Greater Wellington wins Community Award for pioneering rates scheme
The Community Award in the 2012 EECA Awards went to Greater Wellington Regional Council for its targeted rates initiative, helping make more than 3,500 homes in the region warmer and drier.
‘Warm Greater Wellington' was the first scheme of its type in the country to offer ratepayers funding to top-up the Government's Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart grant.
Homeowners repay the council over time through the rates bill, making the scheme cost-neutral, and encouraging greater take-up of home insulation among people who couldn't otherwise afford it.
Research shows that despite the partial Government assistance on offer, home insulation can still be too expensive for many. In tackling that financial barrier, the Council is making warmer, healthier homes more accessible for all households.
Not only has it been hugely popular in Wellington - helping insulate 3,500 homes - it's spawned similar schemes in five other regions around New Zealand. Aside from reduced heating costs, warm, well-insulated homes bring numerous community benefits: less hospital admissions, and less sick days off school and work.
The judges said: "This is a financial innovation that's proved so successful it's been picked up by other councils, enabling a greater number of homes to be insulated nationwide. They overcame the mentality that it was ‘too hard' and just made it happen."
The Community Award was presented in association with Principal sponsor Fujitsu General New Zealand. Also recognised in this category were:
- Tuwharetoa Settlement Trust - Highly Commended for a five year, $6.5m project that is helping insulate every homes belonging to members of the Tuwharetoa iwi
- Autex Industries - Commended for an ambitious project to insulate every home in the township of Foxton.
Across all 2012 EECA Awards entrants, the value of energy saved or generated over the life of the projects is $600 million, and the total CO2 emissions reduced or avoided is 1.7 million tonnes.