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1 Introduction

The Ministry for the Environment has set up the Warm Homes project to examine ways to encourage New Zealand households to move to cleaner heating sources and increase household energy efficiency, with the overall aim of encouraging warmer, healthier homes.

EnergyConsult Pty Ltd and Strategic Energy Ltd have been contracted to provide information on different home heating options and their costs and benefits through:

  • a review of current literature on home heating
  • development of an Excel model to be used as the framework for evaluating different heating sources
  • a rating of home-heating types, by specified criteria
  • case studies based on different areas of New Zealand, different household types and a range of heating patterns.

This phase 1 report includes the results of the review of current literature on home heating. The focus is on the technical and financial aspects; social studies of heating choice and incentives for behaviour change are to be incorporated in a separately commissioned report on social drivers.

In this report, fuel poverty [A household is in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use (DEFRA, 2001).] is considered in the context of the relative operating costs of the various heating and fuel options that are evaluated. A heater with a high operating cost per unit of heat delivered into the room will contribute more to fuel poverty than a more economical heating option.