Building for whatever may come

As Heraclitus famously said ‘The only thing that is constant is change,” – and it seems the rate of change has never been as rapid as today.

Although this has probably always seemed the case to successive generations, social, technological and natural forces seem to be drawing momentum from one another to keep (quite literally in Canterbury’s case), moving the ground beneath us.

Take an ample helping of population growth, season it with finite resources, and cook that pair in the pressure cooker called climate change, and you have a recipe for uncertainty.

While ‘keep calm and carry on’ might be sage advice, perhaps a little planning for the unexpected might be in order- especially when it comes to our homes.

And it seems this maxim is gaining in popularity, as building design, products and practices become increasingly sustainable.

The significant increase over the last three years in new homes registering under the Homestarâ„¢ rating tool proves New Zealanders want reliable and independent assurance that they are buying and building, healthier homes that attain high standards of sustainability and efficiency.

Homestar was introduced by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), in 2011 in response to the desire to provide a stamp of approval for Kiwi built homes. It is a national rating tool that measures the health, warmth and efficiency of New Zealand houses.

NZGBC chief executive, Andrew Eagles says as we look to build significantly more homes, it’s important that quality is championed.

“Home buyers want to know that the house they’re moving into is going to be healthy for their families, suit their life style and be built to a high standard. It’s fantastic to see the number of these warm and efficient homes rise from 670 to 6,700 in just two years,” he says.

Councillor (and Environment and Community Committee Chair), Penny Hulse says the rise in uptake is good to see.

“The houses that we build now will be standing for the next 100 years. It’s important that we get it right first time.

“The type of home that receives a Homestar rating is the type of housing that we want to see more of. They help homeowners save money year on year, result in better health and well-being and help reduce our climate impacts.”

Efforts to make New Zealanders’ homes warmer, drier, and more efficient have also received a big boost with the announcement that the burgeoning Superhome movement, which promotes better, more sustainable housing, has partnered with the New Zealand Green Building Council.

The development will see homes on the Superhome Tours verified under the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Homestar certification scheme.

Bob Burnett, who pioneered the Superhome movement, says “The Superhome movement has gone from strength to strength. We now have over 3,000 people turning up to our tours. In 2018 we are expanding to provide tours in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Queenstown and Wanaka.

“People want certainty and we want to provide them the assurance of the performance of these homes. Homestar provides that. We are excited to be providing the verification of the homes on the tours.”

Andrew Eagles, the chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council, says “This exciting commitment from the Superhome movement is good news for everyone who believes that New Zealanders should have warm, dry, healthy homes. Over 13,000 homes are now registered or committed to Homestar.

“It is great to be taking ahead this initiative with the Superhome movement. Bob Burnett and his team have shown real leadership by championing better homes for some time. All those going on the tour will know the performance of the homes has been independently verified.”

Homestar rates houses on a scale from six to ten. Six Homestar rated homes are verified as being better quality – warmer, drier, healthier and costing $1000 less to run – than a typical new house built to building code. A10 Homestar rating is a world leading house.

The New Zealand Green Building Council works to ensure that all New Zealanders live, work and play in warm, safe, dry and efficient buildings.

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