Better houses, for our people, our environment, and our future
The goal of the movement is to raise standards so that all new homes are healthier and more energy efficient, while also promoting environmental, economic, and socially sustainable practices.
One of the founders and the designer New Zealand's first 10 Homestar rated home, Bob Burnett has first-hand experience of the impact of housing on health. After the Christchurch earthquake, his family was forced to relocate from their damaged energy-efficient home into substandard rental accommodation. The health of his children deteriorated rapidly and doctors attributed it to the poor housing. He felt compelled to take action – in 2015 launching the Superhome Movement to create transformative change in the building industry.
The movement's activities and events provide open source sharing of new design ideas, technologies, and building techniques by connecting leading experts with homeowners, designers, builders, industry, researchers, education providers, government, stakeholders, to collaborate towards achieving higher building standards for all New Zealand homes.
In terms of building standards New Zealand is around 20 years behind other developed counties in the OECD.
Almost all houses built today are built to the minimum standard allowed by law (equivalent to a Homestar rating of 3). This is well below what is acceptable by other developed countries where minimum standards are around Homestar rating of 6 or above. The result is that most kiwis will end up living in cold damp houses that are not only unhealthy but are also costly to run due to inefficient design, building, and poor quality building materials.
Our sub optimal building standards are contributing to unhealthy living environments, and some very sobering health statistics. Respiratory diseases are directly linked to cold, damp, and mouldy homes. NZ has the highest childhood asthma rate in the world with 30% of our 7 year olds having asthma. Additionally, we have the highest mortality rate from asthma of all high-income countries. As a nation, our healthcare costs for respiratory diseases alone exceed $5 billion annually.
We simply cannot keep risking our health due to poor housing.
Healthy homes are affordable and should be mandated at a government level. The price for a healthy, energy efficient home is only around 2% more than a standard build, but an energy efficient home will yield 10 times as much as a standard home over the life of the building. It's a small investment for a very long term impact.
It's more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable to build more energy efficient homes now. Most Superhomes are energy positive to run - they provide more energy than they use, over time. They also have far less waste when built with sustainable building products and methods. The building sector accounts for 50% of the world's processed raw materials, 40% of energy demand, and a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. The impact from the houses we are building now will affect generations to come.
Educating industry, and the public is essential to create change. The Superhome Movement is dedicated to driving this change. Join us to be part of this movement toward creating better homes for all of New Zealand.