With temperatures dropping all over the country many of us are turning up the heatpumps, lighting the fire, or looking for alternative heat sources to heat our homes. New Zealand homes have a history of being cold with poor insulation, and insufficient and inefficient heat sources. Unfortunately cold homes create all sorts of problems, not the least being health problems associated with dampness and cold air.
Over the last few years the government has introduced methods to make it easier and more cost effective for low-income home owners and renters to insulate and heat their homes. The programme, introduced in 2009, is known as Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart. The intention was to insulate as many homes as possible under the programme, especially in those communities most at need. So far it is estimated that around 230,000 homes have been insulated under the programme.
As a landlord you too may be able to still access the grant (which expires in September of this year). The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) website states that all homeowners (including landlords), living in houses built before 2000, are eligible for a grant of 33% (up to $1,300) towards the cost of installing ceiling and under-floor insulation. This grant may yet be extended.
As property managers we encourage our landlords to provide a healthy home environment for tenants. Warmer, drier homes provide real advantages, besides the obvious health benefits, you will also have happy healthy tenants who are more likely to become long term renters.
Some of the basic steps you can take include providing thermal drapes, blocking drafts under doors and around windows, wrapping hot water cylinders, replacing old carpet with a quality underlay and carpet, and installing a heat pump or other energy efficient heat source in the living area. Many landlords are also investing in heat panels for hallways and bedrooms of cold homes, these take the chill out of the air and can be run by timer.
Please call us if you have any questions regarding your responsibility as a landlord and/or how you can make your property a healthier home. If you are very motivated then take a look at Homestar which is an overall assessment programme run by the Green Building Council.