Hot Swap to continue until 2016
Thursday, 2 July 2015 10:00 a.m.
Rotorua urban residents now have more options available to help them pay for clean home heating and insulation.
Qualifying homeowners in the Rotorua urban area can now install home insulation through the Hot Swap scheme, an interest-bearing loan that can be paid back over 10 years on their property rates. The scheme can also be used to replace old wood burners with a heat pump, flued gas fire, wood or pellet fire.
The loan for Rotorua urban residents will continue being offered until 30 June 2016 under Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Long Term Plan which was adopted last week. A rates remission, if homeowners qualify for a rates rebate, will also continue until 30 June 2016.
Rotorua constituency Regional Councillor Lyall Thurston said that Rotorua has the worst air quality in the North Island, mainly caused by smoke from wood or coal home heating.
“It’s affecting people’s health, especially the elderly, the young and those who already suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma. Rotorua's air quality exceeds the safe level set by Ministry for Environment, with the highest number of exceedences in the North Island.”
He said that half of Rotorua’s homes use fires as their main source of home heating, and many are past their effective life span. This means they are less heat efficient and produce more pollution.
Under the Rotorua Air Quality Control Bylaw, indoor open fires can no longer be used.
The Regional Council is also providing funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Warm-Up NZ Healthy Homes Programme for another year. The funding is restricted to Community Services Card holders who live in the Rotorua district and meet EECA’s criteria. Some Community Service Cardholder property owners who live in the urban area and have old fires they want to trade for a heat pump will receive the heating for free.
Some additional subsidies have also been provided for low-income homeowners to upgrade old fires to low emission wood burners and insulation.
“This will help homeowners who sit just above the Rates Rebate income threshold improve their heating and insulation,” Mr Thurston said.
“Property owners can now insulate their properties, put the cost on their rates and pay it off over 10 years. This includes a ground vapour barrier, ceiling and underfloor insulation,” he said.
“Insulation standards have changed over the years. If your property was insulated years ago it could need more insulation, such as underfloor or a ceiling top up.”
Open indoor fires like the one pictured is now banned from being used in the Rotorua urban area to help improve air quality