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The Homestar rating explained

Improve the health and comfort of your family while keeping energy costs down with a Homestar-rated home.

What is the Homestar rating?

The Homestar rating recognises homes that provide better quality living than a standard home and is given on a scale of 6 to 10.

The minimum Homestar rating of 6 shows that a home is more energy-efficient and is drier, healthier and warmer. A home that is awarded a 10 Homestar rating is considered to be world-leading in terms of the minimal environmental impact and the way the home performs. Multiple features are implemented to reduce waste, water consumption and energy, while promoting sustainability, comfort and a healthy family environment.

Homestar ratings have Design and Built stages. The Design stage looks at the plans to move the home to comply with the Homestar criteria, and the Built stage assess whether the home has been constructed or renovated in line with the design plans.

You don’t need to build a new home to get a Homestar rating. Existing homes can be renovated to achieve a rating.

How it works

A house is evaluated on its performance and environmental impact to determine the Homestar rating. Points are awarded across seven different categories then tallied up to create the rating. Some homes may have a stronger focus on some of these areas while others will put equal effort into all areas. A minimum number of points need to be obtained in each category to qualify.

Categories include:

  • Water. A home is assessed on its water consumption with low-flow taps, showerheads and rainwater tanks gaining points. Installing a greywater recycling system can see more points awarded.
  • Waste. Waste management systems are examined to see the steps taken in overall waste reduction and that compost and recycling bins are utilised.
  • Energy, health and comfort. Points are awarded in this category for insulation, heating and ventilation. Installing sound insulation and energy-efficient appliances are steps to score highly in this category.
  • Site. The home site is reviewed for the use of native over exotic plants with fruit trees and vegetable gardens scoring favourably.
  • Home management. Assessment for measures taken in the home that contribute to security and safety. Having an environmental management plan and a home user guide can earn extra points in this category.
  • Materials. Using VOC-free and non-toxic materials in the building of the home as well as eco-label products are looked for.
  • Plus an optional innovation category. When a home has features that reduce the building’s environmental impact and are not included in other categories, additional innovation points can be gained.

What are the benefits of a house with a high Homestar rating?

While you know that a home built to the New Zealand building code will be safe and comfortable, achieving at least the minimum Homestar rating is going to bring you more benefits.

  • With improved heating, ventilation and insulation your home will be warmer and drier during the winter months and it will also be healthier for you and your family.
  • Thanks to improved insulation, heating and water consumption systems, your monthly bills will be less with a high Homestar rating.
  • Installing features such as wastewater management systems and vegetable gardens contributes to the overall sustainability of your home, putting less strain on local resources.
  • Some mortgage lenders reward customers that are buying, building or renovating a home to a Homestar rating of 6 or higher. ANZ has the Healthy Home Loan Package which gives you a discount of up to 1.00% p.a. on your interest rate as long as your full salary is deposited into your ANZ transactional account.

How do I get a Homestar rating?

To get a Homestar rating there is a 6-step process to follow:

  1. Contact a Homestar Assessor. To begin the Homestar rating process, you will need to enlist the services of a Homestar Assessor (independent of the NZGBC). A Homestar Assessor can provide advice on your project and will act as the liaison between you or your team and the NZGBC. They do charge fees so get quotes from a few different assessors before deciding on one. You can find a Homestar Assessor through the directory on the NZGBC website.
  2. Register your project. You can register your Homestar project by completing a registration form. It is recommended to register your project as soon as you can so you can call on the support and guidance of the NZGBC when you need it.
  3. Pay fees. You will need to pay admin and audit fees once your project is registered. Fees can vary depending on the number of dwellings and typologies in your project.
  4. Project assessment. Your Homestar Assessor will carry out the assessment of your project. While all projects must undertake a Built rating, a Design rating is optional.
  5. Audit. An independent third party will conduct an audit while your project is underway.
  6. Certification. When you have a confirmed Homestar rating you’ll be sent certificates by the NZGBC. If applicable, you’ll also be sent logs to use for marketing.

One thing to consider is the extra cost that goes into creating a home with a high Homestar rating. While you may need to allow an extra 3-4% to your building cost to achieve a 6 or 7 rating, a Homestar rating of 10 (the top rating) could mean an additional 25% in building costs.

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