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Audit aims to green hundreds of city homes

1 September 2006

Energy audit aims to green hundreds of city homes

Auckland City is helping to fund a programme, which will see hundreds of the city's homes undergo an energy audit in a bid to improve energy efficiency.

The council is joining forces with the EcoMatters Environment Trust and has contributed $12,500 to the EcoWise Energy Efficiency Advice Programme.

Under the programme, an energy advisor will visit 400 Auckland city homes and conduct a comprehensive energy audit. The advisor will then prepare an energy efficiency plan for homeowners that will help them save energy, reduce costs, and create drier, healthier homes.

The chairperson of the Environment, Heritage and Urban Form Committee, Councillor Christine Caughey, says the programme benefits both participants and the environment.

"Those involved will benefit by seeing their annual power bills reduce significantly and this will translate into a wider benefit through reduced demand on the national grid.

"This kind of approach also helps to address the problem of climate change by lessening the need for further energy generation, especially power plants that rely on fossil fuels."

Many aspects of the household are considered during the audit, from the under floor insulation through to the amount of hot water used in the shower. Advice is given on the way energy is used within the household, and which appliances are the most efficient.

Ms Caughey says the average Auckland household uses 9000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year costing around $1500.

She says most households can simply and easily reduce power bills by making small changes to the way they operate.

These include: * testing the tightness of door seals on fridges and feezers * cleaning heating and cooling filters once a month * buying high star rated appliances * replacing light bulbs with high efficiency bulbs.

EcoMatters energy efficiency advisor, Ben Bell, says replacing four of the most-used light bulbs with high efficiency bulbs can save the average household around $75.00 per year.

"The audit helps residents to understand their energy use and plan for savings. This benefits them, but more importantly, it helps protect our environment so that future generations can enjoy the unique Kiwi lifestyle."

The EcoWise Energy Efficiency Advice Programme complements existing council initiatives, including the Snug Homes project and the Communities for Climate Protection framework.

Ms Caughey says, "This initiative also fits in with the development of our sustainability strategy, the Mayoral Taskforce for Sustainable Development and our environmental policy, which are about using resources wisely so that they continue to be available for our children and grandchildren."

The energy audit takes about one hour, costs $39.00 and includes four free Philips high quality compact fluorescent light bulbs. At this stage, the audit programme is limited to 400 homes only.

To book an audit or to find out more, call the EcoWise energy efficiency adviser on 826 4276 or email ben@ecomatters.org.nz


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