Services and checks

Energy Advice Service The Energy Advice Service provides the following services and checks:

Free telephone and email information and advice

Our advisers can help with any questions about  energy at home. Advisers recognise that many callers cannot afford to spend a lot of money on heating and/or insulation, or rent their homes. We are experienced at tailoring advice to these situations. There is no cost to this freephone or email service, and there is no limit to the length of call or number of calls per caller.


The service is available in Canterbury north of the Rakaia. Toll-free Energy Advice Services are also operating in the greater Wellington and Auckland areas


Find out about how and when you can call the Energy Advice Service free phone service. Or email the Energy Advice Service.


Some topics the advisers can help with:

  • identifying causes of high energy costs and ways to reduce them
  • prioritising what to do to make a house warmer and more energy efficient
  • making suitable choices about heating appliances 
  • minimising dampness and condensation
  • accessing financial assistance for heating and insulation.

Energy Advisers can also help you to identify:

  • the cheapest electricity company for you
  • the best electricity plan for your needs

You can also browse our Energy Information.


Home Energy Check

Houses are complex systems and sometimes just upgrading your insulation and heating will not be enough to maximise the comfort of your home or reduce wasteful energy consumption. A Home Energy Check (HEC) offers the peace of mind all options have been identified to make your home warmer, drier and more energy efficient. Our service is impartial and we do not sell products.


A HEC is a comprehensive assessment of the energy efficiency of your whole house. It is tailored specifically to your own home and your specific concerns. During the check our assessor will discuss any areas of concern and make recommendations to improve the performance of the home.


Following the check you will receive a report outlining the current energy performance of the home and recommending a range of prioritised actions which you can take that will improve the energy efficiency and/or comfort of your home. We can also advise if government funding is available for some of these recommendations.

Once you receive your report you will have the opportunity to discuss the recommendations of the report with the assessor who checked your home.


Those with a health referral and a Community Services Card as well as those who are over the age of 65 and are referred to us by Age Concern, may qualify for a free Home Energy Check. A waiting list may apply in the busy winter period. For others please enquire about current fees. 


For more information about the Home Energy Check, or to book an assessment; call the Energy Advice Service free phone service, or send an email.


Hot Water Check

If you have high electricity costs in the warmer months of the year, hot water heating may be the cause! Once you stop using electricity to heat the rooms in your house, hot water heating can account for nearly 50% of your electricity costs, especially in the summer. Community Energy Action offers an affordable, independent check of your whole hot water system. This includes hot water use behaviour and your current electricity plan. Our recommendations are targeted to reduce hot water heating costs.


This service is currently heavily subsidised by our sponsors and is available in the warmer months of the year only. The cost of delivering a Hot Water Check is approximately $60. As of October 2011 fees for Hot Water Checks are:




Home Owner with a Community Services Card


Home Owner - General Income



Fees are subject to change without notice, and the number of subsidised Hot Water Checks are limited. To book a hot water check; call the Energy Advice Service free phone service, or email us.


Home Heating Check

Upgrading your home heating system can be an expensive process, and it is vital to make a well-informed choice to make sure that the system you choose meets your needs effectively and is affordable to run.


Today home owners have multiple choices around heating options, fuels and appliances. Different kinds of home heating systems heat in different ways.  And different heaters are also better suited to some situations than others. People's heating preferences need to be considered, and environmental consequences also must be factored in as many Canterbury residents living in Clean Air Zones now have clean air rules to abide by.


Community Energy Action's Home Heating Check is an independent and comprehensive assessment of the current heaters in your home and your future heating requirements. It assesses:


  • Specific heat calculations for different areas or rooms
  • Existing heating systems - are they adequate and appropriate?
  • Current electricity company and plan - are you buying electricity from the cheapest retailer?
  • Old log burner/open fireplaces - options for replacing or upgrading
  • Heat pumps - what type, what size and where should it be installed
  • The best heater(s) for other spaces in the house, including hallways, bathrooms and a child's bedroom
  • Current insulation levels

We discuss and advise on all heating options for your home. This includes wood burners, heat pumps, diesel heaters, pellet fires and flued gas heaters. This advice includes an overview of the installation costs, fuel running costs and efficiency of all these different types of heaters.


During the check our assessor will discuss any areas of concern and make recommendations to improve the performance of your Heating Systems. Following the check our assessor will leave a report that will outline the current heating system and a list of recommendations that will improve it. The check may take up to one and a half hours.

