EFFICIENCY ON THE RISE
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.