A complaint often heard from new arrivals in New Zealand is that many of the houses are not well enough insulated. This complaint has now been answered by the introduction of stricter insulation standards, including compulsory double glazing for new homes.
“Creating more efficient houses is a triple win for New Zealanders’ health, our environment and our power bills,” Prime Minister Helen Clark said, adding, “A home built under the new standards will save anywhere from $760 to $1800 a year on power bills, quickly making up for any additional up front costs associated with the regulations. We also know that warmer and dryer homes are much healthier homes.”
The changes will see:
- Tougher insulation requirements (including double glazing in most climates) will result in new homes using about 30 percent less energy to achieve healthy average indoor air temperatures.
- A new Compliance Document making it easier to install solar water heating systems across New Zealand, cutting the price of installation by as much as $500.
- New requirements for energy efficient lighting in new and refitted commercial buildings, expected to save building owners around $8 million a year in energy costs nationally.
The increased cost of building a home to the new standards is estimated at between $3000 to $5000 per new house.
From this November new houses in the South Island and the North Island’s Central Plateau will need more insulation and double-glazing. Improvements to house insulation in the North Island will take effect in most of the North Island in July 2008 and for Auckland and further north from October next year.
Also announced by the government were two further proposals for public consultation. The first would require domestic hot water systems in new homes to be more energy efficient, while the second would apply energy efficiency standards to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in new commercial buildings.