It’s easy to make homes warmer, healthier and more energy efficient during the cold winter months — and some quick fixes won’t cost a cent.
Running throughout June, Home Health Check Month offers four weeks of research-based fast facts and smart tips to help people improve home performance in four areas: energy, health and comfort, water efficiency, waste, and home safety.
People will also have the chance to win prizes and get expert answers to home-performance questions.
The month-long campaign is presented by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), which manages Homestar, the rating tool for New Zealand homes.
Homestar is an independent system that rates the health, comfort and energy efficiency of New Zealand homes on a scale of 1 to 10. A 6 Homestar rating or higher gives assurance that a home will be warmer, healthier and cost less to run than a typical new home built to Building Code standard (which achieves a 3 or 4 Homestar rating).
NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler says the aim of Home Health Check Month is to raise home owners’ awareness of what it means to have a healthy home, and the many simple ways they can improve warmth, efficiency and environmental impact, and reduce day-to-day household costs.
“Building or renovating is obviously the easiest time to ensure you have a healthy, energy-efficient house,” Ms Cutler says.
“But there’s an awful lot you can do to upgrade and improve your home — not only making it warmer and healthier, but reducing household bills too.
“For example, choosing energy-efficient LED bulbs helps the energy savings add up, and fitting flow restrictors to taps and showerheads will reduce your water use and hot water bill. Many of these changes cost a little, and offer great rewards.
“During Home Health Check Month we’ll share tips on reducing environmental impact too — such as reducing waste and water use. The safety and livability of our homes is also important, so we’re including factors such as reducing hazards around the home and ensuring good accessibility.
“In general, we’re aiming to inform, inspire and prompt some positive action. The overall message of the month is, ‘Take a look at how your home stacks up — and here are a few simple steps to make it better’.”
Homestar also offers a self-assessment tool for home owners to check how they rate on the Homestar scale and get a customised report. Ms Cutler says a good first step for an over-arching look at home performance is to check out the tool at www.homestar.org.nz.
People can keep up with Home Health Check Month tips and advice through the Homestar Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Homestarnz, and the Homestar web site at www.homestar.org.nz