Students to benefit from insulation initiative extension
In order to improve the insulation in more student flats, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has granted an extension to June 30 2007 of the current insulation programme that it offers through the NZ Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) and Eco Insulation. EECA and other funders are subsidising 55% of the cost of a full house retrofit of insulation and other energy efficiency measures on pre 1978 properties occupied by low-income tenants. The landlord contributes the other 45%.
It was considered that the programme, available since February this year, has not yet reached many of the landlords of student flats. Consequently Student Associations and environmental groups from Victoria University, Otago University and the University of Auckland, along with Sustainability Trust (a Wellington-based community energy efficiency trust) and the NZPIF are keen to improve the situation. They made an urgent collective approach to the Prime Minister, Jeanette Fitzsimons co-leader of the Green Party, and David Parker, Minister of Energy, as well as to representatives of EECA, for support to solve this situation. The extension by EECA is a direct response to this request for assistance.
University groups will work in partnership with the NZPIF and EECA in the following ways to promote the extension of the scheme.
The initiative along with ceiling and underfloor insulation, also covers the provision of other energy efficiency measures including hot water cylinder wraps and pipe lagging, energy efficient light bulbs, low flow showerheads, underfloor polythene, and draught proofing of doors.
Several non-profit energy efficiency organisations in New Zealand have established curtain-banks in their communities. It is proposed that these initiatives are replicated in student cities. Student flats are usually poorly curtained. Providing a service where eligible students could apply for free curtains would provide another significant source of energy savings.
The extension provided by EECA means that these initiatives will get underway by the on-set of Winter 2007. Students should not be living in flats that are below World Health Standards for housing simply because they are poorly insulated. A recent study1 found that “Insulating existing houses led to a significantly warmer, drier indoor environment and resulted in improved self rated health, self reported wheezing, days off school and work, and visits to general practitioners as well as a trend for fewer hospital admissions for respiratory conditions.” Every year, many students are hindered in their studies by asthma and other lingering illnesses such as the common cold and so the group is seeking the support of the government and EECA to address and begin to mitigate this problem. Furthermore, this proposal will complement other government strategies to mitigate climate change by reducing the demand for electricity. This is a very cost-effective solution that will have many co-benefits.
For further information, or to arrange interviews with representatives of the organisations involved, contact
Howden-Chapman et al. (2007) Effect of insulating existing houses on health inequality: cluster randomised study in the community, British Medical Journal, Vol. 334, pp460-464. http://www.bmj.com/