The National Value Case for Sustainable Housing

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Beacon believes there is a significant role for Government to drive the necessary upgrade of the existing housing stock to a higher standard of sustainability as well as substantially raise minimum standards in the Building Code for new houses.  Furthermore, our research indicates a strong value case at a national level to transform a significant proportion of the New Zealand housing stock to the HSS High Standard of Sustainability® with beneficial social, health, environmental and economic outcomes. 

The majority of New Zealand’s housing stock performs poorly. Our homes are cold, damp and inefficient in energy and water use. Yet a High Standard of Sustainability is achievable in both new and existing homes.

The National Value Case for Sustainable Housing Innovations focuses on how an improved housing stock can be valued across a range of Government priorities, demonstrating the national and economy-wide benefits of having housing stock at a higher standard of sustainability than currently.

Using six energy and water saving innovations as examples, it builds a  compelling case for the kinds of interventions needed to achieve the Government’s vision of being a sustainable nation, carbon neutral, and meeting our Kyoto commitments.  Given the national priority on sustainable development, and the national-scale benefits that would accrue from an improved housing stock, there is a strong argument to be made for incentivising uptake.

There is a strong case for both implementation of water efficiency technologies at a national level and for universal metering of domestic water supply.   Likewise, a value case exists for a much higher standard of retrofit – for insulation, space and water heating, than is currently undertaken as part of energy retrofit programmes.  The National Value Case also identifies opportunities and value from combining interventions and considering whole house sustainability.


Combining the five innovations that were rated as Medium Weak or better, and spreading installation costs over 20 years, would generate a direct private economic gain to households equivalent to one percent of GDP by 2017 or about $2 billion.  Non-monetary benefits of healthier and more comfortable homes, and environmental benefits, are additional. 

Direct savings in household energy consumption amount to almost 22 PJ per year, or enough to power over 500,000 New Zealand homes for a year .  Most of the energy savings are in electricity use, implying a reduction in CO2 emissions of 3600kt per year, the equivalent of $54 million in tradable emissions (at $15/tonne).  Even allowing for take-back effects in the form of warmer and healthier homes and spending of household savings from energy on travel and other commodities, net economy-wide CO2 savings of 1600kt are still produced.  This will contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions in line with New Zealand’s Kyoto commitments.

Direct water savings amount to 81 litres per person per day, or about 130 million m3 per year.

  • 06-Jan-2008 (Presentation PRES/11)

    Introductions and the National Value Case (PDF 590KB)

    Vicki Cowan

    Building Momentum: Beacon Research Symposia 2008

  • 11-Jan-2007 (Publication PR240/4)

    National Value Case for Sustainable Housing Innovations (PDF 2MB)

    Melony Clark

    This policy paper for Government presents the value case for intervening to bring New Zealand's housing up to the HSS High Standard of Sustainability®.  Based on the National Value Case report (PR240/3), it shows that simple housing interventions will bring benefits on a nationwide scale.

  • 09-Jan-2007 (Report PR240/3)

    Sustainable Homes National Value Case: Report (PDF 614KB)

    Adolf Stroombergen,Greg Brown, David Grimmond, Michael Mills, Meenakshi Sankar

    Presents the value case for bringing housing to Beacon's High Standard of Sustainability, evaluating four types of benefits: private economic benefits to households, environmental benefits, private social benefits, and national resource use efficiency.

Title page, National Value Case