Opening 'Best Home' Demonstration House

  • Phil Heatley
Energy and Resources

I’m very pleased to be invited to jointly open this very first six-star Best Home - thank you.

We’re all familiar with the expression “five-star” meaning excellent, top of the line, but you don’t hear “six-star” very often!

This fantastic house, New Zealand’s first under the Best Home trademark, demonstrates that a house earning six stars for its energy efficiency can be built for only about 5 per cent more than the standard cost and certainly not the 20 per cent or so more that people think. 

Amongst other highlights this home features the use of solar energy, orientation for the sun, external shade elements for summer cooling, extensive use of renewable energy resources, and above-code thermal insulation.

This is a warmer, healthier, drier home that saves on water heating, space heating and energy consumption.

This Government well understands the importance of making New Zealand homes warmer and drier. The benefits to New Zealand are huge, through the health system, the economy and most importantly to New Zealand families.

That is why this Government has committed $347 million over four years to insulate 230,000 homes through the Warm Up NZ: Heat Smart programme.  

We are on track to achieve this next year.  We are already past 180,000 homes.  And with an average of three people living in those homes over half a million Kiwis now have improved living conditions.

We are also insulating all state houses, where practicable.

Independent reports show that the benefits of insulating deliver $5 for every $1 invested, some in energy savings, but the vast majority in health benefits.

This Government wants to be a partner in making these changes for families – whether it has been ceiling insulation or underfloor insulation, we are committed to help families make this first effective step in improving their homes.

Like the Best Home initiative, the Warm Up New Zealand programme has been achieved with the help of private companies and councils working together.

Trusts, DHBs and councils along with the Government and home owners have funded the insulation improvements.  In some cases low income households have had insulation installed completely free.

Councils are also helping ratepayers get over the hurdle of the capital cost of the Warm Up New Zealand programme by allowing them to pay the cost off on their rates. 

There are eight councils involved, including the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.  This is another innovative approach that is working well for thousands of ratepayers throughout New Zealand.

For newly-built homes, EECA offers information on its website about sustainable building, with the message that it is important to get it right first time – for example, designing a building for the sun is much cheaper and more effective to factor in right at the start.  This is amply demonstrated here in this Best Home.

And with this show home there is another innovative approach to a healthy home, an approach that is looking to raise the standards of new homes in New Zealand.

It gives both builders and purchasers information around what a six-star home could be like and demonstrates that the additional costs do not make the home unobtainable.  It specifically shows that incorporating energy efficiency and sustainability measures can be done – to meet requests from buyers and the interests of the builders. 

It’s great to see the Hasting District Council take the initiative to provide not only the information to builders and buyers, but also to reduce red tape to provide a five- day consent approval process.  I am sure this will be of significant value to the building partners.

So thank you for taking up this initiative and responding to consumers and builders who want to build a home with the future in mind.  I applaud your approach and wish you all the best in demonstrating this in Hawke’s Bay.

I hope you have plenty of interest from builders and buyers alike and I look forward to hearing about your successes over the next months.