn't there, from the consenting to the borrowing, to the lease agreement. 

What are your top tips for saving on energy costs?

I guess just being thoughtful about how much we use vehicles. I'm a big fan of jumping on the bike if you can! Also we set our energy usage to line up with the battery.

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Published on 14th November 2022
Monique O'Malley
Monique O'MalleyHead of Marketing

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