NZ House & Garden - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

Once the great ma­jor­ity of Ki­wis lived in homes that were poorly in­su­lated and ex­pen­sive to heat; the cold war was on our doorstep, our com­fort zones vul­ner­a­ble to attack. Hap­pily, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion in the heat­ing arena has moved on ex­po­nen­tially in re­cent times, so the thought of win­ter no longer has us shak­ing in our boots. We take a look at what was, and what is, in this spe­cial fea­ture.

Some 10 years ago, when heat pumps were in­tro­duced to New Zealand, they were called re­verse cy­cle air con­di­tion­ers (not a very catchy mar­ket­ing moniker). Early mod­els were much less ef­fi­cient, un­til the En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity (EECA) set new stan­dards that re­moved the worst-per­form­ing prod­ucts from the shelves. EECA’s ef­fi­cient prod­ucts manager, Ed­die Thomp­son, says a typ­i­cal 10-year-old heat pump would cost you about $340 a year to run.

Th­ese days a typ­i­cal heat pump costs about $250 a year in run­ning costs, with some En­ergy Star-qual­i­fied mod­els run­ning as low as $180 a year – al­most half what they chewed through a decade ago. EECA es­ti­mates that en­ergy ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments in heat pumps achieved through reg­u­la­tion, in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns and tech­ni­cal im­prove­ments have re­sulted in $136 mil­lion in en­ergy sav­ings to date.

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