Molly’s new snug home

Central Leader - - News -

Asthma suf­ferer Molly Thompson- McVi c a r used to be a reg­u­lar at Star­ship’s emer­gency de­part­ment.

The seven-year-old also has se­vere al­ler­gies and when win­ter ar­rived so did the at­tacks. She would use Ven­tolin and steroids to help her breathe.

But that all changed in 2006 when Molly’s mother Jane Thompson heard about fund­ing for home in­su­la­tion.

Their rented Mt Eden villa was cold and damp but was fit­ted with in­su­la­tion un­der the Snug Homes for Auck­land Project – part of the En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity’s na­tion­wide En­er­gy­wise pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme, de­signed to help those on low in­comes liv­ing in pre-1977 houses – with pri­or­ity given to peo­ple with health is­sues – saw lay­ers of re­flec­tive alu­minium foil in­stalled un­der-floor, and in­su­la­tion put in the ceil­ing.

Lit­tle Molly has had only one ma­jor asthma at­tack and one day off school since then.

“I’m just glad. I would hate to think what it would be like with­out it,” says Ms Thompson.

She says par­ents with sick chil­dren should con­sider in­su­la­tion.

“There must be a lot of chil­dren out there suf­fer­ing be­cause their homes are cold and damp.”

Author­ity head Mike Un­der­hill says stud­ies have shown one in four Kiwi chil­dren suf­fers from asthma – one of the high­est rates in the world, and one of the main rea­sons why chil­dren end up in hospi­tal.

“We know houses with in­suf­fi­cient in­su­la­tion and poor heat­ing are un­com­fort­able and un­healthy to live in. That has a far-reach­ing ef­fect be­cause it so of­ten leads to gen­eral ill health and res­pi­ra­tory sick­ness, in­clud­ing asthma, as well as en­ergy waste and higher power bills,” says Mr Un­der­hill.

A Welling­ton School of Medicine study shows in­su­lated, draught­stopped homes heated with ef­fi­cient and clean heat­ing op­tions such as heat pumps or flued gas ap­pli­ances, im­prove the health and com­fort of the oc­cu­pants.

Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager Gerda Kuschel says in­su­lat­ing homes makes good sense for lots of rea­sons – hu­man health, air qual­ity and your wal­let.

“Win­ter is tra­di­tion­ally the worst time in Auck­land for air qual­ity. It’s a dou­ble whammy when it gets cold. Peo­ple start light­ing their fires and that causes more air pol­lu­tion.”

Grants are avail­able for home­own­ers and land­lords to help with in­stalling in­su­la­tion, clean heat­ing sys­tems, gen­eral en­ergy ef­fi­ciency mea­sures and so­lar wa­ter heat­ing. Visit www. en­er­gy­wise.govt.nz or call 0800-749-782.

Happy home: Jane Thompson reads for her daugh­ter Molly Thomp­sonMcVicar.

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