BUILDING

Business welcomes policy aim to upgrade 900,000 homes

Tuesday 26 May 2009, 7:45PM
By New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development
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The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development is welcoming reports that the Government intends offering up to 900,000 owners of pre-2000 homes $1500 grants to insulate their homes.

The Business Council says a TV3 News report of $1 billion being made available over the next 10 years to insulate homes is a great step forward, along with reports that the Government is also looking for other ways to help people upgrade, including repayments through rates, and loans from power companies and banks.

The Business Council in November released the results of a $300,000 two-year research project looking at how to improve the performance of a million of the nation’s 1.6 million homes, a million of which are not fully insulated and 45% are mouldy. Nearly a quarter - 433,000 - could be making their occupants sick each year.

Additional ShapeNZ research commissioned by the Business Council in February this year found 71% of homeowners, and 61% of rental property owners, said their properties could be warmer and more comfortable. But 59% said they couldn’t afford to improve them.

Given the right funding packages, like the ability to pay back upgrade costs through rates surcharges, energy savings on power bills and new bank loan packages, 670,000 homeowners said they’d improve the performance of their homes in the next 10 years.

Some, 210,000 owners would take up private loans and public grants to upgrade in the next 12 months.
The Business Council and public also back introducing a single new performance rating for homes – which will provide a value reward for those making the investment. Overseas homes with performance ratings sell and rent faster for and for more than non-rated homes.

The Business Council is now working with 30 companies and other organisations to lead the development of a new home performance rating.

The Business Council’s home performance research project leader, Heather Stonyer, says the expected policy announcement in Thursday’s Budget is great news.

“We have an opportunity to achieve a step change in home performance. We now spend $475 million a year heating the streets – the energy that’s wasted when a home is inadequately insulated. By making homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient, using a combination of insulation and double glazing , the country can also avoid sending 50 people a day to hospital with respiratory illnesses (saving $54 million a year) .

“We can also cut sick days off work by 180,000 a year (lifting production by $17 million a year).

“We’re looking forward to seeing the fine detail in the Budget. We hope, in concert with the Government, business and other concerned organisations, we can get private funding and performance rating systems in behind the grants policy,” Heather Stonyer says.

The Business Council’s major report on home performance and how to improve it is online at http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/housing/content.asp?id=446.

The latest research on funding packages which will result in home improvement on a large scale is at http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/story.asp?StoryID=991