A recent article by stuff.co.nz has reported that subsidised heat pumps make homes warmer without increasing power bills.
- Under the EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes grant, “the Government pays up to 80 per cent of the cost of heat pumps for private homeowners who live in poorer areas or have a community services card.”
- Over a fifth of New Zealanders find their homes to be too cold and damp. EECA’s Warmer Kiwi Homes (WKH) programme aims to make New Zealand homes warmer, drier, and healthier, while improving their energy efficiency.
moto Warmer Kiwis Study
EECA has commissioned Motu Research to investigate the impact of heat pumps in homes with a heat pump installed under the EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
The first working paper was released in January 2022.
Key findings from the interim report are:
Indoor comfort and heating behaviours
- The proportion of households that reported ever having condensation on windows in their living room or bedroom fell from 95% to 30% after the heat pump was installed.
- The proportion of households that reported ever having damp in the living room or bedroom fell from 55% to 12% after having the heat pump installed.
- 82% of households said their house was much more comfortable or more comfortable after having received a heat pump.
- 79% of respondents said they were more satisfied with their home after having the heat pump installed.
- The proportion of households that reported ever having restricted heating due to cost fell from 80% to 21% after a heat pump was installed.
- Electricity use falls in a house fitted with a heat pump (or at least does not rise) relative to the counterfactual of not having a heat pump.
- The electricity savings are greatest when external temperatures are low.
- Electricity savings (of approximately 0.2kWH) are most pronounced in the evenings (6pm – 9 pm) when indoor temperature gains are at their peak.
The study concludes that:
Installation of a heat pump through the WKH programme results in households that are more comfortable in their homes, with living areas that are materially warmer and drier. These benefits occur despite the treated households reducing (or at least not increasing) their electricity use. In addition, some households will have saved on gas use, a factor that is not incorporated into our study. Thus the comfort, temperature and dampness benefits have been achieved at the same time as energy use is likely to have been reduced.
The stuff.co.nz articles points out that funding for the Warmer Kiwi Homes grant will finish in 2023, and a Government spokesperson would not confirm whether it would be extended.
“The Warmer Kiwi Homes programme is currently funded through to June 2023. Any decision to significantly change or extend the programme will likely be announced as part of Budget 2022 or Budget 2023,” the spokesperson said.
They pushed back at the idea of extending the subsidy on heat pumps or insulation to rentals, like an earlier version of the programme did.
“Subsidies are no longer available to landlords on the basis that they are already required by regulations to insulate their properties, and it would be unfair to landlords already complying with this requirement to subsidise landlords who do not.”