Tips for insulating your home

Tips for insulating your home

Insulation is made from a variety of materials, and it usually comes in four types: rolls and batts, loose-fill, rigid foam, and foam-in-place.

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Shivers: Minimum insulation standards a must – The NZ Herald

The Government has invested $360 million in subsidies to insulate the nation’s houses, but those who need warm, dry homes are still missing out.

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Call For Landlords To Insulate Homes – The NZ Herald

The Prime Minister has backed the Herald on Sunday’s Warm Homes campaign with a warning that if incentives aren’t enough to persuade landlords to insulate their cold, damp rental properties, then the Government may force their hand.
John Key grew up in a cold Christchurch state house with no insulation.
His house-proud mother kept the house faultlessly clean. But there was nothing to stop heat evaporating through the walls, ceilings and floors
Now, Key says he will personally ensure that Housing New Zealand insulates all the properties that it can by the end of next year – and he’ll be wielding a carrot or a stick to make sure all private landlords do the same.
The Herald on Sunday has this month been campaigning to get more homes insulated, either by extending government funding schemes or through legislation in problem areas, such as rental accommodation.
Now, Housing Minister Phil Heatley has scheduled a meeting this coming week with Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei to discuss extending the scheme’s funding. And the Prime Minister reveals in today’s paper that the Government will consider incentives or regulations to ensure private landlords insulate rental properties.
“Once our house is in order, we can have a conversation about considering regulations and/or incentives so private rental accommodation that does not have insulation is upgraded,” he says.
Of the 230,000 houses insulated with a Warm Up New Zealand subsidy, just 25,000 have been rentals. That’s only 5 per cent of the country’s rental stock – leaving an estimated 1,000,000 rental properties uninsulated.
The Warm Up scheme has been operating since 2009 and provides a 33 per cent subsidy, or up to $1300, for the cost of retrofitting insulation into houses built before 2000. For Community Services Cardholders, or their landlords, a 60 per cent subsidy is available.
So why aren’t landlords insulating? Property investors’ reactions have been mixed. While almost all agree that insulation is a good thing, some say they need more than a 33 per cent subsidy to make it worth their while. Others retort that the benefits to tenants’ health and the value of properties makes insulating a no-brainer.
Auckland landlord Peter Lewis was surprised how hard it was to do the right thing.
From advertising he had seen, he thought getting his Manurewa rental property insulated would be a straightforward process – just make a couple of calls, and have someone turn up to do the job. “But it’s certainly been a battle.”
He went to the EECA website, entered his information and was told no installers could be recommended. “I sent an email to EECA and two weeks later and got a reply ‘golly gosh you are right. It doesn’t work’.”
He eventually found three companies who would do it in Manurewa. One did not return his phone calls. One would only do underfloor insulation while the other would only offer a 33 per cent subsidy, even though his tenant has a Community Services Card.
When he asked why the 60 per cent subsidy for residents with the card was not used, the installer said they preferred to target homes with the 33 per cent subsidy.
“We think that landlords will use the tenant to get a 60 per cent subsidy, and after the work has been done throw the tenant out and go and live in the house themselves,” the contractor explained. “So we won’t let that happen.”
The outcome? He has insulated one of his Manurewa rental properties, but not the one next door. It’s too expensive – so one of his tenants still lives in a cold home.
Lewis says the Warm Up NZ scheme was a step in the right direction: “But to make life intentionally difficult is not the way to go.”
Auckland Property Investors Association president David Whitburn says all landlords should be able to access that 60 per cent subsidy, if the Government wants all rental properties insulated. He said some were sceptical about price-gouging by suppliers putting up their prices in response to the subsidy.
And in Auckland, he says, houses do not need to be insulated to attract tenants. Demand is running so hot that people looking for a rental, especially in the city fringe suburbs have little choice.
That may be the case for Auckland landlords, but Jude Morgan says it’s not true of other parts of the country. She owns 15 rental properties in Wellington and says there, insulation is a big attraction.
Morgan can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take advantage of the subsidy while it’s available.
“Rental properties are like any other investment – what you put in is what you get out.”
Housing Minister Phil Heatley, who is overseeing the retrofit of state houses, knows first-hand what it’s like to live in a cold, damp house from his student days in Palmerston North.
“As Palmerston North is no tropical haven I pretty much watched TV with a rug and slept with the electric blanket on.”
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is to meet with Heatley this week. Her party has a bill in the ballot that would require minimum energy efficiency standards for rentals.
She wants the Government to extend the Warm Up NZ’s $360 million funding to the end of 2014 and beyond.
Entries came from across the country, from quake-hit homes in Christchurch to beachside properties in the Far North. Some wrote poetry, some wrote from the heart.
But what the hundreds of entries for the warm-up competition had in common was that they were from people living in homes that were cold, damp, and mouldy. Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns said the competition was potentially life-changing for the winners. “It’s clear too many Kiwis are living in cold conditions that are affecting the health of children, in particular. We urge the Government to continue to make insulation a priority on its agenda, and encourage landlords to do the right thing.”
Right House chief executive Hamish Sissons says the winners’ houses will be healthier and more comfortable. “The worthiness of the entries has been humbling,” he adds.
The Herald on Sunday would also like to thank EECA, Mitsubishi Electric, Autex Industries and GreenStuf, Knauf Insulation and EarthWool.
(Content Sourced And Written By The New Zealand Herald)

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