What makes a home eco friendly?

There are many features that make a home eco friendly, but the most fundamental one is good design, specifically good passive design. That means designing your home so that it can respond effectively to local conditions, for example, orientating it so that it can make the most of the suns energy. If this is done effectively, in a temperate climate such as Auckland it will likely eliminate the need for you to install heating or cooling systems.

Why should I go eco friendly?

As well as the fact that your home will have less impact on the environment, ultimately your home will be a more comfortable and healthier place for you and your family to live.

Houses that are built to the minimum requirements of the New Zealand Building code would only be awarded a 3 to 4 star rating i.e. they are under performing.

What is Homestar?

Homestar is New Zealand’s independent residential rating tool that evaluates the environmental attributes of residential homes in terms of energy, health and comfort, water, waste etc. It was developed by the Green Building council and BRANZ and is based on a number of successful international rating tools. The objective of the tool is to improve the performance and reduce the environmental impact of new and existing New Zealand homes, making them warm, healthy and comfortable places to live.

How much more does an eco friendly home cost?

A recent research project in collaboration with Jazmax Architecture, Rawlinsons and eCubed Building Workshop looked into the additional cost of a Homestar rated home compared with a Building Code compliant home. An industry standard 180m² 3 bedroom, double garage, detached house was selected to provide the benchmark and the results revealed the following increases in build costs:

  • $3,237 (+1.15% of build cost) - 5 stars
  • $6,437 (+2.2 % of build cost) - 6 stars
  • $16,241 (+5.5 % of build cost) - 7 stars

The savings on the long term running costs of the home i.e. the pay back period were as follows:

  • 2.5 years – 5 stars
  • 5.5years – 6 stars
  • 10 years – 7 stars

What is Lifemark?

Lifemark® rated homes are designed to be usable and safe for people of all ages and stages. They are easy to live in – for a lifetime.


Lifemark® work alongside designers and builders to offer advice on how to make best use of space in a home, based on the principles of Universal Design. Any new home design and any size home can be Lifemark® rated. It’s about designing to have space in the right place.


The Lifemark® Star Rating shows how well a home or retirement village will suit you and your family’s needs over a lifetime. Find out more about the Lifemark® Star Rating here.