A Southland energy efficiency company is bracing for an influx of homeowners looking to take advantage of the Government’s new $142 million investment to make Kiwi homes healthier.
The four-year Warmer Kiwi Homes programme announced in Budget 2018 this month aims to make the homes of lower-income New Zealand homeowners warmer and drier by providing grants to insulate and heat homes from July 1.
Awarua Synergy chief executive Sumaria Beaton said low-income families, young children and the elderly were especially vulnerable to the impacts of living in cold, damp housing.
“The new programme is definitely what’s needed and is building on good work already done. People are valuing insulation more and more as the first, crucial step, in keeping homes warm,” she said.
To qualify, homeowners need to hold a Community Services Card or Super Gold Combo Card, be referred under the Healthy Homes Initiative, or own a property in a defined decile 9 or 10 area. Homes must have been built prior to 2008.
Beaton said Warmer Kiwi Homes would provide significant and widespread benefits to Southlanders who qualified – and Awarua Synergy could advise people on a range of subsidies and finance options to suit everyone’s needs.
“The continuity of warmer homes subsidies is really important as there’s still a lot of Southland homes that need to be properly insulated and heated.”
She estimated only about 25 per cent of Southland homes were properly insulated.
The first year of the programme will focus on insulation with those qualifying
able to access grants covering two-thirds of the cost of installing ceiling and underfloor insulation. Grants to install heating appliances will be available from July 2019.
Research has shown well insulated houses are drier and warmer, use significantly less energy and create much healthier environments meaning fewer doctors’ visits.
Awarua Synergy are Southland experts in helping families, businesses and farms find energy efficiency solutions, and offer free home energy assessments.
The Invercargill-based company has insulated more than 6000 Southland homes since 2004.
The Government initiative is complemented by local insulation and home heating grants and low interest loan schemes, which can further reduce costs for Southland residents.
Warmer Kiwi Homes will be delivered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which is working through details of the new grants programme.
Insulation of rental properties is being addressed separately. From July 1 2019, it will be compulsory for all rental properties to meet the new minimum insulation requirements.
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