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Media Release

19th April 2021

Healthy Homes: Making energy work for whānau at home

A new online training course is available to support whānau well-being through informed conversations about household energy and healthy homes. The course is developed for those already working in the community, for example, providing health, financial or social services. The course was developed by the Home Performance Advisor (HPA) training programme and funded by the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) and Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ). The course draws on the whole of house science underpinning HPA’s existing classroom-based courses and provides trainees with comprehensive understanding of household energy (from the meter to the bill) and the link this has to health.

The four-week training schedule includes a series of videos, tasks and zoom calls that help unpack the complexity faced by many New Zealanders of high energy bills, poor housing, and health. It acknowledges those in the homes are often faced with challenges outside of their control i.e., high rents, low wages, poor housing quality, pressured housing market, challenging rental situations and a complex energy sector, so focuses on actions within reach of whānau in their homes to prioritise energy use for heating and health.

Trainees will be asked to carry out relevant actions in their own homes to experience the impact of redirecting energy spend, thereby developing genuine stories and tips to share with whānau. Trainees will also learn to recognise when issues in a home are beyond their capacity, prompting the need to draw on their community network to support whānau making energy work for them.

HPA co-manager and course project manager Vicki Cowan says, “Course development was through a co-design process with people working in the homes under an existing well-being service, this provided a robustness to the learning outcomes and delivery style. We understand the science, the people on the doorstep understand the communities they mahi in, this course brings those two things together in a way that is practical and meaningful for both the trainees and whānau in the home who will benefit from the shared knowledge.”

EECA CEO Andrew Caseley says, “Warm, healthy, energy-efficient homes are a key part of EECA’s work, but they’re also something every Kiwi should have. We’ve been pleased to support HPA’s community-based approach to home energy education, which will empower more New Zealanders to take control of their energy use and spend.”

BRANZ General Manager Research Chris Litten says, “BRANZ and HPA have a long history of working together to ensure advice to householders is consistent and evidence-based. We were pleased to be able to support the HPA team in developing this training course. BRANZ wants to see buildings that deliver better outcomes for all and this course will help enable more people to effectively manage their energy use, resulting in warmer, drier, healthier homes.”

Trainees receive a course manual and hygrometer/thermometer, a vital tool for monitoring conditions inside the home (relative humidity and temperature). A healthy home meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) minimum standard of 18oC indoor temperature (20oC for the sick, elderly or very young) and New Zealand standards of 40-60 per cent relative humidity.

The online course will run bi-monthly. The first two courses (starting 30th April 2021) are fully subscribed. The next start date is scheduled for 4th June 2021. Registration is online: follow the training link at https://homeperformanceadvisor.org.nz/ The cost to each participant is $400 + gst

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