If you’re in the market to build a house, you may have heard about Homestar homes: houses built to a high energy efficiency standard. These days, green homes and eco homes are quickly becoming a high priority for new homeowners, and Homestar is one of the ways organisations in New Zealand are able to encourage this. After all, building a green home doesn’t only save on energy in the long run, it’s also an investment in your family’s health and the health of the environment.
To find out more, read on.
What are Homestar homes?
Homestar helps provide a benchmark for health, energy, and sustainability standards in New Zealand Homes, and is run independently by the Green Building Council non-profit organisation.
Much like the Energy Star you see on household whiteware, or the Health Star Rating that appears on food packaging, Homestar is primarily about quality-assurance, and providing information to consumers.
While the current NZ Building Code does include standards for things such as interior ventilation and insulation, it’s still possible for new houses that are built to Code to deliver low performance. New Zealand has also historically struggled to heat homes efficiently by global standards. According to a 2006 He Kainga Oranga Housing & Health Report, the average New Zealand home was 2°C colder than the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 18°C.
How does Homestar work?
The Homestar rating system works on a scale of 6-10. A 6 indicates that a home exceeds the average standards in New Zealand, and even higher results mean an even more eco-friendly home and better energy efficiency. For context, many existing homes in New Zealand fall at about 2 or 3 on the Homestar scale, and homes built to regular building codes are between 3 and 4. Remember however, that anything 5 or below doesn’t really qualify as a Homestar home, as it does not meet the requirements. The lower half of the scale mostly exists to provide a framework for improvement toward meeting these requirements.
A 10 on the Homestar rating scale is a world-leading eco home, but even a 6 is a noticeable improvement from the average home in NZ, and will be cheaper to heat than a non-certified home.
How can I get a good Homestar rating?
There are multiple different ways to improve your score on the Homestar scale and there are six categories that the system looks at, but it’s worth noting that the key focuses are energy, health, and comfort. What this means practically is that some homes may be able to gain a better score with the Homestar system by improving their insulation and ventilation, and others may score better by adding solar energy panels to bolster their energy efficiency.
The best way to get a good Homestar rating is to plan ahead and, ideally, use their guidelines in the design phase of the project. If you’re looking into Homestar after construction on your home has already begun, then the best course of action is to contact a Homestar Assessor. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of any changes that might be necessary to get the most out of your home.
For more details, read our blog post on how to get your Homestar application approved.
Find out more today
Homestar was created in order to make sure that more New Zealand homes are happy, healthy, and comfortable. As Homestar Practitioners and Assessors, the team here at Craft Homes has found that the framework produces great results for new build homes, and is easy to follow for everyone involved. To find out more, get in contact with us today, and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you have.
Toby and Cat Tilsley