More than 76,000 homes retrofitted in 15 monthsEnergy and Resources
In only 15 months more than 76,000 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 2009 Budget - to retrofit 188,000 homes with insulation and clean heating devices such as high-efficiency heat pumps and efficient gas heaters.
Since the scheme started in July 2009, 76,005 households throughout New Zealand have taken the opportunity to warm up their homes; including 41,275 houses lived in by people on low incomes.
There were 6,742 houses retrofitted in September alone.
"The scheme is a significant government investment in household energy efficiency and also delivers many other benefits," Mr Brownlee said.
"As well as providing energy efficiency gains, insulating homes reduces health risks caused by living in cold, damp conditions. The scheme has also had a positive economic impact during difficult times."
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 said.
"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.
Under the programme, funding is available to help insulate homes, and install clean and efficient heating.
The government has committed to spending $347 million over four years on the programme to improve at least 188,500 homes across New Zealand. It is anticipated about 70,000 recipients of the scheme will be households on a low income (i.e. Community Service Card holders).
Homeowners with houses built before 2000 are eligible for 33 per cent of the cost of installing ceiling and underfloor insulation, to a maximum of $1,300.
Once insulation is up to standard, homeowners can get $500 towards a clean, efficient heating system.
There are higher levels of funding for Community Services Card holders. For more information, visit www.energywise.govt.nz.