How smart is your home?

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Notebook -

A new, free web­site will work it out, and of­fer sug­ges­tions on how to make it smarter.

A new, free on­line tool can now check any home to see if it is warm, safe and dry.

Hom­e­fit (www.hom­e­fit.org.nz) is run by the in­de­pen­dent NZ Green Build­ing Coun­cil.

It con­tains around 20 ques­tions, then pro­vides a tai­lored re­port on the home. It de­tails how warm, safe, ef­fi­cient and dry it is, and of­fers sug­ges­tions on how to im­prove it.

“New Zealand homes aren’t good enough,” says Andrew Ea­gles, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil. “All too of­ten, they’re cold, draughty, ex­pen­sive to heat, and make us, our friends and our whā­nau sick.

“That’s why we’ve de­vel­oped Hom­e­fit, be­cause we be­lieve it’s go­ing to make our homes bet­ter… with a no-non­sense way to check the qual­ity of a home, that it’s warm, safe and dry.”

Hom­e­fit also of­fers an in­de­pen­dent ap­praisal ser­vice, car­ried out by a trained as­ses­sor. The as­sess­ment looks at damp, mould, in­su­la­tion, heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and other key ar­eas. If a home passes, it will be awarded a Hom­e­fit stamp, show­ing that it is warm, dry, safe and ef­fi­cient.

Any home that passes a Hom­e­fit as­sess­ment will also pass the re­quire­ments of re­cent Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion to im­prove homes (the Res­i­den­tial Te­nan­cies Act).

Hom­e­fit has been de­vel­oped over the last 18 months, in con­sul­ta­tion with a wide range of hous­ing and health ex­perts. Why do we need smarter homes?

• Around half of NZ homes have vis­i­ble mould •

Half of adults say they live in a cold house. •

Over 60 per­cent say their home needs re­pairs. •

Cold and damp houses have been linked to asthma, rheumatic fever and res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions. •

Res­pi­ra­tory disease af­fects 700,000 New Zealan­ders, and is re­spon­si­ble for al­most 80,000 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions. It costs NZ $6 bil­lion a year, ac­cord­ing to the Asthma Foun­da­tion.

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