Doors wide open at New Zealand’s first 10 Homestar Built home

07 August 2015

The first home to achieve a 10 Homestar Built rating has opened its doors in Christchurch – and developer and architectural designer Bob Burnett plans to share the design and build information with anyone who wants to create their own sustainable home.

The 140sqm, two-storey home at 11 Church Square, Addington, was officially launched this week. This is the first 10 Homestar Built rating awarded in New Zealand; the first 10 Homestar Design rating was awarded to a Belvedere Group showhome in May 2015.

Launched in 2010, Homestar is the independent system that rates the health, comfort and efficiency of New Zealand homes, on a scale of 1-10. It takes into account energy, water, waste, ventilation, health and comfort, and other environmental factors, at both Design and Built stage. There are currently around 200 Homestar-registered projects throughout the country.

The Christchurch showhome had achieved a 9 Homestar Design rating in April 2015, but Burnett and his team achieved the 10 Homestar Built rating by building on their existing initiatives and providing more comprehensive documentation.

Burnett is part of the SUPERHOME movement, an industry group aiming to encourage the building of 1,000 new homes around the country that rate between 6 and 10 Homestar. He says building high-quality green houses should be standard practice in New Zealand, and over the next few months will begin sharing technology and construction methods on the SUPERHOME website (www.superhome.co.nz). Detailed plans will be available for a small royalty fee, and the Addington showhome will be open to the public for at least 12 months.

“Energy efficiency, thermal comfort, a healthy indoor environment and affordability should be basic requirements for a home – and Homestar’s independent rating is crucial for us to demonstrate the house’s many sustainability credentials,” he says. “By sharing information about how to build these homes, we hope to help people understand it’s simpler than you imagine.”

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), Alex Cutler, says it’s fantastic to see the project come to fruition, and have an example of a 10 Homestar home that people can visit.

“When you step inside a high-performing home, you can feel the difference – good orientation for sun and high levels of insulation mean it’s warmer and drier. And that’s just the beginning of the benefits of a Homestar home,” she says. “The conversation about affordable housing needs to focus on the long-term operational savings of green building as well as construction costs, and this home will be a fantastic example of those benefits.”

The home features a combined grey water and rainwater system, water-efficient fittings, photovoltaic solar power and energy-efficient lighting and electrics. All paints and sealants are low VOC, and other materials are certified by Environmental Choice NZ or Forest Stewardship Council.

A solar wall ventilation system uses the sun’s energy to pre-heat ventilation air, substantially reducing heating expenses. Slab-edge insulation (to stop heat loss from concrete floor slabs) and innovative hydronic underfloor heating also keep the home snug. A high-performance thermal envelope includes external wall frames that are least 140mm thick and provide resistance to wind and earthquake loads that far exceeds Building Code requirements.

The Homestar rating was carried out by Julie Villard of Bob Burnett Architecture. Julie will showcase the project at a NZGBC Green Room event on Thursday 27 August, 5-7pm, at Stephenson & Turner, Wellington. For more project information, see www.10star.co.nz.