Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make Your New Zealand Home Warmer!

We landed in Wellington, New Zealand 24 years and two days ago. Yes, it was winter!  To the four of us, who came from blistering hot Malaysian weather; the freezing cold wind was more than a cultural shock! It was BLEEDING COLD!!

Later, to our dismay we discovered many of the New Zealand homes are cold and damp. These homes aren't just uncomfortable to live in, they can also have negative impacts on your health

I remembered while living in a rented house many years ago that our neighbor from Russia told me, that; back in his home country, even the poorest household is better insulated than those in New Zealand!

A hail covered Karori, 2010.

More than 20 years after we settled onto this Land of the Long White Cloud, the government finally decided to help!

August 1988, our second day in Wellington.
How many homes in New Zealand do you think need insulation?

In 2009, the EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) estimated that around 900,000 homes in New Zealand had substandard insulation.

With a population of only 4 million plus, you do the math; no wonder our Russian friend think we are of THIRD WORLD standard!

To cut my rant I suggest you go to Google and search for "insulate new zealand home",  the half million results will tell you all about this subject :)

However, if you are too lazy to bother then go straight to the EECA site and read all about the funding you might be entitled to!!

Last August we were snowed in!
Every year, as we get older; winter seems to be getting colder, our power bills keep going higher and higher; so this year we decided to take the plunge and get extra insulation done.

Under the present EECA Energywise program, if your house was built before 2000 you are eligible for ENERGYWISE™ funding to install insulation through EECA-approved providers.

If you are a homeowner (including landlords) - and your house was built before the year 2000 - you can get up to $1,300 (or 33%) towards the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation and its installation.

To separate the "cowboys", it is important that you get three quotes from different EECA-approved installers. From the quotes, I decided to use the service from a company call Sustainability Trust.

After a wait of more than four weeks, two installers from Sustainability Trust came to our house to put in the insulation.
Looking at the diagram above, main heat lost from our house will be through the ceiling, and the floor.

Being of a Lockwood design, our house walls are made of solid pine wood which insulate well; according to the assessor, our attic is under insulated and huge amount of heat is lost through the ceiling.  The other major heat lost area is through the floor, our rooms are like freezer boxes when southerlies hit and room heat literally get "suck out" through the uninsulated floor!!

The solid pine wood wall are good insulator, but huge amount of heat will be lost through the windows and large sliding door! Thermal curtains and drapes can be fitted over these glassed area to cut down the lost of heat.

To make our house warmer, insulation material are install on three area to cut down heat lost.

Under the floor where the 3 bedrooms sit, the floor directly above the double garages where the living room sits; and in the attic.

For underfloor, Sustainability Trust used a product called NOVAfloor, a heavy duty polyester mat that reduce droughts coming up through the floorboards.

On the left, part of the living room floor with NOVAfloor fitted. On the right is the original foil insulation that supposed to work, NOT!

The foil that was torn from the garage roof, on top right is a bale of NOVAfloor mat.

The completed garage ceiling with the NOVAfloor material. This is also the living room floor where we can feel cold air rising with the tin foil! The NOVAfloor effectively stopped the drought!

For our ceiling, a different insulating material is used.

A product called NOVAtherm is installed in the ceiling as a blanket.

A bale of NOVAtherm ceiling blanket waiting to go into the attic. Notice the small trap door where the installer squeezed himself into the tight ceilling.

NOVAtherm at the deck and at our living room, all waiting to go into the ceiling!

Good work practice, the installers covered the carpet to prevent it from getting dirty.

Five days after the installation, the company send an "auditor" to check and make sure the installers did a good job.

Here you can see the "auditor" going into the ceiling to check the work is up to standard.

No, we are not being snowed in again!  this is our ceiling covered with NOVAtherm!  These pictures were snapped by the "auditor" using my D300, thank-you Mr Auditor :)

How much does it cost?  The break-down...

NOVAtherm R2.8      95 meter square   @ $18.37     $1,745.15
NOVAfloor   R1.4      95 meter square   @  24.35        2,313.25
Labour                        3 hours                @   35.00          105.00

Subtotal                      4,163.40
Subsidy/grant             1,300.00

We pay -  $2,863.40

Does it work?

I think so :)

How do I know?

Today is a bitterly cold night, it is blowing SOUTHERLIES and 2°C outside!  Before installing insulation the living room floor was really cold and the back section of the house was like a fridge (5°C)!

Now I only need to operate one heater (on thermostat) to maintain a comfortable 20°C in the living room, the back section; now without heating is about 12°C.

 I would recommend it highly!


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heather said...

NZ houses are notoriously damp and cold.I don`t know what designers of these houses were thinking. It`s still expensive to have insulation installed even though there is government subsidies.
Most people I know,including us, have gotten used to living in a cold house over the years. To have a warm dry house is a luxury to me.I think there are a lot of people in NZ who never ever havea warm house.

iml said...

24 years? Has it been so long since I last saw LB. I left P&M in 85. Even the partners are no longer in P&M. Had a look at the website.

Unknown said...

If that is the case, then life in New Zealand before must been a disaster! Good thing the government finally noticed this dilemma. And I should say, the blessing has finally arrived to you. No more extreme winter days for you and your family! :)


Unknown said...

To make our house warmer, insulation material are install on three area to cut down heat lost.foil insulation