Banking on healthier homes

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A bit like a red card in a rugby match, a Queenstown healthy-homes advocate believes ANZ’s mortgage-reducing loans for Homestar-rated homes are a game-changer.

ANZ is trimming mortgages by up to one percentage point for anyone who designs or builds or retro-fits a home that’s rated at least a Homestar-minimum six.

Annabelle Numaguchi is a Homestar assessor and marketing & project coordinator for Dowling Construction & Development (DCD).

DCD owner Dennis Dowling presents a free seminar on the topic at Five Mile’s ANZ branch at 5.30pm today.

Numaguchi estimates there are fewer than 10 Homestar-rated homes in the Wakatipu, but she believes ANZ’s initiative will make a big difference.

“It’s really putting the word out there about what Homestar is.”

Set up by the New Zealand Green Building Council, the rating measures a home’s energy efficiency and sustainability.

“Your walls, your floor, your ceiling need to be built up so they are warmer than what the minimum [building] code asks for, but it’s not that much more.

“And what Dennis will be talking about is how you can achieve some of that without having to increase your cost.”

With that mortgage money saved, she says home owners can put that into a better build.

Homestar, she says, also awards points for things like water usage, managing stormwater and keeping a garden.

It even encourages construction waste management “which is great because it’s estimated that 50 per cent of landfill [rubbish] comes from residential construction”.

Numaguchi says a healthy home has an even temperature throughout.

If there’s too great a variation, there’s the risk of moisture from showers and cooking travelling through your walls and eventually creating nasty mould.

Numaguchi says she lives in a Homestar six-rated home, “and I walk around barefoot in winter, and comfortably – and I get cold really easily”.

“I just keep my thermostat set at between 20 and 22, and I don’t ever pay more than in the $200s per month for my power.”

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