Homestar Self Assessments
In my previous post I outlined what the Homestar home assessment was and how to get started. The first step is doing an assessment on your home using the self assessment tool on their website. The tool was pretty easy and walks you through each step asking a series of questions. The questionnaire is broken down into several steps:
Some pretty basic facts about the house (size, number of bedrooms, etc.) It also asks you the type of house you have and shows photos of the different types. As we live in a villa this was pretty straight forward.
This section covers what type of heating you have, hot water, lighting and also if you generate any of your own electricity.
Health and Comfort
Windows, ceilings, walls and floors. This section basically goes over how well insulated your home is aling with how well things like sunlight affect the house. The one issue we had with this questions is that it doesn’t really show a roof type where there is a bedroom in the ceiling as we have. A quick check with my wife the architect and we came to the conclusion that a Skillion roof was the closest match. This is probably one thing they need to add to the questionnaire. There were also some interesting questions on downlights as in the conclusions this made me aware of some issues with these types of light which are so prevalent in NZ.
Some pretty straight forward questions your appliances and if you use any of your grey water. An area which I think will have an important role to play in the future.
Waste and Home Management
These 2 sections start to cover some less major physical aspects of the house and more around some of the lifestyle choices. Questions about compost bins, recycling and home security. All easy questions to answer but great prompts for things that you can easily do to change your habits. We personally have that already so did quite well in this section.
The final questions are about outside and where the site is located. You can’t do too much about some things like how close you are to public transport but there are a few things around planting that are good to think about.
So how did we do at the end of it? I’m pleased to report that we got a 4 although I expect that if we had the official measurements done it would come out slightly lower as the house is cold in winter. The results also come with a handy summary of things that you can do to increase the score and comfort of your home. One eye-opener was that recessed lighting can be really bad for the efficiency of your house. Basically since there is no insulation over the top of them and they are hot, air gets sucked up through them and out into the roof. It is definitely something that we will be looking at during the renovation.
There were also a lot of other recommendations but I will leave some of the decisions we made to another post. We’ve just had a Homestar Practitioner around and he did a more thorough look through the house and pointed out some areas where we may be able to improve things.