This service is currently heavily subsidised by our sponsors. The cost of delivering a Home Heating Check is approximately $90. As of November 2011 fees for a Home Heating Check are:




Home Owner with a Community Services Card


Home Owner- General Income



Fees are subject to change without notice, and the number of subsidised heating checks is limited.

To book a home heating check; call the Energy Advice Service free phone, or email us.


HomestarTM Homecoach assessment


 HomestarTM is  a residential rating tool for New Zealand's homes. Overseas research shows homes with performance ratings sell and rent faster, for higher prices than non-rated homes. The UK, Europe and North America have developed similar rating tools, such as LEED for Homes in the USA and Canada and the Code for Sustainable Homes in the UK.


Homestar was developed by a Joint Venture partnership between BRANZ and the New Zealand Green Building Council with input from industry professionals across the entire building and construction sector including government. HomestarTMhelps you improve the energy efficiency performance of your home. This assessment also looks at how you can use less water, reduce waste and even what you plant in your garden.


Our Energy Advisers have been trained by HomestarTMto assist you through the HomestarTMonline assessment tool. They offer a personalised service, at your home, assisting you with completion of the online tool order to provide your HomecoachTMAssessment. They can also talk you through the recommendations and assist you in choosing the right solutions for your home and help homeowners understand how they can make improvements to their home with the goal of moving up to a higher ‘Star Band'.


The fee for an in-house HomecoachTM Assessment is $100. This fee will be waived when the following two conditions are met:


  1. the assessment identifies that your house requires more than 80 square meters of underfloor and/or ceiling insulation.
  2. you accept a quote from Community Energy Action to install the ceiling and/or underfloor insulation for the property that has undergone the HomestarTMHomecoach assessment.

For more information or to book a HomestarTM Homecoach assessment; call the Energy Advice Service free-phone service, or send an email.


What's the difference between a Home Energy Check and a HomestarTM Homecoach assessment?


HomestarTMHomecoach assessment Home Energy Check 
Does not assess energy use behaviour by residents. The HomeCoach assessment focuses on the energy efficiency of the building only.Assesses and advises on energy use behavior, which can have a significant impact on the running cost and comfort of a home.
Does not assess existing energy plan and if it is suitable for your current needsAssesses existing energy plan and advises if it is suitable for your current needs
Does not assess if you are purchasing electricity from the cheapest electricity retailerAssess if you are purchasing electricity from the cheapest electricity retailer, and recommends switching if necessary.
Produces a rating against an independent standard which can be used to compare your home with others that have been assessed using the same tool.Does not rate your home against an independent standard. Instead we produce a report designed to increase the warmth, comfort and efficiency of the house according to the needs and priorities of the home owner.
Rating tool includes water, waste and what you have planted in your garden

 Focuses on home energy efficiency only.


Draught Testing

Community Energy Action provides an innovative, unique service that measures the air-tightness of a home. If the number of times the air changes per hour in your house is very high due to uncontrolled draughts your home will be less energy efficient. Draughts can be very uncomfortable to live with, especially in the winter. They also reduce the effectiveness of the insulation in your house and may allow potentially damaging moisture to penetrate walls.


Community Energy Action can test for draughts in your home using a ‘blower door'. Sources of draughts include floors, wardrobes, pipe inlets, light switches, internal door frames, electricity cables, plus door and window surrounds. These are not always easily identifiable under normal air pressure conditions but can be located through the pressure difference created by the blower door.


Reduce your heating costs by identifying the source and volume of draughts, plus proper draught stopping and air sealing techniques. This will also make your home more comfortable.


The testing process takes approximately 2 hours. We will need access to all of the rooms of your house, plus a power connection. We prefer you to be present whilst we undertake the testing.


Once testing is complete you will receive a report within five working days which:


  • Documents the location of the major sources of draughts in your house
  • Recommends a priority list for draught stopping.

Cost: $180 including GST. This service is not subsidised. To book a session, call the the Energy Advice Service free phone service, or email us.


Educational talks for community organisations

The Energy Advice Service can also provide educational talks for community groups.Talks are available in three different formats and can be targeted to the audience. These include power point presentations, an informal advice clinic, and a home energy efficiency game show quiz.


The objective for this service is to provide easily accessible information and answer questions about home energy efficiency, primarily for those on low incomes. In winter demand for this service can get very high and we may have to prioritise talks for low-incomes groups. It is advised to book well in advance.


The talks are supported by an extensive range of information sheets. To book a talk, call the the Energy Advice Service free phone service, or email us.

Community Energy Action is supported by:


EECA Healthy Homes

CDHB logo

southern trust Lotteries 2013 Todd foundation Arc Innovations