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Kiwis adopt novel ways to keep warm

A new survey reveals many homes are in such bad shape they cause health problems. The survey reveals novel approaches to staying warm in bed at night. While most respondents said they throw a few extra blankets on the bed (61%), many choose to wear warm socks (37%), flannel pyjamas (29%) and even a beanie (8%) during winter. 

About 11% of people sleep with their head under the duvet to stay warm, which was a particularly popular heating method among renters. 

And then there were the more adventurous winter warming ploys such as one woman “trying to persuade my husband to go to bed early, and another person who sleeps naked all year round because their waterbed is constantly warm.

The State of the Home Survey by research company Buzz Channel found more than half of respondents say they suffer in some way due to the state of their home This includes stress levels and health problems, higher power bills and high numbers of sick days. 

The survey was commissioned by heating company HRV.

Almost a third of those surveyed said mould, dampness and condensation affected their health, 58% suffered stress, and 32% faced increased heating costs and higher power bills. 

One in five tenants had moved out of a house because it was cold, damp or mouldy, and almost 60% of renters surveyed say they moved out of a house because it was unhealthy.

Mould is prevalent in 59% of homes and condensation in 31%.

A quarter had curtains, carpets, clothes and other property damage due to mould, dampness and condensation.

About 37% were concerned about heavy metals in water, followed by sediment (28%) and chlorine (25%).

Another blanket is the preference for 61% if they are cold at night, rather than turn on a heating source. Almost two-thirds of people would be happy to have their home undergo a housing warrant of fitness. 

Comments and questions

Our hydro power system was built and paid for by the NZ taxpayer so that it's citizens could have reasonably priced power for ever, a basic right since hydro energy is basically free. Unfortunately due to stupidity of various govts the system was semi privatised so we now have almost the most expensive power in the world. Our power is 3 times more expensive than in NSW Australia. It is a scandal that people can't afford to keep their home warm, a basic human right in a supposed first world country like ours. This should be an election issue, what is the point of anything if your citizens are too poor to be warm on freezing winter days.

Unfortunately, as power was so cheap etc, houses were built with no insulation for many years. Also focusing on increasing supply (rather than reducing demand through efficient energy use) brought more expensive gas and coal into the mix. The state even built a couple of oil fired stations (Marsden) that cost a lot and generated virtually nothing. Another fantastic idea was to make synthetic petrol from gas.....

Well that was the past - however surely it's time to really look at how much profit is being extracted for residential consumers vs industrial and commercial. And then to look at a demand response. At present grid supplied energy is a menace to residential consumers - hence the enthusiasm for PV etc. The market is delivering a solution that will benefit the rich (those who can minimise exposure to grid supplied energy costs) and the poor who will continue to pay through the nose - and freeze at the same time.

Hmm. Grew up in Chch in an old villa. Ice on the inside of the window every winter morning was normal. Heating was a wetback coke open fire in the dining room and a 1kw radiant heater to get dressed by. No suggestion then this was unhealthy. Nor that power was cheap.

Thanks for your reply, houses were built as cheaply as possible to qualify for the 3% loan and capitalising the family benefit in those early days That is why there were so many now substandard homes constructed not necessarily because power was cheap. A lack of building regulation requiring insulation and double glazed windows also contributed. Good that we are reflecting on it though maybe someone will learn from past experience.

You know what pretty much **all** the capital expenditure of the past 15 years on power generation has been? Useless, expensive windmills which have far and away the highest per-watt cost of any power source.

Needing to get a return on these expensive time-wasters is why our powerbills have gone up so massively - almost 200% in my case between 2000 and 2009 without any changes in power consumption.

A good wind farm site with a good wind regime and close to a demand centre is actually one of the most cost competitive forms of power generation in NZ - up there with brownfield geothermal generation. We are a country that is consistently windy and it makes sense to make the most of that.

There is a study that suggests some of the large scale south island hydro projects have in fact been very expensive in terms of whole of life cost. Not only do they impact the local environment massively but they are typically located a long way from demand centres meaning there are high losses transporting the power to where its needed.

With so much "energy poverty" apparent in New Zealand, it is astonishing that we are persisting with world's only national energy tax scheme (ETS).

With both Labour and the Greens proposing substantial rises in the ETS, it's not surprising that they would rather talk about "dirty politics" than their policy platforms.

Valentino clearly pays no power bills in Australia which is significantly more expensive than NZ to my certain knowledge