JUST GOOD BUSINESS: SUSTAINABILITY: A Grand Opportunity

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Neilson

The opportunity to upgrade the countryCOs million sick homes has never been greater. Nor has the opportunity to muff it. At stake is a major chance to re-orientate the building and real estate industry toward the performance Co not just the location and appearance Co of homes.

It would stop a million poorly performing homes (largely built between the 1950s and 1990s) making 433,000 occupants a year sick, and put tens of thousands of people in the building and related sectors back to work and create new jobs.

Look to the May 28 budget to see if there is a truly comprehensive National-Green deal to marshal Government and private resources to fix the $22 billion sick home tragedy in the next decade. Or just an extension of state-funded subsidy schemes to insulate only, desirable as that is.

The problem doesnCOt need political deals to spend a billion of public money over 15 years, as the Greens negotiated with the last Labour-led government. Any plan needs to give home owners and landlords incentives to invest to make our homes warmer and healthier, while using less energy.

It needs:

Solution packages The Government, industry and home users to agree a package of solutions which will improve home performance (usually involving a combination of things like insulation, double glazing, heating efficiency improvements and moisture control). These will get internal home temperatures up to 18 degrees, when maximum health and energy saving benefits kick in. Often this is not achieved by putting in some extra insulation.

Performance rating

A requirement to declare whether or not a home has a performance rating and, if so, what it is. A single national home performance rating will provide a return on investment for homeowners and landlords: performance-rated homes sell and rent faster, for more, according to overseas experience.

Finance offers

A package of council and energy company offers to private homeowners and landlords, which allow them to borrow to do comprehensive performance upgrades Co repaid from energy savings or from estates when people die.

Green tape designs

National pre-approved efficient home design features to cut resource consent costs and approval times, while encouraging the use of innovative new features.

Training

Stepped-up training for the building and related sector, so it can offer comprehensive solutions to the hundreds of thousands who are planning to renovate in the next few years, and also issue ratings certificates easily and cheaply.

New nationwide research conducted among 2160 New Zealanders in April by ShapeNZ for the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, shows:

Co 87 percent believe the Government, building industry, home owners and users should jointly develop a new policy to progressively improve the million poorly performing homes over the next 10 years. …

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