The Warmhouse for New Zealand families
Kiwi homes are simply too cold in Winter – did you know a government and industry study found the condition of as many as one in two New Zealand homes assessed wasn’t as healthy as it should be? This has a big impact on our health, but despite the obstacles, there are lots of simple ways to make your place healthier, more comfortable and easier to heat.
Why we need healthier homes
A warm, dry home is healthier, more comfortable and easier to heat. Kiwis face lots of obstacles on the road to improving our indoor environment, but the good news is there are some simple things we can do to make things better.
Our country has a real problem when it comes to keeping homes healthy. Many of our houses are poorly insulated, with single glazed windows and general dampness.
Studies show unhealthy homes are having a big impact. In fact, 1,600 New Zealanders die every year over Winter because of the effect of poor quality homes on our health. It’s a sobering statistic, and it’s because a whopping 50% of New Zealand homes aren’t up to scratch.
What’s causing this?
Our homes are simply too cold over Winter - World Health Organisation guidelines suggest maintaining a minimum temperature of 18°C, and sometimes even warmer for elderly or very young people. The Kiwi mentality of just throwing on a jersey and carrying on isn’t cutting it anymore.
There are a few key reasons why Kiwi homes are so unhealthy, including poor insulation, ventilation, glazing, and heating. Poor insulation is a major contributor, because it makes it much harder to keep the heat in when you want it and keep it out when you don’t. Therefore, maintaining a consistently warm temperature in Winter becomes really difficult and can lead to skyrocketing electricity bills as home owners use heaters to compensate.
Another big factor is dampness. Excess moisture in the home leads to mould, which is particularly bad for respiratory health. This is especially important as one in six Kiwis suffer from a respiratory condition – the highest rate in the developed world.
What’s the solution?
Remedying an unhealthy home doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive exercise. There are some simple things we can do to improve our homes – and our health. To access help to fund an efficient heater and home insulation, a Warmer Kiwi Homes grant may work for you. This programme is all about helping make New Zealand homes warmer and healthier. We've also put together guides which have helpful and cost effective tips and tricks on how you can make your home more healthy.