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Business aims to boost energy-efficient housining

Media Release: Embargoed until Monday 2 October 2006

New Meridian Energy business aims to boost energy-efficient housing

Household energy efficiency is the focus of a new business launched by state-owned power generator and retailer Meridian Energy today.

The business is aimed at providing comprehensive advice for building energy efficient homes. It will focus on both passive measures such as designing to maximise solar gain, and on systems such as heat pumps or solar water heating.

The head of the new business, Hamish Sisson, says energy efficiency is becoming a major consideration for householders.

“Traditionally New Zealand homes have neglected energy efficiency, with the result that much of the country’s housing is well below par in terms of, for example, warmth in winter.

“There is now a growing awareness of the value in a dwelling of performance in terms of energy efficiency, but there is no ‘one-stop shop’ which can provide information on planning and on the best equipment to use to achieve the best performance.”

The new business aims to provide this information initially to people building new homes, as the best time to factor in energy efficiency is at the building stage.

But it hopes to extend at a later stage to those retrofitting existing homes.

“The new-build stage is the best time to create an energy-efficient home, because it’s always a lot more expensive to fit things like insulation or solar water heating after it’s built.”

Mr Sisson says an important side-benefit of an energy-efficient home is that it is also a healthy home.

“As a country we spend tens of millions of dollars of our health budget on dealing with illnesses caused solely by the fact that people are living in cold, uninsulated, draughty and damp houses. It has been estimated that for every dollar gain in energy efficiency, there is a 70c gain in terms of benefit to health.”

Meridian Chief Executive Keith Turner says the venture is a good fit for Meridian, as making better use of electricity is important in meeting the country’s future power needs.

“Energy efficiency has an important role to play in meeting the increasing demand for electricity, and this new business sits very comfortably alongside our large renewable generation development portfolio.”

Dr Turner says the new business will also complement Meridian’s sponsorship of Christchurch group Community Energy Action – which provides equipment and advice to householders who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

ENDS

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