Case Study

Warm Up NZ: Heat Smart

02 November 2014

Since the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme (WUNZ:HS) started in 2009, over 200,000 homes have been insulated as New Zealanders took advantage of the subsidies available. Overall, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) was looking to make New Zealand homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient. But was the scheme successful?

In 2010, a consortium of researchers from the He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme at Otago University, MOTU and Covec, were granted the opportunity to measure the scheme's success, analysing health, energy and employment outcomes and ultimately the cost benefit of the programme. And that's where PropertyIQ came in.

PropertyIQ was provided with address data for properties that had received WUNZ:HS subsidies for insulation or heat pumps. We then used our property information, such as age, size, construction materials and type of dwelling, to identify similar properties for the researchers to use as a control group.

We then also used our advanced address matching tool to match our data to Ministry of Health address data, as well as matching each property to an electricity meter ICP number. These matches allowed the researchers to analyse the scheme's before and after effects on mortality, hospitalisation, and prescription rates; and changes in energy consumption.

By analysing the health information before and after the programme as well as the energy usage trends for the same time period for both the houses that used the subsidy and the less insulated control properties, the research was able to conclude that there was a 4:1 benefit to cost ratio, and that the programme significantly improved health outcomes, reducing mortality, circulatory illness and respiratory illness including asthma This was especially pertinent as New Zealand has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the world.

Dr. Lucy Telfar-Barnard, Research Fellow at He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago:

"Government spending programmes as significant as WUNZ:HS demand rigorous evaluation. PropertyIQ's address and property information matching allowed our research team to use real health and energy data while retaining participant data anonymity. Without PropertyIQ's services our only other options would have been less robust, more expensive, more time-consuming, or all three."

"Also, working with PropertyIQ was by far the smoothest part of our data collection: they were fast, accurate, responsive, and not only immediately grasped what we needed, but were also able to suggest tweaks to improve the quality and usefulness of our dataset. I look forward to any opportunity to work with them again in future."

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