Insulation – Now “As Prescribed”
You’d be forgiven for thinking it was the punchline of a joke but it’s true; Doctors in New Zealand can under special circumstances prescribe insulation for at-risk patients living in cold houses. It is part of the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme which runs through to June 2014. Although not all regions are covered, it goes to show the significance of a warmer home of health and wellbeing. Let’s face it - if Doctors are prescribing insulation, it’s got to be good for you.
The Healthy Homes programme follows on from the success of the Heat Smart programme which ran from 2009 – 2013. Depending on how the figures are calculated approximately 500,000 Kiwis benefited from retrofitting of insulation in houses built before 2000. While regionally there are different allocations and criteria for funding, what’s clear is a widespread commitment to the benefits of effective insulation on health.
Tony Naidu of HeatSavers put it like this, “The funding provided is naturally prioritising those most at risk; the young and the elderly, and it is a great initiative that is making a real difference. However, insulating under floors and ceilings which is what the subsidy provides for, gives you an average Winter temperature increase of less than one degree. By completing the thermal envelope, by insulating the walls as well; the average Winter temperature increase is around 4-5 degrees, and of course it’s also cooler in Summer. We believe that’s the extra step that most people need to take to ensure they live in an adequately insulated home”.
For most people, home owners and landlords alike, it’s a question of cost. The funding is available for under floors and ceilings but not for wall insulation. Says Naidu, “Cost is always going to be a factor; what’s important is to seriously take a look at the return. HeatSavers insulation costs a third to a quarter of traditional insulation methods when you’re retrofitting wall insulation in a house, which is a great starting point. On top of that you’re saving on landfill because you’re not removing and replacing gib board, our process takes days not weeks, and you see a real difference in temperature right away which means instant power savings to heat and cool your home”.
He continues, “The bottom line is that EECA Energywise calculates that heating accounts for approximately 29% of the power costs for most homes in New Zealand. That’s a lot of money literally being burned. Insulation is an upfront cost but we offer great finance terms and we know that home owners will see the return financially and in the associated health benefits”.
The World Health Organisation recommends minimum indoor temperatures of 18 Degrees C or 20 Degrees C for more vulnerable groups including children, the elderly and people who are ill; and a minimum overnight bedroom temperature of 16 Degrees C. The average Winter temperature in New Zealand homes is 13.5 Degrees C. Says Naidu, “That’s exactly where completing the thermal envelope makes the difference. Right there is the 4-5 degrees that will make the difference”.
If you’d like to find out more about insulation your home, contact Heatsavers for a free, no-obligation quotation. For health, wealth and well-being, it’s an investment well worth checking out.
Author Cara Tipping Smith