New Homestar version targets apartment quality

A new version of Homestar, the rating tool for New Zealand home sustainability, is intended to make it easier for apartment buyers to gauge the health & efficiency of their homes.

The Green Building Council launched Homestar version 3 yesterday with updates specifically to suit higher density developments, making it easier to use the tool on largescale multi-unit projects such as apartments & terraced townhouses.

The updated Homestar includes factors specific to multi-home developments:

  • rewarding shared areas that promote community activities, such as landscaped areas or playgrounds
  • levels of natural light within apartments
  • efficient heating & air-conditioning
  • use of brownfield sites to minimise urban sprawl.

Homestar, run by the Green Building Council, was introduced in 2010 with the backing of the Government & industry to help improve the often low performance of New Zealand homes.

Chief executive Alex Cutler said the updates made Homestar more flexible, so it can work well both for standalone houses as well as developments of many homes.

Homestar is a comprehensive, national, independent system that rates the health, comfort & efficiency of homes on a scale of 1-10, at both the design & built phases. Ms Cutler said a 6-Homestar rating or higher would provide assurance that a home would be warmer, healthier & cost less to run than a typical new home.

The typical New Zealand home rates around 2-3 Homestar, while a new home built only to building code would rate around 4 Homestar. The proposed Auckland unitary plan includes a 6 Homestar rating as a minimum requirement for developments with multiple homes, a provision now being applied in Auckland’s special housing areas.

The Homestar tool review was supported by principal sponsor Willis Bond & Co Ltd and associate sponsor Ockham Residential Ltd.

Both developers have been piloting the new Homestar. Willis Bond & Co last month became the first project to achieve Homestar ratings across a largescale development, with 113 homes at Wynyard Central gaining at least 7 Homestar Design.

Ockham Residential’s new Daisy development in Mt Eden has been appraised as being on track for a 9 Homestar Design rating.

Attribution: Green Building Council release.

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