Many New Zealand homes are making their occupants sick and Future-Proof Building (FPB) is embarking on an education campaign throughout the country this year.
Many occupants don’t even realise the harm their homes are causing to their health, according to FPB’s national education manager Jamie Fear.
“Most New Zealand homes don’t even meet the World Health Organisation’s guidelines of having a home temperature of 18 degrees. By the time winter comes it’s too late to try to rush in insulation and energy efficient heating. Home owners need to start thinking now about improvements they should make this year,” he says.
Half of all Kiwi homes were built before the introduction of insulation requirements in 1978 and as a result, these homes fail to meet current building standards without renovation.
FPB welcomes the significant changes that have been made to the building act over the last 12 months, promoting the use of double glazing and higher levels of insulation to increase the efficiency of new homes built in New Zealand. However, Fear warns there is still much work to be done and it is the standard of existing housing stock that most urgently needs to be addressed.
“The responsibility for addressing this issue lies not just with the Government, but with the building industry and home owners”, says Fear. “The building industry can take a lead by educating home owners on how to make their homes healthy and safe as well as energy efficient.”
In cooperation with energy efficiency assessors, RightHouse, FPB will be running seminars throughout New Zealand in 2009 to educate home owners on how to make their homes warmer, drier and more energy and water efficient today and in the long term.
“We’ve accepted houses that are cold and damp without regard to the impact this has on the health of our families for too long. Until the New Zealand attitude towards housing changes we will not see a general lift of the quality of our existing homes,” says Fear.