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Published: 2011-03-29 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is looking for homeowners in Te Kuiti to receive new clean heating appliances as part of its Waikato Clean Heat Programme.

This programme is jointly funded by Environment Waikato and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Qualifying homeowners will be offered free clean heat appliances, including complying woodburners, pellet fires and heat pumps, to replace their older, less efficient, more polluting older-style woodburners and open fires.

The move is designed to improve air quality in Te Kuiti particularly over the winter months, when there can be an excessive amount of air borne fine particles, known as PM10.

To be considered for the programme, the home needs to be located in the Te Kuiti airshed and needs to be insulated to New Zealand standards. The homeowner also needs to have a community services card.

To date 28 households in Te Kuiti have received clean heat as part of the Waikato Clean Heat Programme, and funding still remains for a further 10 households.

PM10 is carried in smoke from older-style wood burning fires and is also emitted when wet wood is burned in more modern fireplaces. It is not visible to the human eye and is small enough to get into people’s lungs and cause serious health problems.  

EW policy advisor Amanda Banks said: “Clean heat appliances are not only better for the air. They are more efficient at keeping homes warmer and can save householders money.”

“The scheme is aimed primarily at low-income households as they are the ones who can have difficulty raising the funds to change heating systems.”

“Environment Waikato is also active in raising awareness in communities of air quality issues through education programmes and working together with other government, health and community agencies in groups such as the Waitomo District Clean Air Healthy Homes Group.”

The council has contracted Energy Options to run the Waikato Clean Heat Programme and enquiries can be directed to Energy Options on 0800 15 15 65.