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Home > Latest News > Media Releases > Media Releases 2011 > May 2011 > Rotorua community supports Hot Swap

Rotorua community supports Hot Swap

Monday, 2 May 2011 3:16 p.m.

Working together the Rotorua community and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council have removed 50 open fires and 318 old wood burners from Rotorua homes through an interest-free loan programme called the Hot Swap Loan. 

This will remove more than three tonnes of small particulates from Rotorua's air.

The Hot Swap, launched in August 2010, is an interest-free loan, paid off over 10 years to upgrade old wood burners and open fires to clean heat.

Rotorua has the worst winter time air quality in theNorth Island, mainly caused by home heating. This scheme is an integral part of the Rotorua Air Quality Action Plan to meet the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Group Manager Strategic DevelopmentMary-Anne Macleodsaid the community's support for the Hot Swap had been high but there were still a lot of homes to upgrade to clean heat to reduce air pollution in Rotorua.

"We are very happy with the number of households that we have been able to convert to clean heat and we hope that the commitment of people to make the change continues," Mrs Macleod said.

"As the weather starts to get cooler people think about their heating options. Homes with new efficient heating will be warmer and our air will be cleaner."

Rotorua homeowners and landlords with properties in the urban air-shed are eligible to apply for the loan to convert old wood burners and open fires to clean heat. The air-shed is an area within Rotorua that exceeds the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality, and covers most of urban Rotorua.

Clean heat is about appliances that use fuel efficiently to heat homes and have little or no emissions compared to open fires and old wood burners. Clean heat options include approved wood burners, pellet fires, heat pumps and flued gas heaters.

"Being warm is just as important as having clean air to breathe. We recommend that homeowners stay warm and investigate which clean heat appliance will suit them best by getting a Home Heating Assessment from one of the Regional Council's service providers," Mrs Macleod said.

Requesting a home heating assessment is easy. Call 0800 Hot Swap, visit www.hotswap.co.nz or call one of the Regional Council's service providers. 

 The Facts on Rotorua's Air Quality: 

  • Sixty percent of Rotorua's air pollution in winter is caused by wood and other solid fuel burners.
  • The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality sets the concentration limit of fine particulates at 50µg/m3.  Rotorua regularly exceeds this limit, mainly in winter.
  • A 26 percent reduction in emissions is needed in Rotorua to meet the national standards.
  • Nearly 50 percent of Rotorua homes use some form of solid fuel burners as their main source of heating. 
  • The vast majority of burners in Rotorua are at least fifteen years old and are past their effective life expectancy. They are therefore less efficient and produce more pollution than new models available today. 
  • An estimated 7650 homes need to upgrade to clean heat to meet the national standards.
  • Rotorua's poor air quality causes adverse health affects.  The most vulnerable are the elderly, the very young and those already suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma.
  • Medical research carried out in Christchurch and in cities overseas shows a clear link between high levels of PM10 pollution and increased hospital admissions for respiratory disorders.
  • The Hot Swap Loan is one of the major actions to reduce pollution, as set out in the Rotorua Air Quality Action Plan.
Air the Earles Pellet burner lowres