Home is where the health is: New Zealand responses to a “healthy” housing crisis

Author/s: Rochelle Ade, Michael Rehm

Date Published: 02/01/2020

Published in: Volume 26 - 2020 Issue 1 (pages 69 - 93)


It is accepted in both popular culture and the academic literature that ‘cold and damp’ housing leads to poor health outcomes for occupants. Many solutions have been proposed to remedy this from voluntary healthy home checklists, green building ratings tools to mandatory government legislation. This study reviews the responses comparing the different mechanisms and drawing conclusions about the potential effectiveness of each. While each approach has admirable aims flaws are identified with the design and application. These include a static assessment methodology (one off inspection), a reliance on simplified checklists and prescriptive interventions and a focus on cold and damp with no counterbalancing consideration of overheating in a climate of recognised global warming. The Healthy Home Standards are identified as the most flawed approach containing multiple exemptions that can be exploited to avoid compliance. Homestar is recognised as the most comprehensive and detailed mechanism currently available to provide healthy housing in NZ.

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Housing - Indoor Environment Quality - Relative Humidity - Temperature


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