Build­ing: why a 6 rat­ing counts


More homes are get­ting ad­ver­tised as ‘‘en­ergy-ef­fi­cient’’ in the prop­erty mar­ket, but there needs to be an in­de­pen­dent standard by which these claims can be as­sessed and com­pared. That is what the New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil pro­vides through their Homes­tar rat­ing tool.

A home is rated on a 1-10 scale: a rat­ing of 1 Homes­tar means it needs sig­nif­i­cant work, and 10 Homes­tar in­di­cates in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice. Most ex­ist­ing New Zealand homes only achieve a 2-3 Homes­tar rat­ing. A new home built only to Build­ing Code would achieve 3-4 Homes­tar.

A high Homes­tar rat­ing is an in­de­pen­dent qual­ity-as­sur­ance mark, like En­ergy Star for ap­pli­ances, and in­creases the mar­ket value and re­turns on the in­vest­ment made for bet­ter build­ing prac­tices.

A rat­ing of Homes­tar 6 can be achieved on new and ex­ist­ing homes, and here is why achiev­ing this rat­ing is im­por­tant in Cen­tral Otago, our in­clement re­gion.

This score re­flects that your home is drier, warmer and health­ier to live in than an av­er­age house built to min­i­mum code. Homes­tar 6 means the house ben­e­fits from in­creased in­su­la­tion and air­tight­ness, mean­ing it will be cheaper to heat. It also means there’s good mois­ture con­trol and ef­fi­cient use of heat­ing, light­ing and ap­pli­ances.

Next, this rat­ing re­flects wise wa­ter us­age, thanks to ef­fi­cient fit­tings and ap­pli­ances and the har­vest­ing of rain wa­ter.

In Cen­tral Otago, we don’t cur­rently pay rates to­wards wa­ter us­age, but the need to as­sess ‘‘the po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in wa­ter us­age as a re­sult of me­ter­ing’’ is one of the stated rea­sons on the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil (QLDC) web­site for hav­ing in­stalled 500 wa­ter me­ters at ran­domly se­lected homes through­out the Wakatipu in 2015. With wa­ter qual­ity be­com­ing a grow­ing con­cern, the coun­cil is ob­li­gated to as­sess how our fresh wa­ter is used, and will most likely need to im­pose rates in the fu­ture.

Last, this rat­ing re­flects an ef­fort made to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity. So­lar en­ergy, veg­gie gar­dens, re­cy­cling and com­post­ing count as well as man­aged waste for the con­struc­tion site if the home was built within the last two years. This means the home is both good for you and good for the com­mu­nity we live in.

The added ben­e­fit to a de­sir­able Homes­tar™ rat­ing is mar­ketabil­ity. as­serts that in­su­la­tion and sun ori­en­ta­tion out­weigh other fac­tors for al­most 90% of New Zealan­ders.

Achiev­ing a Homes­tar Six or greater is good for home­own­ers, renters, in­vestors and the com­mu­nity as a whole.

Annabelle Numaguchi is mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor of Evo­lu­tion, a di­vi­sion of Rilean Con­struc­tion, and a mem­ber of Sus­tain­able Homes Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SHO)-Cen­tral Otago.

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