Designing a home that combines warmth and health with energy efficiency can be tough, and many of us may not know how well our houses really stack up. If you're about to undergo renovations, build a new home or are simply curious about how to ensure your home is performing at its best, take a look at this guide to the Homestar program.
What is it?
Homestar is a an organisation that gives independent advice and guidance to help homeowners assess how their properties stack up in terms of warmth, health and efficiency. The program provides expert tips on energy and performance improvements that can be made in a home, plus offers a range of design and construction services for new residential projects.
The rating system has been developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council and is supported by the government. Its overarching aim is to provide a comparison of Kiwi homes against a benchmark, helping homeowners improve the warmth, health and efficiency of their properties.
Homestar is supported by industry partners including Resene, which has provided assistance to help get the rating tool operating. It takes environmental building standards and New Zealand's unique climate into account to help homeowners identify and improve areas that need work, whether it's dampness or draughts.
How do we stack up so far?
Rough estimates suggest more than one million New Zealand homes need improvements to make them warmer in winter and cooler in summer. They also need to be healthier to live in with better water and energy efficiency.
How does it work?
An online assessment takes insulation, heating, water use, ventilation, indoor air quality and waste into consideration to create a personalised value rating between one and ten stars. This will be generated to show you where your home rates in terms of efficiency, health and comfort and information will also be provided on cost-effective improvements you can make.
The online tool's suggestions include easy actions that are low or no-cost, as well as larger investments that can save you money in the long run.
The best part about Homestar is that it can be used over and over again. Once work has been completed you can revisit the tool and assess what difference the renovations have made to your rating.
Can I get more help?
Some homeowners may rather deal with a person than an online assessment, which Homestar also offers. You can get a Homecoach to help with the assessment and tailor recommendations to your specific needs and a Homestar Certified Assessment to provide a validated third party rating for the building.
This option is for anyone who wants more a personalised and thorough consultation than that offered through the online assessment.
What can I do right now?
One effective way of maintaining temperature control and therefore reducing heating bills is by using Resene CoolColour paint. This looks just the same as regular paint, but reflects more heat to help homes stay cool. The technology is available in exterior paints and stains, and is especially effective when used in dark colours. Roofs, weatherboards, decks and fences all benefit from CoolColour technology.
You can also reduce bacteria in wet areas by coating them with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen and Bathroom. This product is durable and easy to clean, plus has anti-bacterial silver protection and mould protection to minimise the growth of mould and bacteria.
For an annual washdown to keep homes fresh and clean, use Resene Paint Prep and Housewash to eliminate contaminants, dirt and grime.