13 February 2017
Making the move to cleaner home heating will become easier for Gore residents from today with the start of the Clean Air Loans Gore Scheme.
Gore residents who live within the designated airshed will be able to apply for an interest free loan of up to $5,000 to install approved clean heating options and insulate their homes.
Environment Southland has committed $140,000 per year for the next three years for the heating scheme and the Gore District Council has set aside $50,000 for a loan pilot scheme to provide insulation.
The interest free loans are designed to assist those people in the Gore airshed who will be required to upgrade their heating systems to comply with the Southland Regional Air Plan.
The plan was adopted by Environment Southland as a move towards improving air quality and meeting the Government’s health-inspired National Environmental Standards for Air Quality. It has already seen the phasing out of open fires, which can no longer be used in the Invercargill and Gore airsheds. Other non-compliant burners in these areas will be phased out over the next 18 years.
Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said helping people make the move to cleaner heating will benefit the whole community, as everybody benefits from breathing clean air and having warm homes.
“We understand that making the changes to home heating isn’t easy and this loan scheme is one way we can assist.”
Applications for the scheme must be made through Awarua Synergy and repayment will be collected by the Gore District Council via direct debit.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said his council’s supported the interest free loan for insulation was to ensure the benefits of any new heating systems were not lost through poor insulation.
“This scheme opens an opportunity for lower income families to improve their home, making it a warmer and healthier place to live.”
Awarua Synergy manager Sumaria Beaton said anybody who lives within the Gore airshed and has a non-compliant burner or open fire can apply if they are a Gore District Council ratepayer and don’t have any rates in arrears. They can borrow up to $5,000, which will be paid back over a five-year period.
As part of the application process, the team from Awarua Synergy will work with the homeowner to establish the most efficient and effective form of clean heating for their home.
“It’s important that people are guided to get the best heating for their homes. Every house and every family’s needs and lifestyles are different and we need to find a heat source that will give them the best result,” she said.
Having a clean form of heating is one of the most important ways people can contribute to improving air quality, but they can also help by burning only dry wood and keeping their burner well maintained.