Insulation Warrant of Fitness (WOF) is on its way.
There’s no doubt big changes are afoot for landlords and potentially any home owner that may wish to rent out their property in the future. 2013 saw a ground swell of programmes designed to set minimum insulation / warmth standards for rental properties and while none have made it over the line as yet, there’s no question which way the winds are blowing…
In May 2013 the Government announced the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme, a continuation of the Heat Smart programme that ran from 2009 to 2013 which provided subsidies for insulation for at risk people who met the criteria.
In September, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown launched a proposal for a ‘warrant of fitness’ scheme that would grade the warmth and insulation of rental housing in Wellington with the goal being to encourage landlords to upgrade housing to more healthy levels.
Then in October Phil Twyford’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill was drawn from the Parliamentary ballot aiming to legislate that every rental home in NZ meets minimum standards of heating and insulation.
“You don’t need a crystal ball to see what’s coming”, says Tony Naidu of Heatsavers. “Minimum standards will happen. New Zealand Winter temperatures average around 13.5 degrees Celsius where the World Health Organisation recommends minimum overnight bedroom temperatures of 16 degrees and living space temperatures of 18 degrees or 20 degrees for more vulnerable groups (children, elderly and people who are ill). Governments and Councils will place the burden of responsibility on landlords sooner or later; it’s just a matter of what will be required and when.”
From a public monies perspective, up to 70% of New Zealand homes are inadequately insulated. That’s a huge drain on the State; in health care costs and in subsidies for low income families’ heating bills. Rising energy costs put many more families at risk of financial hardship. Insulation is the way forward but it will have to be effective and affordable.
Says Naidu, “Right now, we have a fairly nation-wide shortage of properties to rent so there’s no pressure on landlords to insulate in terms of appealing to tenants. However, when the regulations require it, there’ll be a run on insulation and as we all know, with increased demand comes increased pricing and longer delays as insulators scramble to keep up”.
So now’s the time to investigate the options? Naidu says, “Yes! Looking at your insulation options right now let’s you at the very least understand the costs, options, timeframes and likely return on your investment. Leaving it until the inevitable regulatory requirements kick in just leaves you at risk, of increased costs, delays and potentially even untenantable downtime until you’ve caught up with the regulations”.
The benefits according to Naidu include, “between 4-5 degrees increased Winter temperatures and of course cooler temperatures in Summer. With very little heating added to that, it would bring the average New Zealand home up into World Health Organisation recommended zone. Bear in mind thought that while insulating under floors and in ceilings is a good start, you only see that kind of temperature gain when the thermal envelope is completed and that means under floors, in ceiling and in walls”.
He continues, “Our product is a third to a quarter of the cost of traditional insulation methods to retrofit insulation into the walls of your existing home and can be completed in days not weeks. Tenants don’t have to move out as the work can be non-intrusive. Not to mention, it’s a much more sustainable approach that reduces the need for landfill waste, while giving you virtually immediate access to all the benefits”.
If you’d like to find out more about insulation your home, contact Heatsavers for a free, no-obligation quotation. For health, wealth and well-being, it’s an investment well worth checking out.
Author Cara Tipping Smith