Loans for warmer city homes

About 192 Palmerston North homes could be better insulated this winter if ratepayers pick up a city council loan plan.

The Warm Up Palmy Home Insulation Scheme is being set up as a pilot plan designed to supplement the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority's grant scheme.

That scheme offers grants up to $1300 per home, for insulation solutions that cost an average of $3900.

The city council scheme would provide loans to make up the difference, which ratepayers would repay over nine years as part of their rates bill.

The council would borrow $500,000 to support the scheme, and charge interest rates to ensure it recovered all of that money.

The finance and performance committee recommended approval of the scheme at its monthly meeting yesterday.

Cr Annette Nixon said she welcomed the scheme as one of the first projects the council had embarked on to implement its domestic energy strategy.

It would help to be able to promote the city as a place with healthy homes, and would provide useful information about residents' needs and issues, she said.

Cr Chris Teo-Sherrell said it was encouraging that the council was doing something to improve the comfort and health of ratepayers.

The scheme is only available to people who are ratepayers, and the cost of borrowing from the council could be greater than a loan from the bank for some people.

People who were renting would depend on their landlords to provide insulation, either through the scheme or by arranging their own finance.

The scheme is in the council's Annual Plan for this year, but will need full council approval for the details of its operation.

The Manawatu Standard