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Ngā tohutohu hei whakarite whare hauora, whai pūngao hoki

Tips to create a healthy, energy-efficient home

​Top tips to make your house warmer, drier and more energy-efficient



  • Trim trees or plants that are blocking any windows, and make sure your curtains are open all day to take advantage of the sun in winter.


  • Check your ceiling and underfloor insulation: if you can see the ceiling joists inside the roof cavity, or any gaps in the insulation, it needs to be topped up – see GenLess website for assessing ceiling and underfloor insulation.
  • Stop draughts: make sure your doors and windows fit their frames properly, block up old fireplaces, and use draught-stopping tape or seal and draught excluders. Watch the video on reducing home heat loss.

  • Install lined curtains that reach to the floor, and are covered by a pelmet or face-fitting tracks at the top. This can be as effective as double glazing – see for more information.


  • Set your heating system to 18 degrees in the bedroom, and 21 degrees in the living room. Invest in a plug-in thermostat for heating appliances to keep you warm and healthy without wasting energy.
  • Make sure your heating system is clean and efficient. Clean your heat pump's filter regularly, and have your chimney or flue swept once a year.
  • Replace your inefficient and costly unflued gas heater. Choose your new heating method after comparing the different options.

Managing moisture

  • Watch video on fixing home dampness.
  • Get externally ducted extractor fans for your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Dry clothes outside, or use a drier for a short amount of time (this is more efficient than using a dehumidifier).
  • Put down a groundsheet under the floor to help with rising damp - guidelines for this project are available online.
  • Wipe condensation off your windows in the morning.
  • Open your windows for at least 20 minutes a day.

Hot water

  • Check your shower's flow rate – if it fills a 10L bucket in less than a minute, it's wasting water.
  • Consider a water-efficient shower head or a flow control disc to keep the flow rate to 9L/minute.
  • Consider installing a flow restrictor or low-flow showerhead.
  • Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes, either with a cylinder wrap or some old blankets.

Lighting and appliances

  • Wash clothes in cold water.
  • When replacing an appliance, choose the model with most energy efficiency stars.
  • Hang washing outside instead of using the dryer.
  • Turn appliances off at the wall when not in use.
  • Choose energy efficient lightbulbs.     

More information

For more information, see our Sustainable Home Design Guide.

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