The Unconditional Blog

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Homestar – energy efficiency rating for your home

Posted on: November 10th, 2010 | Filed in Architecture & Construction, Featured, Green

homestar logo horz RGB.jpg-1

We have long heard the media coverage of how close to 1.0 million out of our 1.6 million homes are poorly insulated, inefficient in the use of energy and potentially unhealthy. The big question as has often been asked is “how can I check out my own home to see if it is efficient”?

Well with the launch of Homestar you now can.

Through its online self-assessment tool you can complete a very detailed evaluation of all aspects of your home, from construction type, insulation, lighting, power usage, heating source, orientation, water usage.. the list goes on and on. The survey provides you with a rating score from 1 to 10. Further than just making you feel good (or depressingly bad!) about your score, the tool provides a superb report covering all aspects of your home to advise as to how to improve its performance with ranking as to how expensive such developments could be, how much benefit they could bring and how easy they are to implement.

This report and online tool should be a must for all homeowners, as well as landlords (and tenants). If you know what things could be done, easily and cheaply to improve the rating, then you are more likely to do it.

The good news is that as a country we are beginning to address this broad issue of energy usage and comfort. At the launch of the Homestar initiative this week, the Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon. Maurice Williamson shared the extent of the uptake of the government subsidy for insulation (warm up campaign) – some 61,000 households had applied for the subsidy since it was introduced, very effectively demonstrating the power of financial motivational over legislative mandate to drive homeowner behaviour.

The Homestar initiative, brought together through an industry collaboration with government support, goes well beyond just an online self-assessment tool. Certified Homecoaches will be trained to provide specialist advice as to how the recommendations of the self-assessment survey can be implemented, leveraging the private sector parters; who are the product and system suppliers to the solutions required and identified in the survey.

A very important third component of the scheme is of great interest to the real estate industry, and with the support of realestate.co.nz could become a very key part of selling and marketing a property in the near future.

Licensed certified assessors will be appointed by Homestar to carry out independent assessments of properties in the same way a valuation or a building report will be undertaken. This independent survey will then be public information in the form of a unique individual registered rating, which will have a value in the minds of prospective buyers. There is robust information from overseas examples which show that such rated houses put up for sale, performing highly in terms of energy efficiency and environmental impact not only attain a sale price premium, but also sell faster.

The screen mockups seen here provide a concept of how the information could be added to the details of a listing and through the addition of a search filter could profile such properties as well as allow buyers to filter to specific performance criteria within their geographical and price boundaries.

Homestar Realestate.co.nz Nov 8 2010.ppt

As ever the critical success of this scheme and the full initiative will come from the advocacy within the core groups of which the real estate industry is so key. If real estate agents embrace this certification in the promotion of comprehensive data for listing a property it will provide value for their clients (the property owner) as well as enormous value for buyers.

Article Discussion

  1. JohnB says:

    All very well if the rating is reflective of good design, but when it gives too much value to extras such as 4000 litre water storage tanks and suggests adding insulation under concrete flooring, its a bit of a mad greeny solution.

  2. Alistair Helm says:

    John

    You example is very interesting, adding insulation under concrete!

    What this shows is that the weighting scale on the self assessment maybe needs some amendment / refinement. I am in contact with the organisation and will pose the question. Clearly the professional objective evaluation would make appropriate judgments as the appropriateness of options.

    I think the primary benefit though is that we now have some greater visibility of the issue of energy rating and improved living standards – that in itself can only be good to allow people to help make better decisions.

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