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People Have the Power: Rich, The Marlborist

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.

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Rich Ellis is the co-founder The Marlborist, who directs the winemaking program responsible for creating some of the best wine the region has to offer.

Rich with Wine Glass

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background 

I live in Marlborough with my wife and our two young kids. We moved here because I’m a winemaker and this is a fantastic climate for making wine - with crisp winters and long sunny summer days. I have worked in the wine industry both in NZ, and around the world, for 20 years and recently started my own wine company (The Marlborist) with a couple of industry friends.

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

My wife and I work from home and we have young kids so a priority for us has been a warm, dry home. After looking at a range of heating solutions we decided to install a Daikin ducted heat pump system.  It has been a game-changer, I’ve got an app for it so I can turn it on when I’m away from home. We’ve also found that with half price nights it’s a no-brainer to keep it running overnight during winters as it only costs a few dollars.

Rich & Fam Gardening

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

We live in a 1920’s bungalow, it used to be the mayor’s house and local rumour has it that the Queen Mother/ King’s Grandma had afternoon tea here when she visited the region!  When we bought it most of it was in original condition…in other words freezing! So we renovated extensively in 2017, packing the walls, underfloor and ceilings with insulation and replacing the joinery with double glazing. The difference in terms of livability is night and day compared to when we first moved in.

Rich at the Table

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

We now use a ducted heat pump which we try to operate during off-peak hours so the house is warm and toasty through the night and it retains this heat during the day.

What mindful approaches do you take to your energy consumption throughout the day? 

Although we work at home, we’re mindful to try and avoid using power-hungry appliances (e.g. washing machine, dryer, dishwasher and to some extent the heat pump) during the daytime, we load up the nights.

Rich & Family on Couch

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

With gas prices on the rise we’re investigating moving our gas hot water across to an electric heat pump system and potentially looking at solar too.

What are your top 5 tips for saving on energy costs?

Being conscious as to when you use appliances, it turns out lots of appliances have timers on which makes it easy to set them to come on at night.

Thick curtains make a difference, and in winter don’t forget to pull them as the sun goes down so you keep the heat in.

We’re also lucky in that we live close to town and our children's school so we try to walk or bike everywhere. This means we avoid the hit of rising petrol costs, but more importantly the best conversations happen on the walk to and from school.

With Octopus Energy you can keep your house toasty (or cool!) with our great Off-Peak and Night rates available across all of our plans.

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

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