Thermal upgrade for homes in the Hutt

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30 May 2018

Housing New Zealand is thermally upgrading 66 properties in Lower Hutt to ensure that they are warm and dry for families in need.

“The $9.3 million Housing New Zealand pilot is improving the thermal performance of these homes through insulation, double glazing, thermal curtains, ventilation and new heating to ensure a healthy indoor living environment,” says Housing New Zealand National Maintenance and Upgrade Manager Angela Pearce.

Housing New Zealand has, to date, upgraded six properties and will have 66 completed by the end of September, 2018 in the Hutt.

The pilot will help the homes achieve an indoor winter temperature of 20 degrees in the living area, 18 degrees in the bedrooms and 16 degrees elsewhere, which is inline with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.

“Housing New Zealand is keenly interested in how these upgraded homes perform, especially during the colder months. Learnings from this pilot will help inform a wider programme of upgrading up to 200 state homes in the Hutt Valley and beyond,” says Mrs Pearce.

“This thermal makeover and renovation is resetting the property’s life so that Housing New Zealand is not only providing warmer, dryer and healthier environments for families, it will also reduce the ongoing maintenance costs of these buildings.”

Together, with a comprehensive development programme, Housing New Zealand is breathing new life into the Hutt, which is home to some of Housing New Zealand’s oldest stock. Over the next two to three years the programme will deliver up to 300 new homes in Lower Hutt, with the first of 30 new homes, at a cost of around $9.5 million, expected to be available from later this year.

Across the Wellington region, Housing New Zealand is building more houses to provide warm, dry homes for the people and families that need them with an additional 145 homes in Wellington City, and around 70 in Porirua.

Questions and answers

What is a thermal upgrade?

As part of this pilot, Housing New Zealand has installed double glazing, new curtains, new heating sources and insulation among other things to improve the thermal performance of these homes. Ventilation and improved air tightness will also make it easier and cheaper to heat and maintain a suitable temperature in these homes. Each house is distinct and requires a different level of intervention.

What is the cost per house to carry this out?

On average, Housing New Zealand is spending approximately $133,000 per home. This is early stages however, and we expect to decrease the overall cost per house as we learn from the pilot.

Is Housing New Zealand committing to upgrading all of its homes?

Housing New Zealand will be closely monitoring how this pilot performs with an eye to upgrade more homes. Based on this information, Housing New Zealand is looking to thermally retrofit up to 200 homes in the Hutt and further afield. A decision on whether to extend the programme will be made a later date once the pilot has been fully assessed.

What is the state of the rest of your stock? i.e. how can you guarantee that you provide warm and dry homes?

Housing New Zealand has 63,457 homes across the country and we’ve been making them warmer through our Warm and Dry programme. Since 2014/15 we’ve upgraded over 30, 000 properties with thermal curtains, a fixed heating source, carpet and range hood and extractor fans. HNZ homes also have ceiling and underfloor insulation to the current standard.

How many houses does Housing New Zealand have in the Hutt?

3,766 – in Upper and Lower Hutt as of 31 March 2018.

What’s the average age of houses in the Hutt?

The average age of Housing New Zealand stock in the Hutt is around 50 years.

Have tenants been without homes as part of this pilot?

No. We have had to relocate some tenants temporarily for the first phase of this pilot, but no one is going without a house.

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