In Christchurch, a large part of the 100,000 houses insulated nationwide under the government’s Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart subsidy scheme have been insulated by local charity Community Energy Action. Prime Minister John Key today cut the ribbon to the 100,000th house to have benefited from the scheme.
Since the start of the scheme in 2009, Community Energy Action has insulated 3,873 homes in Canterbury of which 2,883 were the homes of low income households (Community Services Card holders).
“We had thought that many people would put investments such as insulation and heating on hold after the February earthquake, says Bede Martin, Chief Executive of Community Energy Action Charitable Trust. “However, the interest in insulation is as high as ever and we are frantically busy. People realise insulation makes their homes warmer, drier and healthier.”
The trust provides subsidies for insulation and heating to all incomes but is one of few organisations in Christchurch that provides the higher subsidy for Community Services Card holders. Any surpluses go towards even higher subsidies for those who cannot afford to keep warm even with the subsidies.
The trust which saw its premises severely damaged in the February earthquake, expects to relocate to New Brighton in the next couple of weeks. “We feel that we need to be closer to the majority of our main target group, those on low incomes, in the east, although we recognise that there are cold houses and low income households everywhere in the city.”
The trust has been insulating houses since 1994. It also runs a curtains bank (closed until new premises are found) where donated curtains are recycled into the homes of those who cannot afford good curtains to retain heat. A free advice service (0800 388 588) provides home energy advice over the phone and per email.