Over 120,000 New Zealand homes can be developed to become high performance homes. In return of this advancement, provides an economic net benefit of $1.5 -$3.1 billion. Kiwi homes will greatly benefit with lower carbon emissions and improve health outcomes. The development will also open up to over 1,000 new jobs that will help boost the economic status.
The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) is a passionate advocate for better buildings and Kiwi homes. They believe that better buildings are healthier and thus people are happier. Trusted rating tools like Green Star and Homestar prove many of their buildings as healthy, sustainable, and safe credentials.
The non-profit organisation includes 520 companies and organisations. Amongst the members are banks, energy companies, insurers, government departments, publicly listed property companies, project managers, manufacturers, construction companies, architects, developers, designers, and tertiary education institutions. This includes many of the NZX50.
The New Zealand Green Building Council published a report stating 3 recommendations for improving homes and stimulating the economy. The report uncovers multiple astonishing benefits soon to be realised. Here is a summary of their report:
40% of New Zealand’s existing homes are damp and mouldy. According to OECD standards, New Zealand homes are poorly constructed and heated. An estimated 1,600 New Zealanders die each year due to cold weather, five times the rate of cold-linked deaths reported in Sweden.
The NZGBC proposes three recommendations for improving homes and stimulating the economy.
The Warmer Kiwi Homes programme could be enhanced by making more improvements to each home and by scaling the programme up. This will create jobs, improve health and reduce emissions.
Expand - Aligning the programme with the Healthy Home Standard. The Warmer Kiwi Homes programme does not consider the full measures it takes to improve the health of a home. It currently focuses on insulation and heating. The Healthy Homes Standard, which was created more recently, includes draught stopping, ventilation, and drainage measures. Although not covered by the Healthy Home Standard, we suggest energy-efficient lighting and hot water (lagging + controls) also be included.
Scaling Up – New Zealand has too many damp and cold homes. The 2015 BRANZ House Condition Survey found when it inspected properties that 40% of kiwi homes are damp and mouldy.
Many people at home (through unemployment, working from home or self isolating) are likely to be living in cold and damp conditions with reduced means to afford heating. This situation has the potential to exacerbate health conditions and increase the health impacts of COVID-19.
It is recommended that the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme is expanded to cover an additional 50,000 homes.
Twelve local authorities in New Zealand enable people to install energy efficiency improvements to their homes through a voluntary targeted rates (VTR) scheme. These schemes are long-running (established in 2009) and have successfully improved over 30,000 homes.
The improvements include insulation, ventilation, heating, and other measures. Auckland Council, for instance, currently improves 2,700 properties a year through its VTR scheme.
Energy ratings are a powerful way to inform owners of the energy efficiency and warmth of homes. Evidence shows that an energy rating kick-starts people to improve their homes. Research also shows that energy ratings help transform markets, support other energy efficiency programs and improve residential housing stock performance.
Download the full report of NZGBC through the link below.
The following report from NZGBC emphasises that New Zealand home design must change to a healthy standard that ultimately improves kiwis health and saves the country money. Not to do this would be incompetent.
Key components include improving ventilation and heating standards. This can be achieved cost effectively by using Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation and modern electric heating systems. Such systems are mandatory in modern healthy offshore communities. It's time Kiwis understand the health and financial benefits of healthy homes.