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NZ's biggest landlord acts with energy

NZ's biggest landlord acts with energy

New Zealand's biggest landlord made a commitment to improving the comfort of homes, and reducing the power bills of its tenants, by signing a relationship protocol with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) today.

EECA Chief Executive Heather Staley and Housing New Zealand Corporation Chief Executive Michael Lennon said the protocol formalises a commitment to work together to improve the energy efficiency of HNZC homes and homes within the communities HNZC works.

Ms Staley said about 600,000 homes nationwide are cold and damp because they are poorly insulated or not insulated at all. "Studies have shown that poorly insulated homes are causing increased incidences of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis and, in some cases, causing deaths."

"Better insulated homes are a win-win. It's better for the occupants as the homes are healthier and cost less to run and it's better for the environment as there is less demand for power to heat the homes in winter. Some councils have already taken steps to upgrade their properties and I hope more landlords will follow this and HNZC's example," Ms Staley said.

Mr Lennon said social responsibility and environmental responsibility go hand in hand. "An energy efficient home is warmer and drier making it more comfortable for the tenants, and the reduced demand for power makes it easier on the tenant's budget and on the environment. This is about us extending our role as a landlord to incorporate the triple bottom line."

"Last year we added energy efficient features to about 4,000 properties as part of our retrofitting programme, Healthy Housing, modernisation and capital works," Mr Lennon said.

"In addition, new HNZC homes are being built with regard to energy efficiency, including taking advantage of the sun."

"We have an education programme in place with tenants, Low Deposit Rural Loan applicants and the Rural Housing Programme where we provide information about how to make homes more energy efficient," Mr Lennon said.

HNZC and EECA are also supporting a Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Otago University) study into the health effects of insulating homes.

Ms Staley said EECA is working to change the way New Zealanders think about and use energy by promoting and supporting the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Information on EECA and EnergyWise Homes is available on www.eeca.govt.nz

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