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Insulation and clean heat boost from EECA

February 22, 2008


Insulation and clean heat boost from EECA and Energywise for Canterbury - media release

Clean heat and insulation household conversions in Canterbury get big boost from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Canterbury householders looking for a painless way to install energy-saving insulation and upgrade their heating to an energy efficient, clean heat appliance received some good news today.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has announced a $23 million nationwide package over four years. It is targeted at householders living in homes dated pre-1978, earning less than $100,000 (one or two earners). Environment Canterbury has been chosen as a key partner to help roll the new scheme out in Canterbury.

“It is great to see EECA and central Government come on board with this ENERGYWISE™ funding programme,” said ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke. “Given that the National Environmental Standards require all urban areas in New Zealand to have no more than one high pollution day by 2013, it is essential that householders in towns like Timaru, Ashburton, Rangiora and Kaiapoi have some help to upgrade their heating and insulation.”

It is estimated that every dollar spent on insulating an old, cold house, provides $2 worth of energy and health benefits in terms of a drier, healthier home that is easier and cheaper to heat, with less doctors’ visits for residents.

ECan has worked with EECA for several years to deliver the established Clean Heat programme mainly in the Christchurch area. Already over 11,000 clean heating devices and improved insulation have been installed by ECan since April 2003. Now, ECan is aligning its programme to include subsidised loans and grants under the government’s ENERGYWISE™ funding programme.

Subject to consultation through the 2008/09 Annual Plan, ECan proposes to extend the programme to Timaru, Ashburton, Kaiapoi and Rangiora. As a regional council, ECan has allowed homeowners to repay the capital cost of the loan through their rates; a mechanism that is innovative, simple and reduces administration time and cost. ECan is also offering subsidies to landlords and homeowners to fund the clean heating and energy efficiency products and installation. ECan is not charging customers for administration and assessment costs. Furthermore, ECan has formed partnerships with a number of local suppliers to be able to offer customers energy efficiency and heating products at competitive prices.

Sir Kerry Burke said Canterbury ratepayers would be hearing more about the ENERGYWISE™ funding programme and the proposal to raise a targeted rate in Timaru, Ashburton, Rangiora and Kaiapoi in this year’s annual planning community consultation. “We need to hear what people’s preferences are in terms of making the switch to clean heat and improved insulation in centres which have winter air pollution issues. Some people may prefer the option of a straight subsidy funded through a targeted rate, others may like the interest-free loan option, which has received strong support in Christchurch since it was introduced.

“The good news is that the ENERGYWISE™ funding programme offers us another string to our bow in options available to Canterbury ratepayers for energy efficiency improvements and clean heating replacements in towns which have poor winter air quality.”

The ENERGYWISE™ assistance means that Canterbury homeowners meeting the criteria will be able to pay off the cost of insulation and clean heating over time, with EECA paying up to $1,250 interest costs to the regional council. It is estimated that up to 2000 households a year or more could benefit from the Canterbury portion of the funding.

In 2007/08 EECA provided almost $500,000 to Environment Canterbury towards clean heat installation costs in Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Rangiora and Kaiapoi. This helped pay half the cost of heating appliances in households that had been through the EECA insulation programme. That programme is also available to apply for in 2008/09.


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