Why Homestar

Homestar was launched in 2010 as an independent rating tool that assesses the health, efficiency and sustainability of a home. It’s a mark of quality-assurance – a bit like energy ratings for appliances. 

Why certify?

“The New Zealand Building Code is below the standards required in most IEA countries with comparable climates.”

International Energy Agency review of New Zealand’s energy policy

    It’s widely acknowledged that a large number of New Zealand homes do not meet basic standards for health, warmth, ventilation, and operating efficiency for our climate. The current Building Code is woefully inadequate so that even new homes can perform poorly depending on their location. Insulation requirements in the building code are low, there is no requirement for efficient heating, no requirements for water and lighting efficiency, and no controls on carbon emissions.

    We don’t think this is good enough, which is why we worked with experts and organisations across industry and government to develop Homestar. It’s an independent rating that certifies your home to a standard higher than the Building Code and is tailored to meet environmental conditions for Aotearoa. It gives confidence that the home will be more sustainable, easier to keep warm and depending on how the resident chooses to live and use its features, have lower running-costs.

    Homestar provides a clear framework for home sustainability and performance. It’s a comprehensive, independent tool that awards points across various credits to rate a home’s performance and environmental impact. There are mandatory minimum requirements around keeping the home, warm, dry, well ventilated and resource efficient.

    You don’t need to install fancy gadgets to get a good Homestar rating; nearly half the points a house can earn relate to energy, health and comfort. That’s because getting the basics right – good orientation for sun, high levels of insulation and controlling moisture – is vital to create a healthy, efficient home. Homestar also considers the build process to reward activities such as minimising and sorting of waste onsite during the construction process.

    The value case

    It makes sense to invest in building a high-quality home to save money over its lifetime through reduced running-costs. The energy and water savings can significantly reduce household bills. ANZ have recently launched a Healthy Home Loan with reduced mortgage rates for Homestar homes.

    Getting a good rating doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. It’s about getting the basics right first – making sure you’ve got good orientation for sunlight, high levels of insulation, and moisture control.

    Getting a Homestar rating requires planning and good design, but it shouldn’t make a house unaffordable. Have a read of these reports below on the value case for Homestar then find out more about the certification fees and process.

    Homestar Value Case Study: Cost Benefit Analysis

    This 2018 report completed by eCubed Building Workshop Ltd investigated the cost benefits of achieving 6, 7 and 8 Homestar. They found that for 6 Homestar, the annual savings were broadly similar in all locations at approximately $450-500 per annum for the particular homes they examined. 

    For 7 and 8 Homestar, the annual savings were approximately $2000-2100 in Auckland, $2300-2500 in Wellington, and $1600-1800 in Christchurch. Note, savings are based on achieving an indoor temperature of 20°C all year. Actual savings will vary depending on the particular design of each home and the way it is operated. These figures do not take into account the potential for added value to the property. 

    Cost of Homestar report for New Zealand Green Building Council

    This 2018 report completed by quantity surveyors Rawlinsons examined the potential cost and specification implications associated with building 6, 7 and 8 Homestar homes. For the homes examined, they found the added cost to reach a 6 Homestar rating ranged from $5,552 – $6,780, depending on the location across Aotearoa. 

    Information for developers  

    Homestar is being used by developers across the industry as a cost-effective way to lock in value throughout the building lifecycle. Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities, the NZ Government’s development arm, has committed to achieving a 6 star rating across all their new homes, and Oceania Healthcare is achieving Homestar for their residents too.

    Homestar provides an opportunity to up-skill workforces and tap into a growing market. Increased consumer demand for healthier homes with lower running costs means more interest in partnering with Homestar Assessors, architects, designers and tradespeople who are capable of delivering these homes.

    The earlier Homestar is introduced, the easier it is to include smart design and sustainability principles. Read more about the certification process and fees then get in touch at homestar@nzgbc.org.nz – our team would be happy to discuss how to save on fees and apply Homestar to multi-unit developments.