There are lots of things to consider when planning your new home or major renovation and one area rightfully deserving to be high on the list is sustainable building solutions.
Incorporating good environmental design before you commence a project is vitally important for the conservation and welfare of our limited natural resources, can save you money in the long run and can avoid costly alterations later on.
Homestar is the official rating and certification programme, operated by the New Zealand Green Building Council, that evaluates the environmental attributes of New Zealand’s stand-alone homes in terms of energy, health and comfort, water, waste and more.
The rating is on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being very poor and 10 being world excellence). Many of the more problematic old kiwi homes sit in the 2-3 star region – so there is plenty of room for improvement.
With the introduction of a rating system, homeowners are able to use Homestar to independently demonstrate the true value of their home. As the market develops and demand increases, homes with a higher star rating will be able to sell for more money.
Many overseas countries are now requesting that homes be officially certified before they can be bought or sold, and it is expected that Homestar will be one of the biggest changes to the New Zealand residential market in years to come.
The Homestar check list
Homestar looks at many aspects of environmental and social sustainability within a home. It’s not all just about energy performance, although energy efficiency is one of the more heavily weighted sections in the assessment programme.
The Homestar assessment framework is divided into seven main sections. A quick overview of the framework can be:
Energy, health and comfort
Looking into energy efficiency throughout the house (space and water heating, whiteware, lighting and renewable energy), moisture control, noise control and useability for disabled people.
Focussing mainly on water conservation within the home, including rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling wherever possible.
Ensuring you select environmentally certified materials, helping provide healthy indoor air quality and a more environmentally friendly supply chain for your home.
Looking at waste management during the construction process as well as from user occupation.
Looking at items such as storm water runoff control, native ecology, access to regular transport connections and local amenities, etc.
Looking at health and safety issues within the home and the selection of environmentally responsible building contractors.