‘Home Health Check Month’ begins tomorrow

Press Release – Homestar

This March, New Zealanders will be encouraged to check the health of their home and receive an action plan for how to make improvements that will make their homes warmer, healthier, more comfortable and cost-efficient.‘Home Health Check Month’ begins tomorrow

Homestar initiative will help Kiwi homeowners take first steps on the journey to improving home health and comfort this winter

Auckland, 29 February 2012 – This March, New Zealanders will be encouraged to check the health of their home and receive an action plan for how to make improvements that will make their homes warmer, healthier, more comfortable and cost-efficient.

Home Health Check Month, an initiative led by Homestar – the government and industry backed rating tool for New Zealand homes – is set to make a significant difference to the health of the country’s housing stock, says its Director, Krista Ferguson.

“Nearly a million of our homes in New Zealand are still underperforming in terms of health and comfort. This is simply not good enough. It’s affecting our families, leaving them vulnerable to illness, and costing us money in terms of high energy bills and, for some of us, high water bills,” says Ms Ferguson.

“The good news is there are simple, practical things homeowners can do to improve the health of their home Throughout March, Homestar and its partner companies across the country will be providing information and practical help for people to achieve this.”

Ms Ferguson says the first step for homeowners should be to complete the free online Home Health Check test available at www.homestar.org.nz. This covers areas including insulation, heating, water-use, waste management, ventilation and other features that are important to healthy, warm, comfortable and efficient homes.

The interactive test then calculates a rating from one to ten stars based on these factors and uses the information entered to generate a Recommendations Report, suggesting cost-effective improvements specific to each individual home. Homeowners can then take their report into any PlaceMakers store in the country where staff will provide practical help and advice for improving their Homestar rating.

Those who complete the online Home Health Check during March will also be in to win a Homestar Home Makeover prize pack worth over $6,000, including insulation, paint, curtains, floor coverings, low-flow shower heads, and environmental choice cleaning products.

Ms Ferguson says one of the key reasons Homestar was created was to provide practical guidance to help Kiwis create healthier, more comfortable living spaces that ultimately provide a cost benefit both in the short and long term.

She refers to a study by Prof. Howden-Chapman of Otago University that showed that home insulation could provide a health benefit cost return ratio of 2 to 1.

“This study showed that for every dollar spent on insulating old, cold houses, there is close to a two dollar benefit in terms of health saving from not ending up in hospital, or in less time off work or school,” says Ms Ferguson.

“The fact is poorly performing homes cost more to run, are less comfortable to live in and end up costing us all through poor health and lost productivity. However, the savings that you will get when you put the Homestar recommendations into practice will be tangible and add to the health and value of your home.”

Homestar will be providing more information for homeowners on home health throughout March via its facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HomestarNZ.

For more information on Homestar and taking the Home Health Check test, visit www.homestar.org.nz

Homestar is a joint venture partnership between BRANZ and the New Zealand Green Building Council with the support of the building industry and key Government agencies; the Department of Building and Housing and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Homestar’s industry partners include PlaceMakers, The Healthy Home Group, Pink Batts, Gib Living, Fletcher Aluminium, Stonewood Homes, Metro GlassTech, Resene, Cavalier Bremworth, Methven and Mico.

Homestar also receives support from industry organisations such as Certified Builders, Registered Master Builders, Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ and the Concrete and Cement Association of NZ.

*Home health study by Howden-Chapman, 2006

About Homestar
Homestar – a comprehensive, national voluntary rating tool that evaluates the environmental attributes of New Zealand’s stand-alone homes – was created to address the fact that most New Zealand homes are under-performing in comfort, health and energy-efficiency. Homestar is a joint venture partnership between BRANZ and the New Zealand Green Building Council with the support of the building industry and key Government agencies; the Department of Building and Housing and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Homestar’s industry partners include PlaceMakers, The Healthy Home Group, Pink Batts, Gib Living, Fletcher Aluminium, Stonewood Homes, Metro GlassTech, Resene, Cavalier Bremworth, Methven and Mico. Homestar also receives support from industry organisations such as Certified Builders, Registered Master Builders, Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ and the Concrete and Cement Association of NZ.

How Homestar works
Homestar is a comprehensive, national, voluntary residential rating tool that evaluates the environmental attributes of New Zealand’s stand-alone homes. The Homestar rating tool framework has been developed to assess new and existing homes and allows for both self-assessment by the homeowner using the free online tool and also independent assessment that results in the issue of a formal Homestar Certified rating. After taking the online assessment, the homeowner/tenant is provided a provisional rating out of ten along with a Recommendations Report with suggestions on how to make the home healthier and more comfortable to live in. Some suggestions may involve simple actions that involve little or no cost, while others may involve investments that will pay for themselves through lower running costs or other benefits to the household. To gain a higher star rating the home owner will need to address the core issues highlighted in the initial assessment, and then can reassess the house once the changes have been made. To gain a formal Homestar Certified Rating on their property, a homeowner can engage a Homestar Assessor who does a comprehensive, in-depth audit assessment on the property. This is useful information if selling or purchasing a home and may add value by giving potential purchases peace of mind at point of sale.

ENDS

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