Little Greenie Building Education

Little Greenie Building Education have developed a building system that creates simple, comfortable, easily-maintained and high-performing housing solutions, using existing and accessible techniques and materials.

By exploring ways to develop and implement this system while partnering with education providers to up-skill trade professionals, the model aims to create positive economic and social impact across the industry: fostering a progressive training system, generating a skilled and competitive workforce, and transforming building practice nationwide.


Lawrence McIntyre has developed the Little Greenie building approach and method. He is supported by two co-directors: Verney Ryan and Liana Stupples.

What they’re doing and why

Nearly a third of New Zealand houses have an ambient temperature below 18°C – the World Health Organisation’s recommended minimum indoor temperature for healthy homes.

The Little Greenie team is aiming to transform New Zealand’s housing stock by supporting better building practices by local craftsman, local suppliers and communities.

The team are working on:

  • building comprehensive public awareness of the benefits, desirability, and value of high-performance and sustainable housing
  • upskilling new and existing trades professionals with efficient and sustainable construction techniques
  • constructing community and civic dwellings using high-performance and sustainable construction techniques

Find out more about the original Little Greenie in this 2011 report.


The original Little Greenie house was built by Lawrence McIntyre in 2008 in Golden Bay with the intention to show what could be achieved by using conventional methods and materials in a much smarter way. The results spoke for themselves: the original Little Greenie became the highest energy efficiency rated home in New Zealand at the time (9/10), providing exceptional levels of comfort with heating bills of less than $70 per year.

An independent technical report concluded that Little Greenie provided a practical and achievable method of building to a higher level of performance and delivered a unique opportunity to educate and inspire the residential construction sector in New Zealand.

The most recent pilot project, the Little Greenie Weltec house, aimed to replicate the achievement of the original house on a larger, more standard scale (3-bedroom house). The team applied learning from the original Little Greenie, and trained future trades professionals as part of the process. Little Greenie Building Education also partnered with Weltec to design an enhanced curriculum for the Carpentry Certificate, with a focus on developing superior construction and insulation skills. The Little Greenie Weltec house was built in Otaki in 2013 by the students, working under a qualified licensed building practitioner and the watchful eye of Lawrence McIntyre.

A full technical report is under way, but initial testing already shows that the students built a house that delivers up to three times better insulation values and performance than a standard built-to-code house, at a similar price.

The Little Greenie Weltec house has been purchased to become rental accommodation near Ohakune. Little Greenie Building Education will monitor the house’s performance through the seasons and gather data, to be fed into the next pilot project.

Incubation stage


What’s next

The next steps for Little Greenie Building Education are to:

  • Monitor and gather data at the Ohakune rental, as soon as it is set up
  • Refine the model even further before starting their next pilot project
  • Identify opportunities for Little Greenie techniques to be applied at scale