Labour: Biggest energy efficiency steps in 30 years

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New insulation requirements and moves to make it easier and cheaper to install solar water heating systems are part of major changes to the Building Code and building compliance documents announced recently by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Building and Construction Minister Clayton Cosgrove.

Labour says the changes are the most significant improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings in 30 years, and the latest steps in the Labour-led Government’s sustainability agenda. 

“The Labour Government believes New Zealand should strive to be the world’s first truly sustainable nation,” Helen Clark said.
“Creating more efficient houses and commercial buildings is a triple win for New Zealanders’ health, our environment and our power bills.”

The changes will see:
• tougher insulation requirements (including double glazing in most climates) resulting in new homes using about 30% 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, and
• new requirements for energy efficient lighting in new and refitted commercial buildings, a move expected to save building owners around $8 million a year in energy costs nationally.

“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 Prime Minister said.

From 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.

Mr Cosgrove also announced 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.

More information on the existing measures and new proposals can be found at www.dbh.govt.nz/energy-efficiency.