Media release

Otago home heating survey will inform new air strategy

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Findings from a survey of Otago people about their home heating attitudes and preferences will be incorporated into a strategy being developed by the Otago Regional Council to address air quality issues in the region.

The survey of 400 people was undertaken by Key Research last winter, to assess perceptions of air pollution and better understand home heating methods in Central Otago towns.

Some of the findings were:

  • A quarter of the respondents believe there is no air pollution problem
  • Cost is the biggest barrier to changing home heating to reduce air pollution
  • Electricity is the most popular heating source in Otago (65% of households), followed by wood/multi-fuel burners (62%)
  • Those living in uninsulated homes spend approximately $70 per month more on heating than those with insulated homes
  • When setting up a new home, an enclosed wood/multi-fuel burner is still the heating source most seriously considered and mostly likely to be selected, followed by electricity
  • Consumers most closely associate convenience as with electricity, while they associate affordability with enclosed burners.

Wood is the most commonly used type of fuel (95%) in an enclosed burner or open fire, with coal being used by just 9%.

Residents living in uninsulated homes spend approximately $321 on average a month to heat their homes, compared to residents in insulated homes who spend $251.

The survey results indicated that having heating that is ‘good for the environment’ is less important to respondents than:

  • Being safe and healthy for the family,
  • Providing warmth throughout the house
  • Being cheap to run and convenient to use.

Most respondents associate convenience with electricity, and affordability with enclosed burners.

ORC director policy planning and resource management Fraser McRae said this was all useful feedback which would provide valuable input into an air strategy the council is developing.

The strategy would outline proposals to manage air quality and reduce its harmful effects, particularly in Central Otago. It would focus on how ORC intends to work with key stakeholders and the wider community to ensure good air quality and that the requirements of the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality, which sets guaranteed minimum levels of health protection for New Zealanders, are met.

The full survey results are available at: under the heading June Agendas and Reports.

For further information contact

Fraser McRae
Director policy planning and resource management
Ph 0800 474082 or 0274 900903

ORC communications contact

Mark Peart
Team Leader Communications – Channels
Ph 0800 474082 or 027 5312620