"Building industry professionals form Central Otago group", Scoop Media
A group of industry professionals concerned with the need to improve housing stock in the region have formed a steering committee to support the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) Homestar rating system for assessing the sustainability of a residence.
The announcement of the group’s initiative, named Sustainable Homes Organisation (SHO)-Central Otago, coincided with a meet-and-greet event in Queenstown earlier this week for NZGBC’s new CEO Andrew Eagles.
Eagles met with twenty industry professionals, including members of SHO, to give an update on the market position of NZGBC and share his vision. “My goal is to make Homestar mainstream,” he said.
The Homestar rating system evaluates the performance of a home on a scale of 1 to 10, with a high score representing a high-performing and sustainable residence.
A new, modern home built to minimum New Zealand building code would generally achieve a 3–4 star rating, and existing homes 2-3. The goal is for homes to score a minimum of 6, which indicates noticeable improvements in levels of warmth, dryness, health, and water and energy efficiency.
SHO-Central Otago aims to support this rating system as the most practical means of evaluating new and existing homes in the region, with the intention of raising expectations of how a residence can perform while using fewer resources. The group recognises that minimum building code does not suit the climatic demands of this alpine region.
SHO-Central Otago will use the expertise of various professionals in the building industry who have a specialty or interest in energy-efficient, sustainable practice. Members include representatives from Evolution, a division of Rilean Construction, eZed, Ltd, Mark Gray Architect, QUBE, SeeChangeNZ Ltd, Hiberna and recently elected Otago Regional Council representative Maggie Lawton.
“We hope to see better building practices become standard, and this rating system strongly encourages this by offering a way of comparing homes based on performance, not just aesthetics,” said SHO-Central Otago spokesperson and Rilean marketing consultant Annabelle Numaguchi.
She said the non-profit steering group would liaise between the community and NZGBC to ensure the points used to determine a Homestar score accurately reflected thermal efficiency and sustainability in practice, not just in theory.
The rating system has gained traction in Auckland and Christchurch, and SHO-Central Otago expects to give Homestar the support to become a standard, recognisable rating system in this region.
Queenstown Lakes District Council has proposed initiatives to promote Homestar by offering incentives for a residence achieving a 6 star.
SHO is set up as a model that can be adopted by other regions to help the rating system become a standard tool in the property market.
Architect Mark Gray said he had mentioned the formation of Otago steering group at the recent Homestar Leadership mini-conference. “Those from other regions expressed an interest in following suit,” he said.