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Biggest Energy Efficiency Steps In 30 Years

Press Release by New Zealand Government at 2:26 pm, 03 May 2007

The changes are the most significant improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings in 30 years and the latest steps in the Labour-led government's sustainability agenda.

"The Labour-led government believes that New Zealand should strive to be the world's first truly sustainable nation," Helen Clark said. "Creating more efficient houses and commercial buildings is a triple win for New Zealanders' health, our environment and our power bills."

The changes will see:

  • Tougher insulation requirements (including double glazing in most climates) will result in new homes using about 30 per cent less energy to achieve healthy average indoor air temperatures 
  • A new Compliance Document making it easier to install solar water heating systems across New Zealand, cutting the price of installation by as much as $500 
  • New requirements for energy efficient lighting in new and refitted commercial buildings, a move expected to save building owners around $8 million a year in energy costs nationally

"A home built under the new standards will save anywhere from $760 to $1800 a year on power bills, quickly making up for any additional up front costs associated with the regulations. We also know that warmer and dryer homes are much healthier homes," Helen Clark said.

From this November new houses in the South Island and the North Island's Central Plateau will need more insulation and double-glazing. Improvements to house insulation in the North Island will take effect in most of the North Island in July 2008 and for Auckland and further north from October next year.

 Clayton Cosgrove also announced two further proposals for public consultation. The first would require domestic hot water systems in new homes to be more energy efficient, while the second would apply energy efficiency standards to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in new commercial buildings.

"Consultation on these ideas has now begun, and anyone interested can find the relevant documents on the Department of Building and Housing's website. I urge New Zealanders to take this opportunity to have their say on the future of our homes, workplaces, and environment."

Consultation will close on 29 June 2007, with decisions being announced from October 2007.

Helen Clark acknowledged Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons for her contribution to energy efficiency policy.

"The Greens have a long record of advocacy on energy efficiency issues and I am glad that we've been able to work together to deliver such a significant improvement in the design of new houses and buildings."

More information on the existing measures and new proposals can be found at