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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 gives a rating 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 house awarded a 10 Homestar rating is considered world-leading regarding its minimal environmental impact and how the home performs. The points for ratings are as follows:

  • 6 *: 60 to 69.9 points (Good Standard)
  • 7 *: 70 to 79.9 points (Good Standard)
  • 8 *: 80 to 89.9 points (Best Practice)
  • 9 *: 90 to 99.9 points (Best Practice)
  • 10 *: 100+ points (World Leading)

(New Zealand Green Building CouncilTe Kaunihera Hanganga Tautaiao, 2021)

    The Homestar Rating implements multiple features 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 building consent (or later) design drawings and specifications to ensure they comply with the Homestar criteria. The Built stage assesses whether the house 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, although it can be harder to prove you meet the categories.

    How it works

    A house is evaluated on its performance and environmental impact to determine its Homestar rating; it awards points across seven categories then tally them up to create a rating. Some homes may have a stronger focus on some of these areas, while others put equal effort into all areas. Your house needs to obtain a minimum number of points in each category to qualify.

    Categories include:

    • Water. A home is assessed on how much water it consumes. Low-flow showerheads and taps and rainwater tanks gain points. Also, installing a greywater recycling system can see more points awarded.
    • Waste. Waste management systems are examined to see the steps taken in total waste reduction and utilising compost and recycling bins.
    • 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. The assessment looks at measures taken in the home that contribute to security and safety. For example, an environmental management plan and a home user guide earn extra points in this category.
    • Materials. It looks for materials that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOC-free) or any toxic materials in the building stage, and if it uses eco-label products.
    • Plus, an optional innovation category. When a home has features that lessen its environmental impact and are not included in other categories, it can gain additional innovation points.

    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 is safe and comfortable, achieving at least the minimum Homestar rating brings you more benefits.

    • With improved heating, ventilation and insulation, your home is warmer and drier during the winter months and is also healthier for you and your family.
    • Thanks to improved insulation, heating and water consumption systems, your monthly bills may 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 buying, building or renovating a home to a Homestar rating of 6 or higher. For example, ANZ has the Healthy Home Loan Package, which gives you a discount of up to 1.00% p.a. on your interest rate providing you deposit your full salary 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 need to enlist the services of a Homestar Assessor (independent of the New Zealand Green Building Council – Te Kaunihera Hanganga Tautaiao). A Homestar Assessor provides advice on your project and acts as a liaison between you or your team and the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC). However, they charge a fee, 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. Register your project as soon as possible so you can call on the support and guidance of the NZGBC when you need it.
    3. Pay fees. You need to pay admin and audit fees once your project is registered. Costs can vary depending on the number of dwellings and typologies in your project.
    4. Project assessment. Your Homestar Assessor will assess your project. While all projects must undertake a Built rating, a Design rating is optional.
    5. Audit. An independent third party conducts an audit while your project is underway.
    6. Certification. When you have a confirmed Homestar rating, you are sent certificates by the NZGBC.

    The cost of achieving a Homestar rating

    • There is a fixed admin fee of $0 for NZGBC members; $0 for projects for Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) members. The cost for non-members is $295.
    • Admin fees are charged per dwelling (from second dwelling in the project only). They are $200 for NZGBC members and $300 for non-members.
    • Fees for each typology (category) are $695.
    • You may receive a discount on fees if you are a high-volume builder.
    • Additional fees may apply, but you can contact the Homestar staff at homestar@nzgbc.org.nz for more information.

    (NZGBC, 2021)

    One thing to consider is the extra cost of creating a home with a high Homestar rating. For example, while you may need to allow an additional 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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