Green building expert joins healthy homes tech start-up

Feb 5, 2019 | News

“Until now, we’ve never actually never been able to verify that the green buildings we construct can actually do what we say they do.” – Rochelle Payne

Leading New Zealand green buildings expert Rochelle Payne (Ade) has taken an equity share in healthy homes technology start-up Tether because she is excited by the technology’s ability to completely transform how green buildings are constructed.

Payne, an accredited professional in LEED, BREEAM, Green Star NZ and Homestar, as well as being a Passive House Consultant, says Tether has the potential to completely transform how homes are built because it goes beyond design to measure in real-time what happens when humans occupy a space.

The Tether EnviroQ is a battery (or mains) powered indoor environmental quality monitoring system for housing, schools and work environments that is designed to ensure quality living, learning and working conditions all year round.

With a battery life of three years on six AA batteries, the Tether EnviroQ measures indoor temperature, humidity, CO2, lighting levels, ambient noise levels, air pressure and dew point – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (and reports to a central online dashboard and mobile app).

The end of theory based design?

Payne says that at the moment all green design and healthy home principles are based on the theory of design.

“Until now, there was no way to measure how the theory of design actually performs – we could always measure the potential, but not the actual.”

Payne, who is a green buildings consultant and who made national headlines in 2017 for her 10 Homestar Design rating for the rammed earth house she is building with her husband Joel, says people cannot be divorced from the environment.

“To date the only way we have been able to evaluate green buildings and healthy homes was by design and construction based evaluation, but that doesn’t look at the operation – we have never actually been able to verify that the green buildings we construct do what we say they can do.

“Tether measures the actual environmental quality of living, learning and working spaces, and that’s just the beginning. Finally we can focus on how people impact a building – how they are occupying them.”

Payne says she is particularly excited by the potential of the data that Tether gathers to change how buildings can be built to be truly healthy.

Two kinds of home in NZ, neither are healthy

Payne says there are essentially two types of homes in New Zealand.

“Old building stock which was built to old building codes, so they have issues with moisture, mould and drafts that lead to illnesses like asthma – the home is letting things in you don’t want – because they create unhealthy nesting environments.

“And then we have new buildings built to the current building code, which have insulation and double glazing, but they are air tight and ventilation is often inadequate. Modern design favours very big windows which cause over-heating and the only extractors we have are in the kitchen and bathroom – the result is poor indoor environment quality .”

Payne says that New Zealand is still not designing houses very well and even modern homes have the potential for mould and damp – due to facilities like open showers that cause a lot of steam.

“Tether can help us accurately figure out what’s working and what isn’t because it actively monitors the indoor environment 24/7 and reports on the day-to-day impact of people living in a home.”

For more information visit:


Self-funded upwards of a quarter of a million dollars so far by majority shareholder and CEO, Brandon van Blerk, Tether is a tech start-up company that offers a turnkey, full-stack solution which includes sensor installation and software integration dedicated towards the enablement of healthy homes and spaces.

The other shareholders are software developers Jordan Clist (chief technology officer) and Andrew Smith (lead developer).

The idea for Tether started in July 2017. By October 2017 the company had its first prototype and signed its first contract with Tamaki Regeneration in February 2018, before being rolled out to Housing New Zealand properties in June 2018.

Based in Auckland, Tether has three permanent employees and six contractors (three electronics engineers, a mobile developer, a UI and UX designer and a software developer).

Recent articles

Annual Report

2021/22 CHA Annual Report

2021/22 CHA Annual Report

Strategic Plan

CHA’s 2022-2023 Strategic Workplan

CHA’s 2022-2023 Strategic Workplan

Featured Network

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Our Place

Our Place Report 2017

Our Place Report 2017

Case Studies

Media Releases



Community Housing Aotearoa newsletter – November 28, 2022

Welcome to our latest newsletter. We cover the latest staff news, we seek feedback on our Conference topics, outline what submissions are currently being prepared, plus highlight a number of community and partner events. Community Housing Aotearoa newsletter November...

Community Housing Aotearoa newsletter – November 14, 2022

Welcome to our latest newsletter. We cover the latest staff news, Auckland's CHP network latest event, we seek feedback on our Conference topics, outline what submissions are currently being prepared, plus highlight a number of community and partner events. Community...

Community Housing Aotearoa Newsletter – October 31, 2022

Welcome to our latest newsletter. We cover the release of our Annual Report and our AGM, we seek feedback on our Conference topics, outline what submissions are currently being prepared, summarise the VUW Interns' work to produce CHRA Registration and Methamphetamine...


CHA’s Submission on the Charities Amendment Bill

CHA submitted to the Social Services and Community Committee on the Charities Amendment Bill. We supported a robust and fully inclusive review be done through an independent body to address underlying issues that our sector faces and ensure lasting charities. The...



CHA 2022 Annual Report and Audited Accounts

What a year for our Community Housing Aotearoa Ngā Wharerau o Aotearoa team. Our Annual Report highlights our service delivery, including: - 16 submissions to central and local government. - 30 trainings and events delivered on topics ranging from public health...

CHA’s Methamphetamine Harm-Reduction Handbook

CHA has developed a Methamphetamine Harm-Reduction Handbook - with consultation from the NZ Drug Foundation - with advice for providers, tenants, and policy-makers. This resource can be read below: Methamphetamine Harm-Reduction Handbook


Community Housing Aotearoa

Contact Us

Contact Info

Level 11, Ranchhod Tower,
39 The Terrace /
102-112 Lambton Quay
PO Box 11543
Wellington 6142

+04 385 8722

Follow On