The case for policy changes in New Zealand housing standards due to cooling and climate change

Byrd, Hugh (2012) The case for policy changes in New Zealand housing standards due to cooling and climate change. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 14 (4). pp. 360-370. ISSN 1523-908X

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2012.719693

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Research concerned with energy and housing in NZ has been focusing on the
cost-effectiveness of maintaining warmth. Studies have concentrated on heat loss from
houses and the efficiency of heating systems. One of the consequences of this has been
Government subsidies for insulation and heat pump installations to reduce energy
consumption in winter months. This has led to a significant growth in the heat pump
market. Research indicates that these devices are not significantly decreasing the
demand for electricity in winter. Of greater concern is that there is an increase in
demand for electricity for cooling purposes which introduces a new and significant
electrical load in the summer. This paper will analyse the research currently being
undertaken on the long-term impact of both climate change and energy depletion and
the consequences for Building Code standards and ‘sustainability’ rating tools for
housing. The paper concludes that policy should be directed at long-lasting improvements
to the fabric of houses rather than subsidizing short-lived equipment that not only
increases electricity consumption, but also does not allow the human body the ability to
adapt over time to the predicted increased average temperatures in New Zealand.

Additional Information:ABSTRACT Research concerned with energy and housing in NZ has been focusing on the cost-effectiveness of maintaining warmth. Studies have concentrated on heat loss from houses and the efficiency of heating systems. One of the consequences of this has been Government subsidies for insulation and heat pump installations to reduce energy consumption in winter months. This has led to a significant growth in the heat pump market. Research indicates that these devices are not significantly decreasing the demand for electricity in winter. Of greater concern is that there is an increase in demand for electricity for cooling purposes which introduces a new and significant electrical load in the summer. This paper will analyse the research currently being undertaken on the long-term impact of both climate change and energy depletion and the consequences for Building Code standards and ‘sustainability’ rating tools for housing. The paper concludes that policy should be directed at long-lasting improvements to the fabric of houses rather than subsidizing short-lived equipment that not only increases electricity consumption, but also does not allow the human body the ability to adapt over time to the predicted increased average temperatures in New Zealand.
Keywords:Heat pumps, climate change, electricity demand, cooling addiction
Subjects:H Engineering > H223 Environmental Impact Assessment
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K130 Architectural Technology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:7585
Deposited On:20 Feb 2013 12:54

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