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    Default Our homes are making us sick

    Our homes are making us sick
    4:00AM Sunday Nov 30, 2008
    Cliff Taylor

    A quarter of a million homes are so cold, damp and poorly built they are causing serious health problems, according to a significant new study.

    The problem with the houses - which are poorly insulated, some with black mould and potentially toxic air quality - could cost more than $20 billion to put right, say report authors.

    It is not just a problem with old homes. Many new homes and renovated homes lack adequate insulation, heating, ventilation and double-glazing, as builders and landlords invest their money instead in superficial improvements to increase houses' value.

    The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, which commissioned the survey of 3500 households, says the country is suffering a "massive" housing problem and it has called for law changes to bring homes up to scratch.

    Respondents said they and their children suffered from a wide range of illnesses, including sinus problems, mould allergies, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, caused by damp and badly insulated homes.

    Business Council chief executive Peter Neilson says, "Talk to anyone coming to New Zealand and they say they have never been colder in homes."

    The problem has been made worse by rising electricity costs. People responding to the survey said they had been forced to move into the lounge during winter to keep warm; and mould and damp had caused their children to be repeatedly admitted to hospital with respiratory and other health problems.

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    I agree with this article. When we had to find a house before our furniture arrived, we signed a contract for a newer house in Lower Hutt, Wellington. We were thinking that there is enough insulation and enough against the damp. But when it got colder in May we were freezing and our windows were all wet. In July, August and September it was only 8 degrees! For sure we bougth heaters but our baby was anyway always sick. When our contract ends in February we move to a "healthy" house.
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    Subsidy aims to keep homes warm and dry
    4:00AM Monday Dec 01, 2008

    More New Zealand homes will be warm and dry next winter because of an insulation funding programme.

    The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority said more than 900,000 homes had inadequate or no insulation.

    Many were so cold and damp in winter that they fell below temperatures recommended by the World Health Organisation.

    The authority is giving qualifying homeowners the opportunity to get a third off the cost of insulation and other energy-efficiency measures, capped at $1125.

    Apart from the health implications, insulation also helps conserve energy by keeping more warm air inside.

    Homeowners can apply for the grant to cover some of the insulation costs, or for subsidised interest on loans to carry out the work. To qualify their house must be built before 2000, and the homeowner's annual income must be less than $100,000 for one or two earners, or less than $140,000 for three or more earners.

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    Cool - thanks for that MB, I might look into that.

    I think our house was build in 1990ish, and although we have some wall and ceiling insulation, more can't hurt eh?
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