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New homes set to meet Homestar rating

Published: 26 October 2017

New homes on sites controlled by Panuku Development Auckland will meet higher standards for health, warmth and energy efficiency thanks to a move by the Council’s urban regeneration agency.

Panuku has set a requirement of at least a 6 Homestar rating for houses built across its Transform and Unlock locations – key brownfield parts of Auckland earmarked for regeneration.

In the next decade, Panuku expects to deliver an estimated 10,000 homes across its Transform areas, which are earmarked for the most intensive redevelopment. These include Manukau, Onehunga and Tamaki, and its Unlock project locations in other parts of Auckland.

What Homestar means

Homestar is New Zealand’s rating tool for residential sustainability, with above-building code standards for insulation, ventilation, warmth and efficiency.

Panuku chief executive Roger MacDonald says while the agency already sets standards on a site-by-site basis, Homestar is a simpler quality gauge that will give clarity and consistency to the industry. "As part of our public good focus, the developers we work with build quality homes," he says.

"What Homestar provides is an independent, third-party verification and assurance that all homes will be healthy, efficient and able to meet the needs of Aucklanders for generations to come.

"It is important that we don’t add time or cost to the process, but that we embed good practice."

Recent revisions to Homestar included a checklist and efficiencies for volume developments, which greatly simplified the process.

Panuku is now working with the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) to customise and streamline Homestar for its specific requirements. This will include automatic points for sites in brownfield areas, as well as creating a new credit for affordability.

To reach a 6 Homestar rating, all homes must meet minimum standards for insulation, warmth, water efficiency, energy use and ventilation. Credits for other aspects – such as waste, materials and transport – can be selected depending on priorities in different areas.

Creating healthy homes

He adds, "We’re excited by the potential to reward innovations with Homestar. We’re working together to agree how Homestar can reward long-term solutions by developers."

NZGBC Chief Executive Andrew Eagles says the decision by Panuku is an important endorsement for Homestar. "This is great news for the thousands of families that will be living in these houses," he says.

"With the Homestar verification, they can be sure that their new homes will be warm, dry and better places to live. Everyone who wants our children to live in healthy homes will welcome this.

"And the benefits don’t stop there. Families living here will also be saving hundreds of dollars a year in electricity bills, thanks to their insulated and efficient homes."

Analysis estimates an average Auckland family living in a 6 Homestar house should save around $900 a year in energy and water bills, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 390kg.

Learn more about the Homestar rating

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