New insulation standards being required across New Zealand over the next year will mean warmer, healthier and cheaper-to-run homes.
The new requirements are the most significant improvements to the energy efficiency of houses in 30 years. New homes will now have better insulation, including double-glazed windows in most instances. The new standards also apply to extensions to existing homes.
From November 1, 2007, the standards took effect in the South Island and the North Island’s Central Plateau. From July 2008, they come into force in the North Island south of Auckland and, for Auckland north, from October 2008.
Houses must now be built to use 30% less energy than was previously necessary to stay at a comfortable temperature.
So while the extra investment in insulation will add modest costs to new homes ($3000 to $5000), it is estimated these will be recouped through lower gas and electricity bills in three to seven years.
Higher capital value
The benefits will be long lasting. Better insulated homes have a higher capital value and money will be saved on lower power bills for years to come.
Health benefits also come with warmer, drier homes, resulting in less respiratory illness, fewer days off work and visits to the doctor.
The environment benefits too — if less power is used to heat homes, less electricity needs to be generated by burning fossil fuels (a process which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere contributing to climate change).
A new booklet, Your Guide to $marter Insulation, outlines the new insulation requirements and technical information for consumers and building practitioners to assist with planning a new home or extension.