Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Waitati Energy Project (column)

Green Homes

Our household has just benefited from the Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority's (EECA) subsidised insulation programme (we
received an installed roof-lot of Novatherm insulation, plus draft
tape and some low wattage bulbs). I can enthusiastically agree with
Warm Homes Novatherm winner Rhys Owen: this stuff makes a dramatic
difference! Our house, with the 13-year-old batts in the ceiling now
overlaid with R3.2 Novatherm, is remarkably warmer, taking less to
heat, and holds the heat longer. The retrofit happened while the
weather was still cold and the effect was instantaneous. One of the
key advantages of this type of insulation is the thermal bridging it
provides: the Novatherm was rolled out across the rafters and slows
heat loss through the wood itself, as well as very effectively
insulating the ceiling. For more information on EECA funding, go to:
http://www.energywise.govt.nz/funding-available/index.html or call
0800 749 782.

On the insulation front, the $1 billion green homes fund that the
Green Party secured during the Emissions Trading Scheme negotiations
to insulate NZ's housing stock will help us all as power prices rise.
This package will make a real difference by reducing total household
energy use (and carbon emissions), but it will also improve health.
The fund is set in legislation and a new government can only change it
by repealing legislation.

EECA will manage the new fund and details will be announced before the
election, so keep your eyes and ears open. Meanwhile for those who
want to act now, there are several options. EECA has funding available
for low and medium income home-owners' retrofit, and solar hot water
installation (as above). But for those who are engaged in retrofit
right now, and who don't fit or who don't find the EECA schemes
appropriate, now is the time to consider a bulk insulation purchase
agreement. The Waitati Energy Project has initiated this possibility
for Novatherm insulation, so this is a call for interest. If we can
get ten households to agree to purchase Novatherm insulation in a
managed collective agreement prior to the end of 2008, the WEP will do
its best to negotiate an attractive price via bulk purchase: please
register your interest with me. Each year a house remains poorly
insulated becomes money poured down the drain, compromised health, and
excessive energy use.

Home Energy Rating Scheme

All is GO! (Just when the HERS audits seemed to have died). Need a
reminder? The WEP had an agreement with the Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority (EECA) for 21 Home Energy Rating Scheme audits
to be conducted in and around Waitati. The audits are a national
standard evaluating energy the efficiency of dwellings, modelled via a
standardised system. But the EECA assigned auditor to Waitati threw it
in at a bad moment, and the audits were not completed.

Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Greens
co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons got the HERS audits back on track once
she heard of our situation. Within a week auditors Glenn Murdoch of
Sustainable Design, and Lloyd McGinty of TransitioNZ Group Limited had
been contracted by EECA to complete the audits, thanks to Jeanette's
intervention.

By the time you read this, all audits should be complete. Both Lloyd
and Glenn and their teams are motivated and efficient. Lloyd commented
that "A lot of thought has gone into passive solar design for some
houses while others have had little choice", so I'm looking forward to
hearing their impressions once all 21 are complete. We'll be calling a
meeting of all HERS recipients to receive their certificates and talk
with the auditors to wrap up this aspect of the project at a date yet
to be set in October. Expect to be contacted if your house was on the
list.

To register for Bulk Insulation Purchase (Novatherm), to be involved
in the Waitati Energy Project or to join the WEP list please contact
me by calling 4822249 or emailing: scott.willis@otago.ac.nz

by Scott Willis

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