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Published: 2010-03-24 00:00:00

Taupo resident “Christina” is enjoying a warmer, drier, healthier home, thanks to a clean heat conversion funded by Environment Waikato and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA).

Christina (not her real name) received a new low-emission woodburner to replace her smoky, inefficient woodburner as part of moves by EW and EECA to cut winter air pollution in the lakeside town and other Waikato centres.

She no longer has to use unflued gas heaters and expensive to run portable electric heaters to supplement the poorly performing old woodburner.

Her carpet isn’t wet and soggy anymore, and she is proud to invite people into her home.

Christina says her health and wellbeing has improved radically since these improvements to her home. Her grandson, who has birth defects and is in her care, has made rapid and heartwarming progress against milestones previously thought unattainable.

Before getting the new woodburner, Christina had ceiling and floor insulation installed, which has also helped to keep her home warm.

Funding is still available for eligible Taupo homeowners to have their older, less efficient, more polluting forms of heating, such as older-style wood fires, replaced with clean heat appliances.

EW is pitching in a total of $400,000 in the period to June 2011 to help stop health-threatening air pollution in Taupo, Tokoroa and Te Kuiti during winter. The move is designed to cut excessive amounts of air borne fine particles, known as PM10.

PM10 is carried in smoke from wood burning fires and is also emitted when wet wood is burned in more modern fireplaces. It is not visible to the human eye and is small enough to get into people’s lungs and cause serious health problems.

Eligible homeowners will receive new clean heating appliances, such as complying woodburners and heat pumps, that emit little or no PM10 into the air. The scheme is aimed primarily at low-income households as they are the ones who can have difficulty raising the funds to change heating systems.

Taupo homeowners wishing to enquire about their eligibility for the Waikato Clean Heat Programme can contact Energy Options on 0800 15 15 65.