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Background

According to the New Zealand Green Building Council (who administer Homestar), Homestar is an independent tool that rates and communicates the sustainability and performance of New Zealand homes.

Homestar was developed from successful international rating tools and adapted for New Zealand’s specific conditions. It can be used on any residential building, from stand-alone homes to multi-unit dwellings. A home is rated on a scale from 1 to 10: 1 means it needs significant work, and 10 indicates international best practice.

To rate a home’s performance and environmental impact, Homestar awards points across seven categories:

1.energy, health and comfort;

2.water;

3.waste;

4.home management

5.materials;

6.site;

7. innovation

How Homestar began*

New Zealand has roughly one million homes that are not sufficiently built to provide thermal comfort and a healthy living environment for their occupants. It costs more to heat these homes than in other parts of the world with equivalent climates, and poor-performing homes have a major impact on New Zealand’s health costs and productivity.

In 2008, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) published a two-year study called Better Performing Homes for New Zealanders. It found that if homes were warmer, drier and more water and energy efficient, New Zealand would:

  • Achieve 50 fewer hospital stays per day due to respiratory problems (saving $54 million a year).

  • Cut sick days by 180,000 per year (creating a productivity gain of $17 million per year).

  • Cut household power bills by $475 million each year.

  • Stop houses wasting enough water to fill 9200 Olympic swimming pools per year.

 

In early 2009, NZBCSD gained industry-wide support for the National Housing Upgrade Action Plan, which identified the need for a single rating tool or framework. This tool would help homeowners understand their home’s performance in terms of energy and water use, indoor air quality and internal moisture, and make informed decisions about possible improvements within a household budget. This proposal was presented at the Prime Minister’s Job Summit in March 2009, by Jonathan Ling, CEO of Fletcher Building.

 

Government agreed to support an industry-developed residential rating tool. Many government organisations were involved in early support, including:

  • Ministry of Economic Development (MED)

  • Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA)

  • Ministry for the Environment (MfE)

  • Department of Building and Housing (DBH).

 

EECA, DBH and MfE subsequently went on to provide government financial support.

Launched in 2010, Homestar was developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), BRANZ and Beacon Pathway, after extensive consultation with experts and organisations across industry and government. Homestar is based on successful international rating tools and adapted for New Zealand’s conditions, in consultation with a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made up of industry experts from across the building industry value chain.

Today, NZGBC administers Homestar for existing and new homes across New Zealand. Homestar assesses and rates the comfort, performance and sustainability of our homes, and provides information for home owners or occupiers who’d like to improve where they live.

*Taken from the NZGBC website http://www.nzgbc.org.nz/Category?Action=View&Category_id=108

The Living House is targeting a 10 Homestar Built Rating (v3.1) and has been awarded a 10 Homestar Design Rating as a step on this journey. One of the ethos' of the Living House is to be transparent in everything that we do and to help others learn from our experience. As part of this we will therefore be uploading all of our Design and Built Rating documentation for Homestar as well as the Audit comments that we receive from the NZGBC.  Below are the general RAF documents for the Living House along with the Rd1 Audit Comments.

Design Rating Documentation