Our Wellington

News | 9 March 2021

Save with a free home energy assessment

Wellingtonians keen to know how energy efficient their home is, are signing up to Wellington City Council’s Home Energy Saver programme.

Home Performance Advisor Craig Auty, from Sustainability Trust, assessing a light blue house on its energy consumption.

The programme, which has been running for eight years, is part of the Council’s Te Atakura – First to Zero Plan and offers local ratepayers a free home assessment by the Sustainability Trust.

The Trust will do a thorough walkthrough of your home and look at lighting, heating, insulation and ventilation, check for any moisture and draught issues and identify ways to minimise water and energy use.

We joined Home Performance Advisor Craig Auty (pictured) during his two-hour assessment of Dianne Laws’ home in Newtown where he checked every nook and cranny. He looked at Dianne’s shower to check the waterflow, looked at her heat pump settings and even explored the drains.

After Craig finished his assessment, he wrote Dianne a full report and personalised action plan to help her create a greater energy efficient and sustainable home. Included in the report are quotes and further information about subsidies and other finance options available, as well as answer’s to Dianne’s questions.

“I love how the assessment was all done in one chunk with no fuss, and the report’s so easy to understand,” Dianne says.

“I had no idea there are so many little changes that can make such a big difference. I’ll definitely be making some changes and taking up advice I’ve gotten from Craig.”

Home Performance Advisor Craig Auty, of Sustainability Trust, sitting at a wooden table in a stylish blue room, with his report on the house's energy efficiency.

Here are some easy energy-saving changes you can make:

  • Drying your clothes – It’s a common misconception that if it’s a rainy day and you can’t dry your clothes outside you save power and money by drying your clothes indoors on a clothes rack. You actually save more money and power by using a dryer, estimated to cost $1 per cycle. Drying clothes inside increases condensation, which can make your home damper leading to greater power usage.
  • Check your curtains – Having the right curtains can make a big difference to your power bill. You can lose up to 45 percent of your heat through your windows if they are not properly insulated. Heavy lined, double-layered or thermal backed curtains will keep the warmth in and provide better insulation. No curtains? No problem! The Sustainable Trust has a curtain bank – find out more here.
  • Double glazing isn’t your only option – There are some great budget friendly alternatives to help keep heat in. You can use window film kits to create warmer air pockets, which cost about $200 to cover an average two-bedroom home. This is a good temporary alternative to double glazing.
  • Hit the lights – Switching to LED lights will help you save money as they use up to 85% less energy than standard incandescent lightbulbs.
  • Keep your heat pump in check – If your home has a heat pump don’t be tempted to turn it up to 30°. It’s recommended that you keep your heat pump at 22° as dialing up the temperature won’t make your home any warmer, and a heat pump at 26° uses 50% more power than a heat pump at 22°. 
  • Kitchen tips – Make sure your kitchen has an extraction fan, put the lid on your pots when cooking and check your fridge/freezer as some fridges over 10 years old can cost at least twice as much to run.
  • Water – A suitable “low flow” shower head can make the world of difference in keeping your water usage down. Check your shower flow by getting a standard 10 litre bucket and run your shower for one minute. If the bucket fills up in under a minute, your shower flow is too high. You can save $150 per person per year with a low flowing shower head so head to the  Sustainability Trust eco shop for a water-saving shower head.

A big thanks to Craig and Dianne for letting us share the home assessment experience.

You can sign up to book your own Home Energy Saver Assessment with the Sustainability Trust.

If you rent your home, talk to your landlord about signing up for a free assessment.