Sometimes in the wintertime Rotorua air quality exceeds the safe and acceptable level set by the Ministry for the Environment.
The most vulnerable to the adverse health effects of our air pollution are the very young, the elderly and those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Approximately 228 tonnes of fine particulates are discharged annually into Rotorua's air. We need to reduce this by 60 tonnes to meet the safe and acceptable standards set by the Ministry for Environment.
The biggest source of Rotorua's urban air pollution (58%) is from solid-fuel burners for home heating.
What can you do?
Rotorua's air quality is a community problem and we all need to take action to help clean it up. There are several ways you can make a difference:
- Choose clean heating, such as heat pumps, pellet fires and low emission wood burners.
- Get firewood early.
More than 50 percent of Rotorua households source their firewood well before the winter months, making sure it is ready to burn.
Wood takes at least 12 months to dry, so whether you buy your firewood or collect it, the earlier you get your wood the longer it has to dry.
Dry firewood burns hotter than wet wood so provides more heat for your home. Burning dry wood also creates less pollution.
- See wood burning factsheet for ideas.
Insulate your home
Without ceiling and underfloor insulation you can lose up to 42 percent of your heat through the ceiling and 10 percent through the floor. A ground vapour barrier will also help stop moisture getting into your home.
If you get the design and insulation right for your house you won't need as much heating and you can think about installing a smaller more efficient heating system.
Subsidies are available through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) Warmer Kiwi Homes programme to help with the cost of insulation and heating. To see if you are eligible look on their website.
If your house is within the Rotorua Airshed and you have a wood burner that was installed before September 2005, then the wood burner is deemed non-compliant and has been illegal to use since 31 January 2020.
All chip heaters, coal ranges, marshall heaters, coal burners and multi-fuel burners are illegal to use since 31 December 2018.
There are also new rules regarding installing a new wood burner in the Rotorua Airshed and installing a wood burner in a property that has had its previous burner removed at point of sale.