Roll on winter: insulation 'huge boost'

Installing a polyester blanket as part of the Waitati Energy Project Retrofit Roll-out is Energy...
Installing a polyester blanket as part of the Waitati Energy Project Retrofit Roll-out is Energy Smart's Rodney Timney. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Ross family have huddled around their fire to keep warm for the past four years, but hope this winter will be different, after being accepted for the Waitati Energy Project Retrofit Roll-out.

They are among 170 low-income homes in Dunedin's northern suburbs and towns to receive advice and an 80% subsidy to insulate their homes through the $485,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority-funded contract.

The Ross family live in a 100-year-old railway cottage in Waitati that is mid-way through a major renovation, with a deadline of the end of May, when their second baby is due.

Jason Ross said the three-bedroom house was in desperate need of insulation as despite putting in a good heating system, it barely kept one room warm.

He and his partner Kate Fitzharris could not afford to do all the work at once, so seeing the insulators arrive yesterday and begin insulating the ceiling of the home was a huge boost just before winter, he said.

"It's a really cold house. We live around the fire so we are pretty hopeful this will mean the heat will spread a lot more and we can feed the fire a lot less."

Roll-out spokesman Scott Willis said after holding meetings and attending community group gatherings in the past six weeks to spread the word about the project they had 173 homeowners registered.

Their homes would be scoped for their suitability and assessed to ensure they met the criteria, which included being eligible for a Community Services Card.

"We want to make houses here warmer, healthier and more energy efficient, as well as providing some economic security."

The project was being co-ordinated by the Otago Regional Council's Clean Heat, Clean Air programme manager Robyn McKeown.

She said Waitati, like many other areas in Dunedin, was in serious need of insulation assistance and the community had been proactive in pushing for funding in their area.

"There has been an amazing uptake. They've done so much work to identify homes."

The project was among the $4 million being spent on retrofits in Otago this financial year, $2 million of which was funded by the authority. Other funding came from a range of organisations such as Aurora, Community Trust of Otago and city and district councils, she said.

Authority manager residential, Robert Linterman, of Wellington, said 43% of heat was lost through ceilings, so that was a lot of people "heating the planet".



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