Waitaki District Libraries and Network Waitaki have joined forces to help residents save money and make their homes warmer and drier.
The Healthy Home Toolbox was officially launched on Wednesday and can now be borrowed — just like a book — from any of the Waitaki District Libraries branches.
Each kit includes tools to measure air temperature and moisture levels, find heat loss due to poor insulation or air leaks, measure water temperature and flow, and check the moisture levels of firewood and the power consumption of appliances.
Network Waitaki chief executive Geoff Douch said the district had a lot of older housing stock, compared with other regions of New Zealand. Many homes were poorly insulated, leading to cold, damp conditions that impacted health and wellbeing, and resulted in higher energy costs.
A lot of Waitaki residents were also on lower or fixed incomes, and giving people the tools and information on how to use electricity efficiently was important to the consumer trust-owned company, Mr Douch said.
‘‘This initiative will give people the tools to check their homes and make sure they aren’t using unnecessary power to keep their homes warm and dry,’’ he said.
Waitaki District Council chief executive Alex Parmley said every household in the district was facing increasing pressure as a result of rising costs.
‘‘I am really pleased that our libraries, working with and supported by Network Waitaki, are able to offer this new service,’’ Mr Parmley said.
After trialling one of the new toolboxes in his own home, Mr Parmley said it helped identify where money could be saved on energy costs, ‘‘helping you have a healthy home and lower your impact on the environment’’.
The kits also include instructions on how to use each device, what the measurements mean, suggested actions and cost saving tips, and a record book to record measurements and energy saving actions for future reference.
‘‘I hope all our residents consider using the kits and take up the opportunity to lower their energy use and costs.’’
The collaboration between Waitaki District Libraries and Network Waitaki came about after libraries manager Jenny Bean met Network Waitaki customer and community relations manager Michelle MacLean through Stronger Waitaki.
After listening to a story on Radio New Zealand about a similar project in Masterton, Ms Bean was inspired to do something locally and reached out to Ms MacLean. They have been working together for the past six months to bring the initiative to life.
‘‘Along with library staff and our chief executive Alex Parmley, who have been testing the kits, the Network Waitaki team have completed a huge amount of work to get this off the ground and we are very appreciative of their support,’’ Ms Bean said.
The Oamaru Public Library has two toolboxes, and all other library branches across the district have one each. The toolboxes are free to borrow.