Electric Home Design brings energy-efficiency and smart living to Katikati home

By PDL by Schneider Electric


Nestled in a lush avocado orchard in the rural Bay of Plenty is a modern and energy-efficient home with clever technology at its heart.

“We were looking to get back to nature,” says owner Alistair. “Coming from Auckland it was a real change, and to build a house as we’ve done now, it’s just transformed our lives.”

Looking for change

Alistair and partner Carol had been living in inner-city Auckland when the first lockdown of 2020 motivated them to move to the country for a quieter, more relaxed life.

Their search for the right lifestyle property eventually led them to a site in the hills of Katikati, with 320 avocado trees. “It had a beautiful building platform with views out to Mount Maunganui and the ocean, which really appealed to us,” says Carol.

An existing cottage on the site was gifted to a local family, leaving the couple with a blank slate and some big ideas. “We wanted to build a home that had functionality and sustainability and was future-ready,” says Alistair. “It was about having a house that was simplistic in its style but technical in its production.”


One of the sustainable features is the raft floor foundation, which is a raised Qpod slab filled with just under 300kg of recycled plastic from Hawke’s Bay. Other clean and green features include double glazing with argon gas, and the use of laminated recycled timber, with Ecoply on top for strengthening due to the high wind zone. The house is clad in cement board and painted with Resene Cool Colour paint to reflect heat and prolong the cladding’s durability.

“We wanted to have something that wouldn’t give us issues with ground cooling,” Niven says. “We want to live in home in our shorts and T-shirts and no shoes inside the house. We’ve been able to achieve that.”

The 450mm ground clearance creates a thermal break between the ground and the house and does away with a need for underfloor heating, as fluctuations in the ground temperature don’t flow up to the home.

A safe home

Their switchboard and adjacent technology area include products designed to enhance electrical safety and reliability, such as Under Voltage Protection, surge protection and numeric wire and circuit labelling for fault management.

“With the complexity of energy in a new home nowadays, and the fire brigade a long way away, I wanted to mitigate risks,” says Alistair.

Their electrical plan included sensor lighting in the bathrooms so guests can always find their way around. Subtle downlights highlight the curated artworks and ornaments, and additional LED strip lighting above the induction hob in the kitchen helps to make prep and cooking easier. Outside, they used Iconic Outdoor for a stylish weatherproof switchgear solution for their gas-powered hot water system.

“Electric home design actually futureproofs you within your new build,” says Alistair. “The more preparation you do beforehand allows you to enjoy things later. We spent a lot of time thinking about little things that could make a big impact later on.”

An intuitive home

Alistair’s plans for a smart home meant finding a system that could bring all the individual parts together in one easy-to-use application. During a visit to the PDL Vision Studio showroom in Auckland, they saw how PDL Wiser could achieve that.

“Wiser is about having a home on your phone. It’s one touch and the whole house transforms. And it was so easy to use.”

Wiser can control and dim lights throughout their house, and control appliances such as the wall heater in the master ensuite. “If we’re out and coming home and it’s a cool evening, I can actually crank up the heat in the bathroom from my phone, so there’s a warm bathroom to shower in,” says Alistair.

Even the entrance to their house can be operated via Wiser – an electric maglock secures the large reflective glass front door, which they can see via the security cameras on their phone screen and then unlock remotely.

Style and substance

The overall impression of their home is one of light and space. Large picture windows offer sweeping views over the orchard and out to Mount Maunganui and beyond, while the 2.7m wall stud, pitched ceilings and light timber floors all add to the airy feel.

“I love that when we’re sitting in the lounge area and you look out over the orchard you feel as though you’re suspended in nature – it’s magical,” says Carol.

For the finishing touch, they chose PDL Saturn Zen and Horizon switches and power points. “We wanted elegance because of the home’s simple lines,” explains Alistair. “The PDL Saturn Series is a beautiful range. It’s touch button and there’s a halo light to show when things are operating.”

Read the full story here

*Text repurposed from here

PDL by Schneider Electric
View locations (3)
Get in touch
Visit Website

Professionals used in
Electric Home Design brings energy-efficiency and smart living to Katikati home

About the

  • Projects published
  • Recent Responsiveness


    Usually responds within
    4 days on weekdays

If you are building or renovating it is essential to consider how electrical, smart home and energy management products can add value to your project. Stylish switches designed to suit specific environments, simple energy-saving devices, and fully integrated smart home systems can add comfort, simplify living, complement design features, increase security, and save your clients money on their future energy bills.


With a presence in New Zealand since the 1930s, PDL has a proud design, developing and manufacturing history in New Zealand. The PDL brand has stood side-by-side with Kiwi sparkies and homes, delivering world-leading electrical innovations for over 80 years.

In 2001 PDL became part of the Schneider Electric group, forming a formidable partnership. Today both brands work side by side in New Zealand to provide our Kiwi customers with the latest advances and developments in electrical solutions.

Commercial and industrial sectors are filled with Schneider Electric’s products and solutions, with power distribution, energy management, building controls, and industrial automation. As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers quality electrical and energy solutions across homes and businesses.

Together, we believe in creating a more sustainable future, ensuring Life is On everywhere for everyone, at every moment.