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ENERGY STAR set to end

The ENERGY STAR scheme, whose mark can be found on products and appliances that have superior energy efficiency, is to end in December 2017.

Products and appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label range from windows, solar water heaters and heat pumps through to washing machines, dishwashers and fridge/freezers.

When it announced the end of the scheme, EECA (the government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) said that while public recognition of the label was high, it wasn’t leading to more people buying high performing products.

Market research revealed that people want more in-depth information, such as the comparison of running costs that is behind the Energy Rating Labels on appliances. EECA is responding by developing an online tool to help people find energy efficient products that includes performance considerations.


Retrofitted apartment performance

BRANZ has released a report detailing the performance achieved in an apartment block retrofit.

Retrofit performance measurement of Kotuku Apartments reports on the upgrading of four Wellington City Council apartment blocks over 2014–2017. Experiments were carried out on the site to assess comfort, cost and liveability.

The work found that there were marked improvements in whole-building thermal performance. The heat loss of wall elements has reduced considerably. There was also an improvement in the thermal comfort in individual apartments.

The new showers were found to provide a considerably better user experience while not increasing hot water costs significantly.

SR 369 (2017) Retrofit performance measurement of Kotuku Apartments can be downloaded here.


Poor maintenance of rental housing

Rental properties were twice as likely to be rated “poorly maintained” compared to owner-occupied houses in the latest BRANZ House Condition Survey.

The BRANZ House Condition Survey has been conducted roughly every 5 years since 1994. In 2010 rental properties were included for the first time, and a gap was found between the maintenance levels of owner-occupied and rental properties, with the maintenance of rental properties being noticeably poorer. Analysis of the latest (2015/16) survey data has found the pattern again.

Of the 560 houses examined, rental homes overall were in poorer condition both inside and out. The gap between rental and owner-occupied was widest for interior linings and fittings and exterior doors and windows. A slightly higher prevalence of mould was seen in rental properties.

The study report with the details of the survey can be downloaded here.