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Insulate now and save for years to come

We’ve talked about instant savings homeowners can make on the cost of insulation courtesy of the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme. This government programme offers a grant of up to $1,300 (or 33%) towards the cost of installing insulation. But that’s just the beginning.

As well as this one-off insulation grant to improve the heat retention of your home, you’ll enjoy ongoing savings in energy consumption. This is nothing to be sniffed at. Electricity costs have soared in New Zealand over the last decade – and they’re set to rise even further. Some analysts are predicting rises up to 10% over the next year.

Faces with this scenario, the idea of cutting power consumption becomes even more attractive. Around 900,000 homes in New Zealand have inadequate ceiling or underfloor insulation. That’s nearly 60% of all homes.

Step 1: Cut your losses

If all homeowners made a small effort to keep retain heat all of the time – like plugging the gaps in draughty doors or closing curtains at sunset - they could save over $100 million in energy each year. At $60 per household each year, that’s a pretty conservative estimate. In reality, many households could save even more.

$60 is a nice sum to have in your pocket (as opposed to the power company’s bank account), but the savings you make with proper insulation can dwarf this amount. Around 35% of the energy used in the average New Zealand household goes on heating your home. If your home doesn’t have adequate insulation, a lot of your heat is wasted. You could be spending hundreds of dollars each year on heat that escapes through your floor and ceiling.

By installing insulation that meets modern standards, you put an immediate stop to this costly heat hemorrhage. Once your insulation is up to scratch, you can expect a warmer home and lower energy bills for the foreseeable future.

Step 2: Count your savings every year

A study by BRANZ found that adding insulation increased temperatures by 1.4 degrees in winter and reduced energy use by 300-400 KWH. Another study by the University of Otago showed that electricity consumption was reduced by up to 9% during winter in 111 Housing Corporation homes in Southland that were retro-fitted with insulation.

How does this translate to your power bill? The actual dollar savings will depend on your electricity supplier and tariff, but it’s clear that installing modern insulation will knock a significant chunk off your power bill every winter.

When you add up the savings from the government insulation grant and the subsequent reduction in electricity consumption, it’s plain to see that insulation really is a one-way bet.

As a homeowner, it’s one you can’t lose.