Rentals in line for insulation

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SOUTHLAND’S Warm Home Trust hopes to be about to insulate another 300 homes in the next 12 months, but its chairman Neil Boniface says the trust will not be able to help as many people as hoped.
Formed in June 2008, the trust works in partnership with local funders and the Government’s Energy and Conservation Authority (EECA) to provide insulation subsidies and oversee installation.
Over the years EECA funding has become more targeted, and in last month’s Budget it was announced almost all funding for the next two years would go to insulating rental properties for low-income tenants.
Mr Boniface said the trust expected to be able to insulate about 250 rental properties over the next year.
‘‘Some people will say we are helping landlords add value to their homes, and we are to some extent, but the good side is tenants will have warmer, healthier homes and their energy bills could go down.’’
He said while it was good the scheme was continuing in some way, many low-income homeowners would miss out.
‘‘There will be working people on the borderline and it will be different for them to afford $3000-$4000 for insulation. It’s disappointing for them.’’
The trust receives annual grants from the Invercargill City Council (ICC), Gore and Southland district councils and Environment Southland (ES). Other funders such as the Invercargill Licensing Trust, ILT Foundation, Community Trust of Southland and Southland Primary Health Organisations have also contributed.
Mr Boniface said the trust hoped to insulate about 50 privately-owned homes in the next year using local money.
Home assessments and installation is carried out by Awarua Synergy.
It is also the service provider for the Clean Air Loans Invercargill Scheme, which offers homeowners low-interest loans to upgrade to approved burners or heat pumps and/or improve their insulation.
The scheme is jointly funded by ES and the ICC, which have allocated $500,000 each per year for the next three years.
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