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Hot demand for Government insulation scheme

Hot demand for Government insulation scheme

Nearly 40,000 Kiwi households have benefited from the Government’s home insulation and energy efficiency programme Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart, Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The Government is investing $347.3 million over four years in the programme – announced in the Budget last year – to retrofit 180,000 homes with insulation and clean heating devices such as high-efficiency heat pumps and efficient gas heaters.

Since the scheme started in July 2009, 37,532 households throughout New Zealand have taken the opportunity to warm up their homes – far exceeding the first year target of 27,500 households.

In addition, an estimated 2000 jobs will be created over the four-year lifetime of the programme, providing a significant boost to regional economies across New Zealand, Mr Brownlee says.

“The scheme is open to all New Zealand households as long as the house was built before 2000,” he says. “From the outset, demand has been exceptionally high, especially from households on lower incomes.”

In December, the Government added $24 million over four years to the scheme to increase the number of low-income households that could benefit from the scheme by at least 8500. To date, 22,365 low-income households have taken part in the programme.

“The scheme is a significant Government investment in household energy efficiency and also delivers many other benefits,” Mr Brownlee says.

“As well as providing energy efficiency gains, insulating homes reduces health risks caused by living in cold, damp conditions. It has also helped boost the retrofit industry.”

The programme is delivered through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of its ENERGYWISE™ programme.

Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart also includes a number of special projects co-funded by organisations across the country.

Community groups, district health boards, iwi groups and local businesses are among the organisations providing additional funding to allow those most in need in their community to take part in the scheme at little or no cost.

“It’s really pleasing to see so many other organisations getting behind the scheme,” Mr Brownlee says. “It’s an obvious reflection of the benefits that flow out to the wider community.

“In the first year, these organisations committed a record $13 million to the scheme, and more is expected over the coming three years.

“In addition, several councils and all of the major banks are making it easier for their customers to access the scheme by offering payment options through rates bills or mortgage top ups.”

The scheme operates under a multi-year appropriation, which means there is flexibility to bring funding forward to meet demand if needed.

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