Meaning: Solar energy - the vital life force given to us by the sun. With ‘rei’ coming from Whangarei - our company’s place of origin, giving us Solarei, Design By Nature.
Solarei was founded by Duncan Firth who works in conjunction with Milti Stefadouros based in New Zealand, Jutharat Thatprakob is based in Thailand and Ivan Ivanov based in The United States of America. Together we work as a cooperative team producing work in these regions sharing information and developing designs.
Architecture, Interior design and Landscape design.
We work on projects throughout New Zealand, Asia and The United States of America.
Solarei’s primary goal is to offer a traditional architectural service. We are a design based company with an emphasis on building relationships with clients. Attention to detail and a site specific design approach informs how we address each project. Our services include the following. Getting to know one another, writing a brief to understand client requirements, feasibility studies, town planning submission drawings, schematic design, detailed design development, building permit submission drawings , construction drawings, through to onsite construction observation. We generally work with the client in selecting a suitable contractor or finding a project manager to run the project.
Architecture, Interior design and Landscape design. With our efforts combined we are able to offer a full design service or, on request separate disciplines.
We have access to structural engineers, mechanical engineers, drainage engineers, geo-technical engineers, environmental technology engineers, site surveyors, quantity surveyors and are able to recommend project managers depending on location.
We work hard to fulfill our obligations as ‘professionals’ and ‘building mentors’ through the complexity of creating buildings. Our objective is to offer clients the highest levels of integrity, professionalism and, passionate commitment. What you see is what you get.
Environmental design takes into consideration the natural world we live in and human activities related to this. Our job is to interpret this circular process and relate this to the built world. In architecture and design this largely relates to local sun path directions, micro and macro seasonal wind flows, ecology, flora and fauna, materials and technologies, transport, human habitats, cultural environments, local landscapes and, political and media influences.
Passive design principles use what is already provided to us by nature. This is abundant free radiant energy from the sun and natural airflow. Correctly designing for sunlight and airflow reduces dependency on mechanical devices for heating and cooling or can eliminate these altogether. There are opportunities to incorporate passive design principles with mechanical air circulation systems which increase efficiency, suitable in certain climates and regions.
Concrete floors are like re-chargeable batteries that use sunlight instead of electricity for heating. During the day time sunlight is beamed onto the floor, this energy is then absorbed by the concrete. When external temperatures begin to cool during the evening, heat is then released (or conducted) from the slab. Concrete slabs are also able to retain and release energy for many days without regular sunny days.
Timber floors can be used in a passive solar house but will not contribute to the passive solar heating principles or take the place of thermal mass. In such cases we use feature concrete panel walls or concrete block walls which will be designed to act as the main thermal mass store.
If a house is designed using passive solar and passive cooling principles and with the addition of a passive hot water heating system we would expect a 40% reduction in the annual energy usage compared to regular houses. This will be higher for clients who really commit to these ideas.
Hot water is responsible for 27% of the total annual power consumption used by a house. Combined with passive design principles this will significantly contribute to the overall reduction in energy of any building.
The title ‘Cradle To Cradle’ is the name of a book written by Architect William McDonough and Chemist Michael Braungar. The title has now become a common phrase in describing how to think about materials. ‘Cradle to Cradle’ is a circular process in how we perceive and think about materials. These are some of the questions we ask about materials: What is the material? Where does the material come from? How is the material made? Where does the material go once we have finished with it? What is the materials second life-cycle? And so on and so forth.
Yes we do renovation work and it is possible to incorporate passive solar and green design ideas into an existing house. How much we can improve the existing house will always be different for each project.
Commercial projects begin by proposing an environmental design strategy to clients that works with the economic nature of the project and practical application of sustainable design ideas. On request we are able to facilitate certified green buildings through LEED (USA), GREENMARK (Singapore) and HOMESTAR, GREENSTAR (NZ & Australia).
Our first meetings are generally to get to know one another. There is generally no charge for this. If we have to travel a significant distance then costs will need to be negotiated.