ORC chips in to clean up heating

A range of financial packages was announced yesterday to encourage homeowners in Central Otago's high air pollution towns to improve winter air quality.

The ‘‘Clean Heat, Clean Air'' initiative was launched in Alexandra by Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Cairns. The programme offers homeowners a choice of five financial packages to assist them retro-fit clean heating appliances and insulation.

Funding of more than $750,000 has been budgeted for the project, with funds from the ORC, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency, the Central Otago District Council, Aurora, Contact Energy, OtagoNet, the Clutha District Council and Dunedin City Council.

About 75 per cent of that amount will be focused on homeowners in the ORC's ‘‘air zone one'' high airpollution towns - Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and Arrowtown.

The partnership between the agencies would mean many homeowners could apply for financial assistance towards the cost of retro-fitting insulation or to replace their open fire or solid fuel burner with a clean appliance.

‘‘We realise that we can't completely eliminate the air pollution problem, but this will certainly go some way and give it a really good fright,'' Mr Cairns said.

‘‘We've recognised we have to be proactive to tackle this problem.''

The assistance packages are -
- The EnergySmart Warm Homes: EnergySmart will carry out an energy assessment of homes and install, where required, ceiling, underfloor and hot water cylinder insultation for just $300. Applicants must hold a Community Services Card and own an inadequately insulated home built before 1978.

- ORC Clean Heat Clean Air Appliance: ORC and partners will subsidise the cost of supplying and installing approved clean heating appliances. Eligible applicants who hold a community services card will have to contribute a maximum of $300. Non-card holders can apply for up to $2000 towards an approved heating appliance if their existing burner does not meet ORC regional air plan rules. - ORC Heat Clean Air Health: Up to $2000 is available towards supplying and installing an approved clean heating appliance.

Applicants must have a health condition recognised as being directly related to air pollution or own a home with a heating appliance that is the cause of a neighbour's health condition (linked to air quality).

- ORC Clean Heat Clean Air Coal Replacement: ORC and partners will subsidise the supply and installation of approved clean heating appliances, to replace an existing coal heating appliance that is the primary source of heat. Applicants with a community services card will pay no more than $300, while non-card holders can apply for a grant of up to $2000.

- Rented property Clean Heat Clean Air Appliance Loan: An interest-free loan of up to $2000 for rental property owners to replace a heating appliance. Loan to be repaid within two years.

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