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Funds offered to warm up damp houses

Media release
232 July 2004

Funds offered to warm up damp houses

People suffering health problems from living in cold, damp houses could be eligible for $2000 worth of energy saving measures under the EcoWise West home retrofit project.

The project, now in its second year, helps households on low incomes and those affected by health problems associated inadequately insulated housing.

The aim is to create warmer, drier, healthier homes by providing householders most at need with basic energy efficiency retrofit, using local labour.

Several organisations, including the Waitemata District Health Board and Waitakere City Council, aim to improve local housing. The retrofits are being carried out by EcoMatters Environment Trust.

Chair of Waitakere City’s Environmental Management Committee Councillor Penny Hulse says the project is a “prime example of delivering multiple outcomes, incorporating all aspects of sustainability.

“The householders will see improvements to their family’s health and cheaper heating bills. The Council will make progress towards its climate change, employment and wellbeing objectives. And in the long term, the District Health Board may see a reduction in health problems caused by cold, damp housing,” says Councillor Hulse.

Waitemata District Health Board’s CEO Dr Dwayne Crombie says this project “fits very well with the aims of our Child Health and Chronic Care projects. Damp, cold homes contribute to hospital admissions, and are especially a factor for anyone who has a respiratory problem."

Funding for the project has been allocated through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s ‘Energy Wise Home Grants Scheme’. . Co-funders of the project include the Waitemata District Health Board, Work and Income New Zealand. The project, which will see 150 homes retrofitted will be managed by EcoMatters Environment Trust.

Underfloor and ceiling insulation, damp-proofing, hot water cylinder wraps and draught stopping will be installed by the EcoMatters team.

EcoMatters Environment Trust has received letters of thanks from grateful householders who were recipients of the retrofit work carried out as part of year one of the project.

One recipient said before the retrofit that the condensation used to drip off the windowsills onto the floor every day.

“Since your excellent work in insulating our home, we have had no condensation. Our house feels warmer, too,” wrote one householder.

Another said: “This year I have not had any sick children this winter – unbelievable. No flu, respiratory problems or doctors and chemists’ bills as formerly…I compliment also the (well mannered and enthusiastic) young men who completed the installation.”

People who would like to apply to have their homes retrofitted should contact the Waitakere City Council call centre on 839 0400 or download a form from the Waitakere City Council website: www.waitakere.govt.nz.

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