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What's New


BRANZ Insulation Guide updated

New wall and roof options.

An updated version of the BRANZ House Insulation Guide 6th edition was released in August.

Version updates include:

  • extra options for secondary insulation layers
  • polyester and wool material options have been added to roof edge insulation compression
  • more options for the wall makeup
  • two insulation layer option for roof space insulation.

The Guide is available in PC, Mac and Online versions, with an explanatory text document separately downloadable.

22 September 2023




Boom for solar generation forecast

Solar farms coming.

The 296 MW of currently installed solar generation in New Zealand is about to expand rapidly, not only with new rooftop solar systems but with two small solar farms.The Electricity Authority says that all the current solar installations that export surplus electricity feed into their local distribution networks (‘distributed generation’) rather than connecting directly to the national grid. Some of the solar farms under construction or being planned will connect directly to the grid.The solar farms and ongoing rooftop installations could add 120 MW in the next year or so – a big increase to existing capacity.A 2023 report by Transpower says that grid-scale solar could rapidly outpace distributed solar in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Solar generation has zero greenhouse gas emissions while it is generating electricity but the intermittent nature of solar and wind generation mean that other generation or storage technologies are required. You can find details of how this can be managed on this recent Electricity Authority web page

    22 September 2023




    Insurers influence construction locations

    Responding to flood risk.

    House insurers are expanding risk-based insurance pricing, partly with the intention of discouraging people from building or buying homes in areas at risk of natural hazards. One insurer has announced it will no longer cover some homes at high risk of damage from future weather events.

    This year several insurance companies have introduced or broadened systems allowing them to risk-rate individual homes for natural hazards such as flooding. For example, Tower customers receive a low, medium or high rating for their home, reflecting the potential risk of a flood. Tower says that its modelling means it can predict the impact on an individual property based on how it is constructed, its height, number of floors and materials.

    In addition to flood risk, some companies are also developing tools to account for landslide and coastal hazard risks that are being made worse by climate change.

    One MBIE-funded research project found that some home would be effectively uninsurable from 2030, with a conservative estimate of 10,000 homes in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin being uninsurable by 2050.

    In September, the insurer IAG said that it would not offer ongoing insurance for properties in Category 3, those at high risk of damage from future weather events. The category framework was developed by the government following major weather events in early 2023.

    21 August 2023





    Promoting batteries for PV systems

    Should the government help?

    A recent government consultation document, Measures For Transition To An Expanded And Highly Renewable Electricity System, asks whether government should do more to encourage households to install batteries to store electricity.

    The document points out that in Australia, nearly a third of all households have solar energy systems. Battery system uptake is also growing fast there, with over 180,000 households reported to have a local storage system as at March 2023. Many Australian states also regulate feed-in tariffs, the minimum rates electricity retailers pay households for electricity that households exported to the grid.

    Submissions are open until 2 November. You can find more details about the document Measures For Transition To An Expanded And Highly Renewable Electricity System here.

    22 September 2023




    Will NZ be the last country

    Selling incandescent bulbs?

    Since 1 August, Americans have no longer been able to buy incandescent light bulbs. From Nepal to North Korea, Cuba to Chile, Ecuador to the European Union, the wildly inefficient bulbs have been banned from sale in a wide range of countries. But not New Zealand.

    The problem is that incandescent lamps (which have a wire filament that is heated until it gives off light) are basically the same today as when they were invented over 100 years ago. Most of their energy output is radiated as heat rather than light. In comparison, LEDs are typically 75–80% more efficient. Around 13% of the energy consumed in New Zealand homes is used by lighting.

    There have been government-funded programmes in New Zealand encouraging the uptake of LED bulbs, but no ban in incandescent bulbs, which are still widely available and widely sold.

    22 September 2023