Insulation aid for some in older homes

More than 1000 low-income families in the Gore area will be cosier in winter, thanks to a healthy homes initiative recently adopted by the Gore District Council (GDC).

Councillors have given the nod to a Southland-wide move involving councils, the Government and power companies to insulate older homes owned by people who qualify for a community services card.

GDC mayor Tracy Hicks said the initiative would be ‘‘great'' for Gore people.

‘‘We have a high number of older homes - that is, homes built before 1978 when insulation became mandatory - which will qualify for the scheme,'' he said.

The plan was only outlined to the council late last week, so details of the scheme are still being worked through by council officers.

Mr Hicks said it would mean a total of 1250 homes being retrofitted with ceiling and underfloor insulation, hot-water cylinder wraps, and pipe lagging over the next five years.

The cost per home would be about $3000.

‘‘The Gore scheme is designed to be self-supporting, so there will be no charge on ratepayers, apart from minimal set-up costs,'' he said.

The council would raise the loan, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) would pay the interest, and participating home owners would repay the capital over a number of years using savings made from their heating bills because of living in warmer, drier, less draughty homes.

In its proposal to the GDC, the EECA noted that warmer, drier homes meant fewer days off school and work and reduced doctors' bills and hospital admissions.

The scheme will be included in the draft annual plan which goes to next month's council meeting for ratification.

It will then go out for month-long community discussion and participation and the completed annual plan will be signed off in June.

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