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Partnership insulates 3000 homes

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang, left, South Wairarapa councillor Brenda West, EECA chief executive Andrew Caseley, general manager of EnergySmart James Gallagher, and Bob Francis. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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Chief executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority Andrew Caseley came to Masterton to praise parties involved in the insulation retrofit of 2788 Wairarapa homes over the past 16 years.

Convener of the Wairarapa Healthy Homes group Bob Francis hosted an afternoon tea at Waiata House for community funders who backed the scheme to meet Caseley and the EnergySmart crew.

The organisations represented were the three district councils, Trust House, and the Wairarapa District Health Board.

In 2004, Francis lobbied these organisations to get them to boost and support a remodelled home insulation programme that had dwindled.

It had fallen away under the previous government, which had put the focus on home insulation for rented properties and beneficiaries, but not on the properties of homeowners.

The new insulation scheme kicked off and is available for homes built before 2008 owned by people in “quintile five” areas — the most deprived 20 per cent of homeowners.

Government authority EECA funds the warm homes programme and EnergySmart has been delivering the programme in Wairarapa.

Two years ago, the scheme changed to enable low income homeowners to gain 67 per cent funding towards insulation in homes pre-2008.

Budget 2020 boosted that government contribution further to 90 per cent for this category of homeowner.

“In the 2020/21 budget, government has put another $70 million into the warmer homes scheme,” Caseley said.

So far across New Zealand, 25,000 homes in low income areas have had insulation installed under this remodelled scheme.

“We are now going gang busters,” Caseley said.

“You don’t need a community services card but just reach out if your income is low and your house isn’t insulated.”

At the event, Caseley acknowledged that no matter how cheap the government made it to insulate, 10 per cent of homeowners in the qualifying category would not take it up.

EnergySmart general manager James Gallagher praised the community providers’ tenacity and said that it really helped the home insulation company keep on working in Wairarapa.

He said without the commitment of the group, it would not be running in Wairarapa and EECA would not be able to offer the insulation opportunity as readily as it can now.

EnergySmart has three employees dedicated to Wairarapa.

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