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Canadian energy efficiency building expert on NZ

New Zealand has its Challenges Ahead says Canadian Energy Efficient Building Expert

Media Release
Monday 24 September, 2007

New Zealand homes need improved levels of insulation and ventilation, according to Canadian energy efficiency building expert Bill Crist.

Mr Crist spoke with representatives from the building related industry this morning about Canada’s “painful learning curve” in legislating and implementing energy efficient homes and how this knowledge can benefit and assist New Zealand’s building practices.

The New Zealand Government is currently reviewing its building code. In May this year the Minister of Building and Construction Clayton Cosgrove announced a group of proposals around energy efficiency as part of the Government’s programme to reduce the amount of energy required to heat new homes, to heat water in new and existing homes and to light, heat, ventilate and air condition commercial buildings. He called for best thinking from the sector to move it forward.

Canada is 20 years ahead of New Zealand in terms of building energy efficient homes.
Mr Crist has been active in energy efficient house design and construction for more than 20 years, having built the first R-2000 home in Calgary. R-2000 homes are the most energy efficient and environmentally responsible new homes on the market - every R-2000 home is certified by the Canadian Government.

After visiting a number of Auckland homes over the past week, Mr Crist observed that in general houses in this country have a very low level of insulation and poor ventilation.

New Zealand’s heating systems are generally focused on the main living rooms, shutting off other rooms to often drop to freezing temperatures. Not circulating air and heat within homes leads to condensation, bacteria and mould, ultimately affecting people’s health, Mr Crist says.

Mr Crist was surprised at how many homes rely on “unvented combustible appliances” i.e. gas heaters which cause excess moisture and toxic fumes in an enclosed space, again affecting New Zealanders’ health.

“With the current and ongoing focus on sustainable fuels and energy efficiency, New Zealand has many opportunities to learn from other countries like Canada to improve its building standards. Canada had a painful learning curve through the 70’s and 80’s, with the cost of heating being the major incentive to improve ventilation systems in house design and construction.”

As well as operating his own construction company, Bill is an R-2000 instructor, inspector and plan evaluator. He has instructed for the CMHC Builders’ Workshop Series and has been an accredited HRAI (Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada) Instructor since 1983.

Bill Crist was hosted in New Zealand by HRV, as part of the company’s commitment to raise standards and the awareness and benefits of creating energy efficient homes for New Zealand homeowners.


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