HomeFit launch a great success

04 December 2018

HomeFit was launched this month, a straightforward tool to help Kiwis see if homes meet minimum standards of insulation, ventilation, heating, safety and energy efficiency.

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders heard about the launch as HomeFit racked up headlines across national news on TV, radio, newspapers and online.

We celebrated the occasion with a well-attended event featuring speakers from real estate, health, community energy, and government. Housing Minister, the Hon Phil Twyford, sent congratulations and the government was represented by Green Party housing spokesperson, Marama Davidson, who said the Greens had long called on Government to legislate a check “ensuring all homes in New Zealand are warm and dry”.

Following the launch businesses and individuals are getting in touch with the NZGBC to become installers or assessors.

We are now talking with large-scale landlords and public sector organisations about incorporating a HomeFit certification into their renovation programmes and with real estate agencies and property listing companies about advertising the mark in their ‘for sale’ pages.

Savvy sellers and landlords will see this as a great opportunity to show off that their homes are healthy. They will get that HomeFit tick for when they sell or rent out their homes and this will be advertised on their property or rental listing.

Whether you are looking to buy a home, sell a home or rent a home, you can spend 10 minutes answering an online check to understand if the home is healthy and warm.

Homeowners and landlords can make the improvements the online check recommends, and then get an independent assessment to verify that these have been done and the home now meets the HomeFit standard. They can use this tick to say it’s approved independently to be healthy and warm, less likely to get mould, it’s better ventilated and warmer for their family and for their tenants.

Robyn Phipps, professor in construction at Massey University, said, “There is a lot of room to improve the energy performance and the environment inside most New Zealand homes. HomeFit is a new user friendly tool that will allow all New Zealand home owners and renters to check if their home has the features that create a warm dry and healthy home, and if it doesn’t, there is practical advice on how to make improvements.”

If you are a tenant, you get information you can give to your landlords. Landlords generally want to keep their tenants so are open to hearing that for a small amount of money they can get a healthy home, with less maintenance and less mould.

It’s worth noting that the Government is moving on this.The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) comes into full force in the middle of 2019, with landlords legally liable to meet minimum standards of insulation and smoke alarms. Leading on from that are the Healthy Homes Standards which will add minimum standards for heating, ventilation and drainage for rental properties.

If landlords don’t meet the RTA they can be fined up to $4,000, and that fine will go back to the tenants. The tenants are the ones who have been in a cold, damp home so they deserve some of that back. HomeFit is one way that landlords can prove that the home meets the standards under HomeFit, the RTA and eventually the Healthy Homes Standards. But for that they will need the second part of the tool, which is an independent assessment.

HomeFit Assessors are trained to deliver a quality service. Those with home energy advisor training, or registered to the Institutes of Building Inspectors, Institute of Building Surveyors or the Building Officials Institute pre qualify.They then gain additional training and certification on the HomeFit assessor tool.

It is important Kiwis are easily able to improve their homes.Reputable insulation and heating installers, such as those that work for EECA or the council targeted rates programme, are listed in HomeFit. Once you have an assessment you gain a list of providers that can assist you to improve your home.

Thanks to the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority for their support of HomeFit, as well as the great endorsement we’ve received from our HomeFit family of supporters: ANZ, Bayleys, Bunnings Warehouse, Contact, Mitre 10, Pink Batts, Plumbing World and Rinnai.

So give it a try and join the thousands who have completed the online check in the first two weeks, at www.homefit.org.nz.