Camp glenorchy project a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most companies”


Camp Glenorchy Project

a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most companies”

Posted 19 May 2020 by Optum

Described as “An exemplar application of technology to achieve zero energy”, Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat is a true living marvel, and we say “living” for a reason. The camp is New Zealand’s first Net Zero Energy accommodation and is designed to the Living Building Principles challenge. The winner of multiple, prestigious awards such as Time Magazine’s “The World’s Greatest Places of 2019” and New Zealand Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s “Sustainability Innovation Award 2019”, Camp Glenorchy is a testament to the innovative spirit of all who played a part in bringing the project to life.

Optum Plumbing and Energy Solutions was engaged to complete all plumbing, draining, heating and solar work, for Camp Glenorchy. In accordance with the Living Building Challenge – one of the most challenging certifications to achieve in the area of environmental building design – the goal for Camp Glenorchy was to use 50% less water and 50% less energy than standard accommodation facilities worldwide. The plumbing requirements were highly specialised, and when Optum Plumbing shouldered the enormous task of installing all plumbing, drainage, solar and heating for the campsite, the outstanding result of their efforts earned them the 2018 Project of the Year award at the New Zealand Plumbing Awards.

Local operator, Optum was a natural choice to implement designer, Steve Jarvis, of HDS,’ vision for the infrastructure. Being leaders in sustainable energy solutions in the region, Optum had a high level of experience with all renewable systems involved. The project required a working-knowledge of a wide variety of systems including solar hot water, ground-source heating, wastewater, photovoltaic solar, rain water-harvesting and water treatment and filtration, and Optum Managing Director, Kevin Henderson, is extremely proud of the role his team played in the establishment of this world-renowned campsite.

Queenstown Plumbing and Heating
“The layout and design had to be strictly adhered to, as every litre of water, flow rate, pipe diameter, every pump, every watt of power, everything had to be accounted for, to maintain the Living Building Challenge Approach that our clients wanted.” Alongside the elaborate design, one of the biggest challenges Optum faced was the sourcing of components from as far away as Europe, and the installation of the system in extreme and adverse weather conditions. Components had to be ordered well in advance to ensure there would be ample time for deliveries to arrive from abroad, while also keeping track of stock sourced in New Zealand. The logistics then had to be meticulously planned so that all components required for a certain installation could be transported the remaining 40km from the closest major town to the remote build location, with everything arriving on time and in order. To add to the logistical challenges, the extreme weather experienced by that part of the country made flexibility and innovation a must when working to conditions.

Optum’s contribution was a keystone of the project success, and a shining example of the capabilities and resourceful attitude of the company. Described by Henderson as “A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most companies”, the project stands as the most exciting and compelling case-study a plumbing and energy company could ever demonstrate.

Leading the way with heat pump technology

Leading the way

with heat pump technology

Posted 11 March 2020 by Optum

Our brief for this stunning Jack’s Point home was clear; the heating system needed to seamlessly meld into the home design in both aesthetics and operation, while retaining a high level of efficiency for both underfloor heating and domestic hot water.


The home is spacious, with underfloor heating throughout and four bathrooms utilising on-demand hot water, so the heat source is sized accordingly. The system includes 2 x Stiebel Eltron 16kw Internal Heat Pumps, connected to a 700L buffer tank and 500L domestic hot water system.

The key to subtlety

Understandably, our client wanted to keep visual and sound impact to a minimum. This was made possible by the product specified; Stiebel Eltron provide highly specified, quality heat pumps that are extremely quiet to run. The heat pumps are installed in a basement below the house with direct ducting and extraction to the outside.

Jacks Point

How it works

Underfloor heating: The 700L buffer tank is heated to 40°c for the underfloor heating. Using a large buffer tank increases system efficiency by minimising the running time of the heat pumps i.e. the heat pumps run long enough to heat the tank, then run cold during the day when the air temperature is warmer.

Domestic hot water: The 500L hot water cylinder is heated directly by the heat pumps to 60°c. A large cylinder was chosen to accommodate hot water usage and the heat pump always heats domestic hot water as the priority. There’s also a 6kw electric element in the cylinder if back up is required, so no risk of a cold shower!

Here’s the plant room:

System control

We like to keep heating control simple and user-friendly with the additional benefit of controlling remotely. We installed Heatmiser Neostats into each room, connected to the wifi via a Neohub unit, allowing each room to be controlled individually via the NeoApp smartphone app. Whether our client wants to adjust room temperature or set on/off times, all the operation can be done on a smartphone prior to arrival – smart technology to maximise comfort.

Monitoring technology

This system showcases advanced heating technology from a monitoring aspect. The system is connected to an internet based ISG Gateway controller, allowing our heating technicians to monitor system efficiency and make subtle adjustments to the operation, without needing to attend site. This new, improved technology allows us to provide our client with a personalised service and reduces the need for costly call-outs.

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to know more about the heating systems we install, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we pride ourselves on delivering high end, efficient systems that meet the specific needs of architectural builds in the Queenstown-Lakes area.