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Survey shows home insulation improves health

24 October 2006

Survey shows home insulation improves health

Survey results from 500 households which have been fully insulated under the Contact Energy Healthy Homes programme show occupants are experiencing big benefits to their health and comfort.

Contact Energy helps support 10 community retrofit programmes across the country as part of its Healthy Homes campaign. These programmes have insulated more than 2,500 homes in the following areas: Dunedin, Christchurch, South Canterbury, Nelson, Kapiti / Horowhenua, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington / Hutt Valley, Taranaki, Gisborne, the Ngati Kahungunu rohe from Wairoa to the Wairarapa.

Contact has also recently confirmed an extension of the project into South Auckland. The Healthy Homes retrofit programme is managed and administered by EnergySmart.

A further 420 homes are being insulated and fitted with modern, energy efficient heating through Contact’s sponsorship of world-leading research into links between heating choices, the home environment and respiratory illness by the University of Otago’s Housing and Health Research Group.

Earlier this year survey forms were sent to 850 fully insulated homes, and the 500 returned forms showed that:

- 91 per cent felt their homes were warmer
- 71 per cent said their homes were drier
- 86 per cent reported improvements in comfort
- 86 per cent reported improvements in quality of life
- 39 per cent reported health benefits
- 58 per cent reported power bill savings

Contact Chief Executive, David Baldwin, said the results reinforced the importance of Contact’s ongoing investment in home insulation and energy efficiency.

“Contact’s Healthy Homes programme won the 2006 EECA EnergyWise Awards because of the difference it was making to people’s lives, but the strength of these results has surprised even us,” he said.

“For 39 per cent of people to say their health had improved simply through living in a properly insulated home shows what a difference the Healthy Homes programme is making, and how home insulation is a significant public health issue.”

Mr Baldwin said he was heartened by the finding that 58 per cent of people reported lower power bills after having their homes retrofitted, and that 86 per cent of people reported an improved quality of life.

“With so many New Zealand homes cold, damp and energy inefficient, there are huge gains to be made through simple energy efficient steps around the home.

“Contact’s Healthy Homes website – www.contactenergy.co.nz – helps people calculate what steps they can take in their own house, the likely cost and the projected benefits,” he said.

“With warmer weather now upon us, now is the time to ensure that peoples’ homes are ready for next year’s winter.”

Mr Baldwin said Contact was continuing to survey retrofitted households and would continue to compile and share the data with interested parties.

Brief comments from occupants of newly insulated homes

- We have noticed reduced power consumption and a huge difference in living conditions and health.

- The insulation has made a massive improvement in the comfort of our home and health of our children.

- The insulation helped keep the home warm even during harsh frosts.

- We have saved $400 in energy costs between March and August

- We notice less coughing due to asthma for our children, and not as many doctors visits.

- The asthma rate dropped off markedly in two children, and there has been no croup where there was in the past.

- No sickness this year. Also much less use of inhaler.

ENDS

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