CREATING SUSTAINABLE HOMES

FAQ


General FAQS

Homestar ratings are carried out by Homestar Assessors, who negotiate their own fees. As with any professional service, you should get several quotes and compare suppliers before engaging a Homestar Assessor to carry out your rating. You can find assessors in your area through our Homestar Assessor directory and a brief explanation of certification fees.

It’s more cost-effective to find a Homestar Assessor and start incorporating sustainability at the beginning of a project’s design stage. That’s because the Homestar system centres on certain things essential for any liveable home – insulation, moisture control and good orientation for sun – and these matters are best addressed in design. Also, by going through the Homestar tool with your designer and builder, you will get a good idea of what to include in your plans.

If you’re partway through a project and still want to find out how Homestar can work for you, that’s fine too. Find a Homestar Assessor through our Homestar Assessor directory and they’ll give you advice.

Homestar is a simple way of representing how warm, healthy and sustainable Kiwi homes are. The scale runs from 6 to 10 stars, and getting a 10 Homestar rating means you have a world-leading home.

It’s important to remember that the overall standard of New Zealand houses is pretty low. At the moment, most Kiwi homes would only achieve a 2-3 on the Homestar rating scale; a new home designed and built to today’s Building Code would achieve around a 3-4 on the Homestar scale.

Housing is a fundamental human need. New Zealand has high levels of substandard housing, which has resulted from poor regulation of minimum housing standards and lack of maintenance. In 2008 the Business Council for Sustainable Development identified that at least 1 million of the 1.6 million existing homes in New Zealand were poorly performing, meaning they are cold, damp and difficult to heat.

New Zealand also has the second-highest rate of asthma in the world. The impact of our housing on health has been well researched and documented by Healthy Housing He Kainga Organga and the University of Otago. The social cost of injury in the home is estimated to be approximately $13 billion a year.

Efficient homes can also help you save money on running costs.

An average-priced LED could save you $290 over the life of the bulb (source: EECA Energywise).

Replacing a 12-litre-per-minute showerhead with one that flows at eight litres can cut your hot water bill by $153 a year, while still offering a comfortable, effective shower (source: Consumer NZ).

A dripping tap can waste up to 33 litres each day (source: Watercare).

Products and materials FAQs

No. Homestar ratings are only awarded to whole buildings. Materials and products play an important role in the environmental impact of building, and an entire category of Homestar is dedicated to assessing the Materials used on a project.

Products and materials relate to Homestar in two different ways:

  1. In the Homestar Materials category, credits set out criteria to address environmental issues with key building materials. Where this criterion is fulfilled, points are awarded. Details are available in the Homestar v3 Technical Manual.
  2. Alternatively, your product may contribute to the overall sustainable performance of the building. For example, low-flow water fittings are recognised in the Internal Potable Water Use credit. In this case, how the product is used is recognised, rather than how it is made.

If your product has an eco-label that is not currently recognised by the NZGBC, please refer to the Product Certification information from the Green Building Council of Australia This provides further details on how the product certification scheme providing the eco-label can apply for assessment against the GBCA Assessment Framework. A submission may be made by the product certification scheme or by another party on their behalf, provided the appropriate documentation can be supplied.