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Winter Warmers Action Kit Feeling the freeze? Find out the facts and get some tips on how to warm up this winter – at work and at home – while keeping your energy consumption as efficient as possible. While it’s tempting to take off for the Gold Coast, or crank up the fan heater, we’re better off going for smarter solutions that will keep us cosy, cut our power bills and reduce carbon emissions.

ACTION@HOME 1. Insulate, insulate, insulate! And save up to $1300 thanks to the government. While it might be friendly to heat the whole neighbourhood, it’ll be expensive, so make sure your heat stays inside your house. The government’s insulation subsidy scheme now covers pretty much everyone – why not take advantage of it? Go to If you can’t afford to insulate try to at least reduce heat loss through windows, doors and gaps: n Get thick, thermal curtains, or sew an old blanket onto thin ones n Use the old draft-stopper sausage under the door n Use sticky draft strips around door and window frames

2. Chose the right heater (but insulate first!) It will all depend what space you are heating and how you use those rooms. Roughly speaking: n AMONGST THE BEST: heat pumps, modern wood burners and wood pellet

burners, electric oil radiators on thermostat. n AMONST THE WORST WORST: unflued gas heaters, open fires, electric fan


Check out for more detailed information.

FACT SPOT n The ideal temperature setting for your hot water cylinder is 60°C to kill bacteria - any higher is a waste of energy. n The recommended max is 55°C at the tap for showers, baths and hand basins or 45°C where children or other vulnerable people use it.

FACT SPOT n The World Health Organisation suggests a minimum temperature of 18°C in living areas and 16°C in bedrooms - during winter many New Zealand houses are heated to well below this level. n More than 900,000 New Zealand homes have substandard insulation, that’s nearly 60% of all our homes. n Heating (and cooling) accounts for nearly 35% of all energy consumed by a typical New Zealand home.

3. Cheap tricks with appliances n Love a hot shower? – great, but if your shower fills a 10L bucket in less

n n n n

than 1 minute it will be using too much hot water. Get a low-flow shower head. Love a blankie? – so does your hot-water cylinder. Cylinder and pipe wraps will keep the water warmer longer, using less power. Love a warm towel? – all good, but don’t leave the heated towel rail on all day. Love a cold beer? -yeah, but not in winter. Turn off the beer fridge, and leave your tipple in a cool garage or basement instead. Love the remote? – don’t we all, but it won’t kill you to switch the telly and stereo off as you are passing. Those little standby lights don’t keep you warm but they do cost you money.

ACTION@WORK 1. Bring your good habits to work.

2. Share and swap tips with your colleagues.

Bring all the energy efficient ideas from home to work – especially ones you are already in the habit of using.

- Show this video during a break or email it around your colleagues.

By helping your place of work use energy efficiently, you and all your colleagues can benefit. Check with your supervisor or building manger that your workplace has: n Adequate insulation, or blinds and curtains that can be drawn to retain heat. n Draft excluders installed on doors and windows. n Heating that is suitable for the space and type of work required and not left on when the building is closed. Turning the thermostat down 1 or 2 degrees can save energy without feeling any cooler. n Hot water that’s not too hot it can be dangerous as well as wasteful.

IF YOU ARE REALLY KEEN n Look out for the government’s

revised New Zealand Energy Strategy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy due out in late July.

n Watch the media for reports, or

read the papers ( nz ) to make sure they are keeping New Zealand on track to lower our emissions. This means developing the renewable energy sector instead of building more fossil generation, and implementing policies to help New Zealanders minimise their emissions.

n If not up to scratch, make a

submission to the government consultation on these papers. tabid/367/articleID/160009/Default. aspx - Share the great news about insulation subsidies– email around this link: http://www.energywise.govt. nz/funding-available/insulationand-clean-heating. - Have a HOT CURRY shared lunch – warm up with some spicy food and share these Action Kit ideas.

3. Switch off what you can There are plenty of appliances in the workplace that can be used more wisely to save energy. This action won’t keep you warmer but it will make your workplace more energy efficient and give you a warm glow of satisfaction! - Switch OFF your PC and monitor at the end of the day, or whenever you’re out of the office – it will do it no harm.

- Switch off lights – or see about having sensors installed – in rooms that aren’t often used. - Activate “sleep mode” on copiers and printers so they save their own power. - Check the power management functions on your PC. Tip – screen savers don’t save power.

FACT SPOT n Renewable energy generates around two thirds of our electricity in New Zealand, BUT watching our consumption is still important. n Peak demand on winter evenings usually sees more gas-fired power stations kick in to deal with the load. n Our electricity needs are set to increase – it makes sense to use our own abundant renewable resources rather than rely on polluting fossil fuels.

ACTION@COMMUNITY 1. Habitat for Humanity is a not-for-profit that works to eliminate substandard housing worldwide. In New Zealand their work helps at-risk families by building and upgrading homes that are better insulated and heated. Your can volunteer your skills or donate to this good cause. Go to for more information. 2. Curtain Banks operate all across NZ (a quick Google search will bring them up) Donate any old thick curtains (cleaned) to a curtain bank or charity shop to be used by others in need. 3. Check on your neighbours – especially if they are old or live alone. Helping them heat they homes effectively will keep them comfortable, healthy, and able to manage their power bills. 4. Share the ideas in this Action Kit. Check with your school, sport centre, or church leaders if they want any help with efficient heating.

Published by the PSA, PO Box 3817, Wellington. Phone 058 367 772. Email

Winter Warmers  

Union Climate Action

Winter Warmers  

Union Climate Action