CREATING SUSTAINABLE HOMES

The development of Homestar

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.

Technical Advisory Group

The Homestar Joint Venture Partners thank all those who contributed content, time and effort in the development and launch of Homestar.

In particular, the Homestar Joint Venture Partners acknowledge the extraordinary input by the members of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG has been instrumental in the development of Homestar, inputting into and directing the shape of the tool and its content.

Industry members and Government departments involved in the TAG include those from:

  • Building Industry Federation (BIF)
  • Certified Builders Association (CBA)
  • Concrete and Cement Association (CCANZ)
  • Department of Building and Housing (DBH)
  • Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ)
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
  • Hobsonville Land Company Ltd
  • Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)
  • Ministry for the Environment (MfE)
  • National Association of Steel-Framed Housing (NASH)
  • New Zealand Building Subcontractors Federation (NZBSF)
  • New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA)
  • NZ Wood
  • Registered Master Builders
  • FederationRight House.

Homestar v3

As with every building rating system, it’s important to regularly review Homestar to ensure it’s up to date with the latest thinking and technologies, and able to meet industry needs.

Since the inclusion of Homestar in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and Special Housing Areas, there has been increased interest in how Homestar applies to apartment developments. After consultation with Homestar Assessors and other industry members, NZGBC’s technical team developed a pilot version of Homestar v3. The tool update’s two sponsors, Willis Bond & Co and Ockham Residential, have been using this pilot tool over the past three months to inform their latest multi-unit projects, and have provided feedback to further improve Homestar.

The updated Homestar tool launched on November 12, 2015. Homestar now better reflects the specific qualities of higher-density projects, such as apartments and multi-unit residential buildings. Other changes to the updated Homestar tool include:

  • New credits to acknowledge a Density Factor, common-area facilities and natural lighting levels.
  • New pathways for more accurate modelling of energy used for heating and cooling, and whole thermal performance.
  • Streamlining documentation and calculators to make submissions easier.


Homestar v3 was made more flexible and modern, and we’re also made the tool more accessible with the technical manual being made available to the public for the first time.

Principal sponsor:

Associate sponsor:


Are you a builder or developer?

Register a project here

Ask us about volume certification here

Registered on an earlier version and want to move to v4? Contact us here

Are you a buyer and want a quality home?

See a list of builders and developers that have delivered projects here

Why build to homestar?