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Rebuilding towards sustainable housing

Tags: Canterbury Residential

Healthier and cost-effective homes have been under the media spotlight across the country in recent months and the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) says Christchurch is improving its housing sustainability standards.

Homeowners are taking a step in the direction of sustainability and using the rebuild as a golden opportunity to improve their housing quality and overall quality of life.

“We’re seeing really good examples of best practice. The increased provision of warm, healthy and comfortable homes is a move in the right direction to ensure Cantabrians get quality housing,” says Homestar Director Leigh Featherstone of the NZGBC.

Results from the annual Homestar/ survey from late 2014 shows that Kiwi’s are increasingly rating sun, warmth and insulation as top priority when buying a house.

Paul McKenzie, National Marketing Manager at said that, “This shows the real-life performance of a home, rather than cosmetic features, is increasingly crucial. Home sellers wanting to command a top price would be well advised to look at issues such as insulation before they put their house on the market.”

Kiwi’s living in older houses have begun making changes to their own homes, with 77% claiming that making their home more energy efficient is now a priority. Those surveyed also said that energy efficient traits are what they would look for when purchasing a new home. 88% of Kiwis who are looking to sell their home think that energy efficiency has the potential to attract a price premium.

The NZGBC created Homestar as the national rating tool which rates homes from 1 to 10 for their efficiency and sustainability. The current Building Code typically results in a 4-star rating.


New builds are increasingly setting standards of sustainability at an affordable price. Developer and architect Bob Burnett’s 9 Homestar rated Addington build (pictured above), currently under construction, is one of the first in New Zealand to receive this rating.


The home will be warm, dry, healthy, energy efficient and environmentally sound. Burnett is a long-standing advocate for sustainable design and is encouraging a more sustainable rebuild.

Coll Architecture is another Christchurch based sustainability champion who developed the unique Riccarton accommodation, ‘Matipo on the Green' (pictured above). It has earned an 8-star energy rating and consists of eight two-storey compact apartment blocks.

The development features covered bike racks for all tenants, highly energy efficient construction, low water use, passive ventilation, durable materials and a good use of space with passive solar heating.

The NZGBC says a minimum 6-star rating is what everyone should aim for with new builds and Jasmax architecture claim this can be achieved by spending an extra $6,500.

Independent research from the NZGBC showed that taking an average 3 bedroom home and adding items to achieve a 6 Homestar rating added 2.2% to the build cost. This extra cost can be shrunk further with good planning and site orientation, to start with the end in mind.

Leigh Featherstone acknowledges sustainable homes have a reputation of being expensive but believes that once sustainability is considered from the beginning of the project, the costs will be very little more than a conventional build and will deliver returns in lower energy bills from day one.

Sources: NZGBC, Homestar, CERA, Bob Burnett Architecture, Coll Architecture

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