The New Zealand Government’s commitment to a range of policies that advance sustainability in the building sector is underpinning the role of insulation as a key factor in energy efficiency and conservation.

Among these policies are programmes directed at the retrofitting of insulation to state-owned houses through Housing New Zealand and subsidies targeted at insulation retro-fit for low income family homes.

A stock-take review by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says that a redesigned and growing residential energy efficiency retrofit programme has to date improved insulation in about 17,000 of 100,000 targeted homes.

EECA says New Zealand has about 835,000 homes that were built before insulation became compulsory, many of which are likely to remain well below current domestic and international standards. It says good quality research on energy use in buildings has been undertaken and a major study has shown significant social, environmental and economic benefits from residential energy efficiency retrofits. It adds that the health benefits of such retrofits have been substantiated by research.

The EECA review as undertaken as a prelude to establishment of a fresh National Energy and Conservation Strategy to update a former strategy set in 2001. The new strategy is to be finalised by March, 2007. It is to be an integral part of a revamped National Energy Strategy for which terms of reference are currently being decided.

The aim of the energy and conservation strategy will be to put New Zealand on a faster course to a sustainable energy system.

Commercial Office Buildings

Energy Intensity Targets

Energy intensity targets for both commercial buildings and residential homes are among suggestions made by New Zealand.