We are really excited that 2018 has been a productive year for further extending our reach and knowledge around green building practices. This has been through our affiliation with the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and the Homestar framework. Mackit Architecture is incredibly proud to now be the Wairarapa’s only accredited Homestar Practitioner and Assessor. So what does this mean for our practice, and more importantly, our clients? Read on to find out what Homestar is all about, why it matters and how it can benefit you.
What is Homestar?
Homestar is a comprehensive, independent national rating tool that measures the health, comfort, sustainability and quality of New Zealand homes. A home is rated on a scale from 6 to 10.
A 6 Homestar rating or higher provides assurance that a house will be better quality – warmer, drier, healthier and cost less to run – than a typical new home built to building code. A 10 Homestar rating means you’ve built a world leading home.
To rate a home’s performance and environmental impact, it is assessed across six essential categories:
- Energy, health and comfort;
There is also an optional innovation category. Each category is broken down into credits. Points are awarded based on the level of achievement in each credit.
What is a Homestar Practitioner and Assessor?
Homestar professionals are trained and accredited by NZGBC. They will help you achieve a Homestar rating using their comprehensive understanding of the rating system, from technical detail to practical application.
Homestar Practitioners can assist in the design or building of a Homestar project by providing advice and recommendations. Having a Homestar Practitioner involved is a great way to ensure a good outcome and a high rating. However, if you want to get a certified rating, you’ll still need to engage a Homestar Assessor to prepare the submission.
Homestar Assessors have an in-depth understanding of the categories, credits and points system of the Homestar tool. They will be an integral part of your project team and manage the submission paperwork for Homestar Appraisals, Design ratings and Built ratings.
At Mackit we have accreditation as both a Homestar Practitioner and Assessor, which means we can use and incorporate the Homestar framework into the design of your new home from the first concept, through to having your home’s Homestar rating certified at completion.
Most new homes built to Building Code will only achieve a 3-4 Homestar rating scale, and most existing New Zealand homes only achieve a 2-3 Homestar rating scale.* “Built to Building Code” isn’t necessarily a mark of a quality home, especially in terms of sustainability, durability and efficiency. Design and specification significantly above Building Code is needed for a high quality and enduring home – the types of bespoke home Mackit specialises in.
The Homestar framework recognises a home being well above the legal Building Code standard, as well as performing in areas the code doesn’t even consider, such as site waste and water consumption. As an owner of a Homestar rating dwelling, you can expect to achieve:
- Greater energy efficiency;
- Cheaper running costs (approx annual savings of $573-$729 per year on energy and water bills for Homestar rated 5 and 6 dwellings*);
- A healthier internal environment for you and your family;
- Independent assurance to future buyers when you come to sell;
- Feel good factor for doing your bit for the environment.
How is a Homestar home designed?
Getting a Homestar rating requires planning throughout the design of your home. If achieving a Homestar rating is important to you, we can guide you through the process and seamlessly integrate the Homestar framework as part of our bespoke design service. The earlier a project starts using the Homestar framework, the easier and more cost-effective it is to make new homes warm, healthy and desirable places to live.
- Mackit have the accreditation and knowledge to begin thinking about and integrating the Homestar framework into the design of your home right from a concept phase.
- Many of the Homestar categories and requirements are considerations and integrations we make during the design process of every home we design; so it’s straight-forward for us to go to that extra level in order to design a Homestar certified home.
- Most “extra costs” associated with the design and specification of your home, are at least partially offset by the tangible benefits that come with having a Homestar Rated 6 or above home.