About Simko Solar Homes

Steve Simko ImageSteve Simko, owner of Simko Solar Homes, combines over forty years experience in residential building with a background in environmental science.

Originally from California, Steve first started working on building sites to pay his way through university.  After graduating from California State University at Humboldt with a double major in Oceanography and Marine Fisheries in 1980, Steve stayed in the construction industry, learning all associated trades from scratch: carpentry, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, drywall (gib), remodeling.

After four years journeyman experience - one of the requirements for the Contractor’s License - Steve took the state examination in 1984 and obtained the Class B General Contractor’s License issued by the State of California.

Building on his practical experience and on his trade qualifications, Steve extended further into pre-planning and project management, working with sub contractors, architects and engineers - in short, participating in all phases of residential construction.

He started his own business during a period of increased awareness regarding energy conservation. California, in particular, has some of the most stringent building codes in the United States with respect to energy conservation and efficiency.  Steve’s academic training as a scientist and his interest in environmental science became increasingly more important as he took on new projects, adding energy-efficient know how to his already extensive portfolio.  In Steve’s own words, “I have always had a science perspective and taken an analytical approach to construction and construction techniques. My particular interests are energy efficiency, water conservation and permaculture”.

In 2004 Steve, his wife Carleen, a mosaic artist, and their two children moved to New Zealand.  After careful research they decided to settle in Nelson in the Tasman region of the South Island; this region offers benefits of moderate climate, high sunshine hours, spectacular scenery and a thriving artistic community.  Steve continued to work in the home building industry under Simko Solar Homes and, not surprisingly, he built his own custom home.

As an environmentally conscious family, the primary consideration was minimizing their carbon footprint and building a carbon neutral home without compromising on the modern amenities of a luxurious yet comfortable residence.

The house is almost complete and stands in a class of its own.  No other residence in the country can boast fully self-sustainable living to the extent that it is exemplified in this property.  The home has been featured in a number of publications and eco-home exhibits.

Some of the features include:

  • Tiled concrete floor for passive solar heat
  • Photovoltaic electricity-generating panels for trading energy back into the grid to offset energy cost
  • Solar panels for domestic hot water use and under floor heating
  • Double-glazed German engineered uPVC joinery manufactured in New Zealand to fit local climatic conditions
  • 23,500 liter rainwater tank and a 131,000 liter in-ground swimming pool. The pool is also solar heated and has a chemical free copper ionization-titanium oxide filtration process keeping the water so fresh that, potentially, it could be used for aquaculture
  • Organic raised-bed gardens and fruit and nut orchard with drip irrigation

Steve’s wife, Carleen R. Simko, took charge of the interior design. Her brilliantly colorful and unique mosaic and wall art is showcased throughout the house, complementing and enriching every facet. This comfortable, contemporary, fully self-sustainable family home fuses state-of-the-art, energy efficient technology with artistic creativity and flair.

By anybody’s standards this is truly a prototype of the home of the future.

Click here to view the extensive features of this home.

NCCA Testimonial

"Steve Simko was a member of the NCCA, as a licensed general contractor, for four years. Steve was active in our association and built a reputation for being and oustanding contractor. I know Steve to be a person of high integrity adn very professional in all his buisness dealings." - Barbara Bashall Exectutive Director Nevada County Contractors' Association