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HBRC Heatsmart Continues to Deliver

HBRC Heatsmart Continues to Deliver

Changes in Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Heatsmart programme were agreed to by the Regional Council today.

New loans will be available from 1 July 2013, starting at $1000, up to a maximum of $4500. The cost of insulation for the average house in the scheme has been $3500, and the average cost of replacing fires is approximately $4500.

Following the withdrawal of government funding for clean heat, HBRC has decided to increase the amount that can be borrowed for insulation and clean heat so that more people can afford to insulate their homes and replace old fires that don’t comply with air quality standards.

HBRC’s Heatsmart programme manager, Mark Heaney, reported that the programme is ahead of schedule to meet the numbers required to achieve National Environment Standard for Air Quality targets set by the Government.  The programme aims to reduce smoke levels from domestic wood burners which are responsible for 87% of the PM10 pollutants in the air. This year to date there have been 5 exceedances of the NES in Hastings, compared to 7 by this time last year.

Hawke’s Bay has had the highest uptake for clean air (heating) grants through MfE and the second highest uptake nationally of EECA funding for insulation.  More than 11,000 homes in Hawkes Bay have improved insulation, clean heat or both at a total value of more than $11.3M. The financial contribution through EECA has been $3.5M to date, $1.6M through MfE and $6M through the HBRC loan and grants scheme.

The Government’s 2013 Budget announced a new insulation programme called Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes which targets those with low income/high health needs in our community. To top up the 60% funding from EECA, third-party funding will be sought from trusts, iwi or community groups. These service providers will be tasked with delivering 16,000 fully-funded low-income homes a year nationally. Approximately 480 homes in Hawke’s Bay will be able to access the scheme managed by EECA and the others will be able to access the HBRC loan scheme.

To meet an expected increase in both the demand for insulation loans and the average loan costs, the Council has agreed to set a minimum loan value of $1000 and a maximum of $4500. The current administration fee will become a ‘pre- payment’ requirement rather than part of the loan.

As the $100,000 income threshold for clean heat will no longer be required from July 2013, Council has agreed to removing this requirement from its clean heat grant and loan applications.

HBRC is keen to continue accessing EECA’s auditing providers for quality assurance, and designation of accepted products. HBRC will continue to recommend EECA approved products, promote energy star ratings and limit new providers where applicable to those familiar with EECA audit standards and processes. Where appropriate, HBRC will continue to recommend insulation through EECA providers.

ENDS

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