Thousands of Kiwi homeowners are taking practical steps to improve the health of their homes, say statistics from a recent New Zealand home rating initiative led by Homestar.
Krista Ferguson, Director for Homestar - the government and industry backed rating tool for New Zealand homes - says more than 11,000 homes have now been assessed through the organisation's online 'home health' test available at www.homestar.org.nz.
Ms Ferguson says the average number of homes assessed increased tenfold during Homestar's recent Home Health Check Month initiative, run during March and April with assistance from Homestar's partner companies PlaceMakers, Resene, Cavalier Bremworth, Tasman Insulation and EECA.
"Homes were assessed in every part of the country from Clutha to Northland demonstrating that New Zealanders understand the importance of improving the health of their homes."
Ms Ferguson says statistics from the campaign also revealed that a greatly increased number of Canterbury residents visited the site to complete the test, suggesting there is a clear, elevated need in that region there for solid guidance on the best way to build and repair homes to a high standard.
The free online Homestar test covers areas including insulation, heating, water-use, waste management, ventilation and other features that are important to healthy, warm, comfortable and efficient homes. The test calculates a rating from one to ten stars based on these factors as well as creating a Recommendations Report, suggesting practical, cost-effective improvements specific to each individual home.
Ms Ferguson says the majority of the homes assessed by the Homestar test rated at 4-stars or less, out of a possible ten stars.
"With the increasing interest we are seeing from homeowners in improving their home's health, we can see this average rating shifting upwards in future as the building industry responds to consumer demand," says Ms Ferguson.
"If overseas trends are to be believed, homeowners and potential buyers are willing to pay a premium for higher rating homes of 5 per cent or more, so the building industry should take notice."
Ms Ferguson says consumers will be able to continue to learn about how to improve their home through an interactive infographic now available on Homestar's web site. <a href="http://www.homestar.org.nz/infographic">http://www.homestar.org.nz/infographic</a>
"This tool will enable users to explore what houses on the Homestar rating scale look like and learn what products and features are required to achieve a higher rated home."
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.
"Many of our homes are still underperforming in terms of health and comfort. 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."
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