- that renovations need to take a whole of house approach
- what improvements are needed to bring an existing house to a HSS High Standard of Sustainability®
- that homeowners need information to help them decide what changes to make and in what order.
The projects have also helped us to develop tools which will be of use to any councils undertaking retrofit programmes.
The two projects have generated a robust approach - we call it a HomeSmart approach - to assessing existing homes and developing a renovation plan.
Two tools provide the backbone of this approach:
- HomeSmart assessment tool - This prompts an assessor to record the appropriate data from a house visit. The information required to assess the home against the HSS High Standard of Sustainability® has been established and tested in the HomeSmart Renovation project.
- HomeSmart plan builder tool - This is integrated with the assessment tool to automatically generate a prioritised and individualised renovation plan from the data recorded at the house.
In addition to the tools, Beacon can provide training of assessors and assist with tweaking the two tools to suit any programme.
Retrofit Your Home - the tools in action
The HomeSmart tools underpin Auckland Council’s Retrofit Your Home initiative.
Retrofit Your Home was developed out of Beacon’s HomeSmart Renovation project which tested whether information and a renovation plan would stimulate homeowners into improving home performance. The project developed a home assessment tool and a renovation plan builder, which took details of the home’s current state and generated an individualised plan. This was prioritised so that homeowners could work through the steps to improving their home’s performance in the most cost-effective way.
Beacon worked with Waitakere City Council staff to adapt these tools for Waitakere homes and to train building inspectors as assessors. The programme got underway in September 2010.
In April 2011 Auckland Council announced that it was extending the programme through the region in partnership with EECA. Retrofit Your Home allows homeowners access to financial assistance to help pay for insulation, clean heating, ventilation, water efficiency and other sustainability measures. A maximum of $5000 including GST per rateable property is available and the financial assistance from the council will be paid back through the property rates over nine years. Insulation is undertaken through the Warm Up New Zealand scheme, but further home improvements, such as clean heating, double glazing or water efficient fittings, are based on a free Sustainable Home Assessment and Retrofit Plan recommendations.
Since the programme was extended, Beacon has been working with Auckland Council to further refine the original assessment and plan builder tools for their purposes.
Available for your council
The HomeSmart tools are available for all councils to use when setting up retrofit programmes or assessing housing stock. Unlike other tools they are not available on this website as they require some training and tweaking to make the best use of them.
If you would like to know more, please contact us.