Subsidies available to warm homes

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by Greta Yeoman

Eligible South Canterbury residents can now apply for subsidies to install heating appliances under a new Government scheme.

The Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme now includes subsidies of up to two-thirds of the cost of a heat pump or woodburners, alongside other insulation subsidies.

These are open to home-owners living in their own homes, that have Community Services cards or live in a house built before 2008 in a lower-income area.

Timaru areas that count as lower-income (that are between 8-10 on the New Zealand Deprivation Index) are Waimataitai, Seaview, Parkside and Timaru Gardens.

Other South Canterbury areas eligible due to their index ratings are Waimate, Pareora and Winchester.

In most cases homes will need to have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed before qualifying for a heating grant.

Energy and Resources minister Megan Woods said the grants would cover two-thirds of the cost of efficient wood burners and heat pumps, up to a maximum grant of $2500.

“Insulated and heated homes are healthier, and we know there are huge benefits for households with fewer respiratory illnesses and hospital visits,” Ms Woods said.

EnergySmart Timaru branch manager Rowena McLintock said, in some instances, assessors could be able to combine funding from the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme with the Environment Canterbury Home Heating Subsidy.

She said there were also a range of finance options for those who did not meet the criteria for the subsidy, or where the subsidy was not sufficient to make insulation or heat pumps affordable.

These included interest-free flexi-payment plans or applications for the local rates advance scheme.