Kāinga Ora commits to 6 Homestar

05 June 2020

Public housing customers will save hundreds in energy bills while living in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes – that have a smaller impact on the environment – as Kāinga Ora commits to 6 Homestar standards for new builds.

Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods announced the new standards during a visit to a completed 6 Homestar complex in Christchurch on Friday (June 5).

Minister Woods’ announcement comes as we observe World Environment Day (June 5). Already, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities currently has more than 3000 homes across the country currently being developed or built to a standard that means up to nearly 80 per cent less construction waste from every building site.

The benefits do not stop there either. Homestar, which is run by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) is a comprehensive national, residential rating tool to evaluate homes in terms of their warm, healthy, sustainable and efficiency qualities.

Examples of some of the features that combine to help a home achieve a Homestar rating include things like acoustic insulation, specially designed cladding, doors constructed to full height for insulation and double-glazed windows filled with argon gas.

Of the more than 3000 6 Homestar Kāinga Ora homes nationwide, more than 230 are being built in the Greater Christchurch region. A further 50 are located in the remainder of the South Island.

Kāinga Ora built 103 homes in the Greater Christchurch region in the 2018/19 financial year, and 53 during 2019/20.

By committing to meeting this new standard, Kāinga Ora will be building homes beyond the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

Since July 1, 2019, all new Kāinga Ora builds have been planned to meet 6 Homestar standards, and already 180 homes have achieved this standard.

The new homes are assessed for their thermal performance, heating sources, water efficiency, ventilation and moisture minimisation, and they will be saving Kāinga Ora customers money – energy savings are estimated to be $570 per household every year.

Minister Woods says Kāinga Ora and the NZGBC are working collaboratively to raise the quality of New Zealanders’ homes. The commitment highlights Kāinga Ora’s environmental focus on contributing to lowering emissions and waste reduction.

“I am proud to say that Kāinga Ora is actively stepping into a global green building movement. They can see the long term benefits that this investment will achieve for New Zealanders as well as the environment,” she said.

Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the Green Building Council, says lower household bills, less construction waste, lower carbon emissions and more efficient water use are “all great things to celebrate on World Environment Day”.

“This very welcome commitment to building warm, dry homes for New Zealanders is exactly the kind of leadership Aotearoa needs from our Government,” Andrew says.

“Everyone in our beautiful country deserves to thrive and build great memories in their home. And today’s announcement that all Kāinga Ora homes will be built to at least 6 Homestar is good news for everyone who believes homes should be healthy, happy places.”

There has been some aspirational thinking behind the 6 Homestar commitment, as most new homes built to New Zealand's Building Code would only achieve a 3-4 rating.

Kāinga Ora wants to lead and transform the housing construction business, and by raising the bar and improving the quality and efficiency of Kāinga Ora homes, it is hoped others will be influenced so all New Zealanders will eventually benefit from a better standard nationwide.