A new joint Clean Heat project underway this month, will not only make Timaru homes warmer and healthier, but will help improve air quality in winter.
Supported by the Timaru District Council, Environment Canterbury and Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority have partnered to offer homeowners, tenants and landlords substantial subsidies when they convert their current home heating to cleaner, more efficient appliances.
Timaru Mayor Janie Annear says “We know there is an air quality problem in winter here in Timaru and we all have to take steps to improve the health of our residents. The Timaru District Council is right behind this new project which offers generous subsidies accessing funds from different agencies to help people change the way they heat their homes. We believe it is a real win/win situation for both the community and for quality of the air in our town.”
People in the urban area of Timaru with insulated homes with a community services card may be eligible for an EECA subsidy of $1200 when they upgrade a solid fuel burner installed before 2000 or switch from an open fire to a cleaner, more efficient appliance. A further grant of up to $800 is available if they decommission their existing burner so it can no longer be used. Then an extra grant of $500 is available for those who have decommissioned their burner and who install a non-polluting appliance such as a heat pump or an externally flued gas heater.
While local people are able to retain their older heaters for emergency use, if they elect to decommission them, they receive extra grants. People in the Timaru urban area who do not hold a community services card and can receive up to $1500.
Environment Canterbury Commissioner David Bedford says “Open fires and older woodburners have been shown to be the cause of much of the winter air pollution in Timaru. The impact of this pollution on people’s health is well-documented, especially around respiratory problems. Converting to heating that does not emit harmful particulates into the air will have a long-term impact on Timaru air quality and community’s health.”
AirCon South Canterbury, the locally based project delivery agents in Timaru, are offering free home heating assessments to identify the most appropriate options for each household and will confirm details of the funding offers available. Aircon can be contacted on 0800 161 162 or www.airconsouthcanterbury.co.nz
Mrs Annear says “We think this is a great opportunity to improve Timaru’s air quality and to give residents warm, healthy and comfortable homes. However, the clean air grants and the local Environment Canterbury grants are limited in number, so people are urged to look at this offer while it is still available and have an efficient heater installed in their homes in time for the coming winter.
“It is great to be able to offer a local solution to a local problem.”