INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ambitious plan to retrofit 20,000 Waitakere homes

Published: Fri 14 Nov 2008 10:23 AM
edia Release
November 14, 2008
Ambitious plan to retrofit 20,000 Waitakere homes
Ensuring Waitakere residents live in dry, warm and healthy homes is the aim of an ambitious plan to “retrofit” 20,000 homes in the city over the next 10 years.
Waitakere City Council’s Policy and Strategy Committee has recommended that the council’s Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) and Annual Plan Committee consider including the proposal in the 2009-2019 budgets.
Work could include roof and under floor insulation, dual flush toilets, water tanks, water-saving showerheads, solar water heating, insulating hot water cylinders, energy-saving light bulbs and worm farms (to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills).
Policy and Strategy Committee chairperson Penny Hulse says the proposal is an opportunity to take the concept of retrofitting to the next level and put the council in the driver’s seat by ensuring the best outcomes for the whole city.
“This project has the potential to save both households and the city millions of dollars a year and is an investment for our future.”
The measures will result in a high-quality retrofits that would make a substantial improvement to people’s quality of life and home running costs.  It would also save the city money on water infrastructure investment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
It is proposed that a citywide project be carried out on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis and made available to all residents, including landlords, irrespective of income or age of property.
Funding options would be worked out depending on the applicant’s circumstances and could be in the form of a loan, with the council and its funding partners paying the interest.
Councillor Hulse noted that Environment Canterbury has operated a loan scheme for many years, which had proven very successful.
The programme would be an alliance between the council and a range of other agencies sharing the costs, possibly including the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and other central government agencies and the district health board.
Of the 66,000 homes in Waitakere, just under half were built prior to 1978 when the legal requirement for insulation came into force.
The Waitemata District Health Board has identified that around 10,000 of these homes are in areas of high deprivation, where people are experiencing health problems, low incomes and poor quality housing.
“Many of our people continue to live in sub-standard homes that are expensive to keep warm and dry, and which make them lose time at school and work through preventable illness,” says Cr Hulse.
“This is a drain on all taxpayers and a small investment could save us all money.”
The council has already been a partner  in several community-based projects, including part funding EcoWise West, a programme delivered by the EcoMatters Environment Trust, which has retrofitted 1275 homes in five years.

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