New online tool HomeFit allows New Zealanders to test how warm, dry and safe their houses are
A new, free website will work out how smart your home is, and offer suggestions on how to make it smarter.
Words: Nadene Hall
A new, free online tool can now check any home to see if it is warm, safe and dry. HomeFit is run by the independent NZ Green Building Council. It contains around 20 questions, then provides a tailored report on the home. It details how warm, safe, efficient and dry it is, and offers suggestions on how to improve it. “New Zealand homes aren’t good enough,” says Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council. “All too often, they’re cold, draughty, expensive to heat, and make us, our friends and our whānau sick.
“That’s why we’ve developed HomeFit, because we believe it’s going to make our homes better… with a no-nonsense way to check the quality of a home, that it’s warm, safe and dry.” HomeFit also offers an independent appraisal service, carried out by a trained assessor. The assessment looks at damp, mould, insulation, heating, ventilation and other key areas. If a home passes, it will be awarded a HomeFit stamp, showing that it is warm, dry, safe and efficient.
Any home that passes a HomeFit assessment will also pass the requirements of recent Government legislation to improve homes (the Residential Tenancies Act). HomeFit has been developed over the last 18 months, in consultation with a wide range of housing and health experts.
WHY DO WE NEED SMARTER HOMES?
•Around half of NZ homes have visible mould
•Half of adults say they live in a cold house.
•Over 60 percent say their home needs repairs.
•Cold and damp houses have been linked to asthma, rheumatic fever and respiratory infections.
•Respiratory disease affects 700,000
New Zealanders, and is responsible for almost 80,000 hospital admissions. It costs NZ $6 billion a year, according to the Asthma Foundation.
WHAT IS THE NEW ZEALAND GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL?
The council is a not-for-profit organisation which advocates for ‘green’ buildings, designed, built and operated in environmentally-friendly ways. This includes more efficient use of energy and water, reducing construction and operation costs, and providing healthier environments for people to live and work in.