Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart - a critical overview

Byrd, Hugh and Matthewman, Steve (2012) Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart - a critical overview. New Zealand Sociology, 27 (2). pp. 53-74. ISSN 0112-921X

Documents
Byrd_&_Matthewman.pdf

Request a copy
[img] PDF
Byrd_&_Matthewman.pdf - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

882kB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This article is intended as a contribution to the embryonic sociology
of energy and infrastructure. To do so it focuses on New Zealand (and
one policy in particular – Warm Up New Zealand), but it also makes
connections to relevant issues and literatures across the globe. The
article looks at the research currently being undertaken on the longterm
impact of both climate change and energy depletion and the
consequences for Building Code standards and ‘sustainability’ rating
tools for housing. Research concerned with energy and housing in
New Zealand has focussed 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 increase energy efficiency – Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart.
This has helped to foster significant growth in the heat-pump market.
We consider some of this policy’s effects. Heat-pump technologies
have two unanticipated “take-backs”. Research indicates that heatpumps
are not significantly decreasing the demand for electricity in
the winter. Of greater concern is that there is increased demand for
electricity for cooling purposes which introduces a new and
significant electrical load during the summer. We conclude that policy
should more properly be directed at long-lasting improvements to the
fabric of houses rather than subsidising 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:This article is intended as a contribution to the embryonic sociology of energy and infrastructure. To do so it focuses on New Zealand (and one policy in particular – Warm Up New Zealand), but it also makes connections to relevant issues and literatures across the globe. The article looks at the research currently being undertaken on the longterm impact of both climate change and energy depletion and the consequences for Building Code standards and ‘sustainability’ rating tools for housing. Research concerned with energy and housing in New Zealand has focussed 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 increase energy efficiency – Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart. This has helped to foster significant growth in the heat-pump market. We consider some of this policy’s effects. Heat-pump technologies have two unanticipated “take-backs”. Research indicates that heatpumps are not significantly decreasing the demand for electricity in the winter. Of greater concern is that there is increased demand for electricity for cooling purposes which introduces a new and significant electrical load during the summer. We conclude that policy should more properly be directed at long-lasting improvements to the fabric of houses rather than subsidising 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:Building code standards, government policy, unintended consequences, New Zealand
Subjects:L Social studies > L310 Applied Sociology
J Technologies > J910 Energy Technologies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:7823
Deposited On:05 Mar 2013 20:25

Repository Staff Only: item control page