Survey: quarter of NZ homes making occupants sick

  • Breaking
  • 30/11/2008

Peter Neilson is practising what he preaches. As the boss of the Council for Sustainable Development he is making his home warmer and dryer.
“We’ve got one million New Zealand homes that are under performing,” stated Mr Neilson.

The council surveyed 3500 New Zealanders:

26 percent said their home had made someone living there sick - totalling 410,000 unhealthy homes.
59 percent said their house could be warmer and more comfortable and most could not afford to improve their home's performance.
Over 90 percent wanted some expert advice on how to improve their home.
Lack of insulation seems to be the biggest problem and it is costing.
“We’re probably paying half a billion dollars a year more in energy because we're using that to heat the street rather than inside our homes,” explained Mr Neilson.

Healthier homes would also create other major savings.

We could avoid sending 50 people a day to hospital with respiratory illnesses. Consequently, that would save $54 million a year. In turn it would lift production by $17 million by cutting sick days and significantly cut household power bills.

Neilson says there are 20,000 new homes being built every year and the 1.6 million existing houses should be required to comply with a rating scheme so buyers and tenants know how healthy and efficient the house is.
“We know from overseas that when you have those sort of ratings people pay more for their homes,” stated Mr Neilson. “At the moment there's virtually no reward for making homes perform better by putting in more insulation and double glazing.”

The council says the new government supports the scheme and will begin building the new regulatory framework by the end of the year.

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