Beacon’s HSS High Standard of Sustainability

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As sustainability becomes a more common claim in the marketing of home building products, there is the potential for a great deal of confusion – just what makes for a sustainable home? How can homeowners make the best choices for their specific needs?

We believe New Zealanders need to be able to define what achieving a high standard of sustainability in a home means – how the home should perform, and what features are necessary to deliver that level of performance.

A line in the sand

Beacon set out to develop a set of benchmarks which would define a high standard of sustainability.  We’ve called it the HSS High Standard of Sustainability®. 

As our focus is on the homes of ordinary New Zealanders rather than any particular income or demographic group, we aimed for performance that is reasonably achievable for the mass market today.  We recognise and, indeed, expect that eco-homes can and will be designed which exceed these benchmarks.  However, in designing our benchmarks for everyday New Zealanders and ordinary homes, we hope to influence and change the majority of New Zealanders’ lives.

Initially we based the benchmarks on available national data as a starting place for further research.   Our demonstration projects, the NOW Homes®, the Papakowhai Renovation Project and HomeSmart Renovations, have and are continuing to contribute to our understanding and definition of how a sustainable home should perform.

What is the HSS High Standard of Sustainability®?

It is a tool by which homeowners can:

  • understand the performance of their homes; and
  • understand how their actions and habits can affect how well their home performs (that is, the gap between the home’s design potential and its actual performance).

The HSS High Standard of Sustainability® sets benchmarks in five key performance areas:

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Indoor environment quality
  4. Waste
  5. Materials 

Underpinning the benchmarks are considerations of affordability and future flexibility.