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Insulated Homes Lead To Improved Health

MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION AUTHORITY

Friday 10 October 2003

Insulated homes lead to improved health

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has welcomed the preliminary results of a study linking insulated homes to improved health. The results were formally released at a hui in Porirua this afternoon.

EECA Chief Executive Heather Staley says she is delighted that the trends outlined in the preliminary results reinforce what insulation installers have known for sometime. "The study is groundbreaking in that this will be the first time we are able to quantify the impact of insulation on health with some firm data," Ms Staley said.

EECA was a major funder of Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences study into the health effects of insulating homes. EECA contributed one million dollars from EnergyWise Home Grants to the study over two years - insulating first the test houses and then the houses of the control group. A total of 1,400 households (almost 5,000 people) in seven regions participated in the project.

The preliminary results show that the insulated houses were warmer and drier than uninsulated homes. The insulated homes had an increase in temperature and a significant decrease in humidity, or dampness. The occupants of the insulated homes report feeling healthier - leading to fewer GP visits, days off work or school and hospital admissions for respiratory problems.

Ms Staley is hoping the results of the study will lead to more funding opportunities for the insulation projects EECA has been supporting for the past eight years.

"The study sends a strong message to New Zealanders about the benefits of insulation and I hope that people will also think carefully about their choice of heating. Damp air takes longer to heat, yet many New Zealanders use unflued gas heaters which contribute to dampness in the home and are more expensive to run than people think," Ms Staley said.

Ms Staley says EECA is implementing the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy through improving energy choices. For information on how to save energy at home, at work and on the road visit www.energywise.org.nz

ENDS

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