Greenhaven Homes is the dream of Levin-born builder Todd Strode-Penny, his partner Natalie and their architectural designer Gary Phillips.
“The quarter-acre section is dead,” says Mr Strode-Penny. “People want low maintenance, low care and sustainably warm homes. They don’t want their lifestyle restricted by high energy bills, their health affected by damp homes and not many people want to be tied down on the weekend looking after a garden and the lawns.”
Greenhaven Homes was established in mid-2016, and to date, they have built 50 homes mostly in the Wellington region and all within a three-hour radius of Levin.
With a Lifemark Four Star rating, the homes are designed to allow all day sun, so there are no cold, damp back rooms. They’re breathable homes, and humidity is half that of a standard home. A controlled central heating system ensures the home remains warm when the heat dissipates from the concrete (passive solar strip), and at a fraction of the price of heating a traditional home.
“By 2020 we’ll build 100 homes a year, and 80 of them will be built in a prefabrication plant in Levin.”
This year is set to be a big one for Greenhaven Homes. The week before Easter it opened a new show home at the corner of State Highway One, and Waikawa Beach Road, and more than 200 people went through it in the first couple of days. Since then, Greenhaven Homes has completed the purchase of 2.5 hectares on Main South Road in Levin to build its prefabrication plant.
“We’ll go from being able to erect a home within 12 weeks of consent being granted to nine weeks,” said Mr Strode-Penny. “We’ll start earthworks this year, the plant will be built next year, and then we’ll build a head office.”
“Prefabrication means we can control the environment, quality and cost – it ultimately means a better service for our customers, and it means we will be able to meet demand for homes from further afield.”
Greenhaven Homes architect Gary Phillips has made sure there is a wide range of packages available, from one bedroom through to four, as well as single and two-story build options.
“There’s nothing like this on the market in New Zealand. These are breathable homes that allow you to live in a more sustainable, healthier and cost-effective manner,” said Mr Phillips. “You get to select a range of features, and you can always add on if your family expands in the future.”
Mr Strode-Penny also owns TSP Construction, which is a subcontractor for Greenhaven Homes and employs a crew of 18 people.
“We’ve been going for nearly 20 years now. We’ve got a great team environment and recently took on two young guys because they were motivated and had great attitudes. We can teach them the skills as they make their way through from apprentice to tradesman to foreman as long as they have the right attitude,” he said.
Mr Strode-Penny says he is excited by the growth that is now occurring in Horowhenua and he’s been pleased with the support he’s received from Horowhenua District Council.
“They are planning for growth and are excited about our growth. As well as that their regulatory team works hard to meet consent deadlines – they don’t drop bombshells on you at the last minute like some councils do.”
Horowhenua District Council Economic Development Manager Shanon Grainger says it’s great to see a local company benefiting from growth that is occurring.
“Todd and Natalie have stepped up the game, creating a new company on top of a very successful local business, and now they have plans to lift it to a whole new level.”
On average, Horowhenua will need 244 new homes every year for the next 20 years. Kāpiti through to Wellington is also growing, as is Palmerston North.
“Greenhaven Homes is positioning itself to be part of the solution,” says Mr Grainger. “Horowhenua is doing the same – we are becoming the construction hub for the lower and central North Island for both commercial and residential builds.”
“Hopefully, the Greenhaven Homes story will help encourage more local contractors to consider their futures, and how can they benefit from the growth that is occurring and will continue to occur for the next 20 years.”
Greenhaven Homes currently employs seven people and will look to increase that once the prefabrication plant is built.
“Once the plant is built we’ll take a look at creating a flatpack housing option. There’s a real need for them in hard-to-reach places in the country and in the suburbs where backyards can landlocked by small driveways.”
You can find out more about Greenhaven Homes by visiting their website.