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New version of Homestar is released

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A new version of Homestar, the rating tool for New Zealand home sustainability has been released

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

Homestar v3 launched today, with updates specifically to suit higher density developments.

This makes it easier to use the tool – which awards ratings from 1 - 10 stars – on large-scale multi-unit projects such as apartments and 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 and air-conditioning

• use of brownfield sites to minimise urban sprawl.

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

NZGBC 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.

“The growing pressure on housing supply is a major issue for New Zealand, and increasing the density of our cities is the most sustainable way to meet that growing demand. The new version of Homestar released today will help ensure new apartments and multi-unit projects are energy efficient, healthy and liveable homes – with good community facilities and green space.

“It’s important to keep rating tools updated and aligned with current best practice. By updating Homestar for higher density projects we’re keeping pace with industry needs.”

The Homestar tool review was supported by Principal Sponsor Willis Bond & Co, and Associate Sponsor Ockham Residential.

Both developers have been piloting the new Homestar.

Willis Bond & Co last month became the first project to achieve Homestar ratings across a large-scale 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.

Ms Cutler said the NZGBC was indebted to both sponsors, as well as to industry members who showed strong support for Homestar.

There are currently more than 2,500 individual dwellings registered for Homestar, compared to 550 at the same time last year.

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.

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