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Auckland Council

Air quality and home heating (December 2016)

​About this survey

Respondents: 4318

We want to ensure Auckland's natural environment remains healthy, resilient and protected for current and future generations.

This involves managing and controlling discharges of contaminants to the air and ensuring that the region's outdoor air is clean and healthy to breathe.

In June 2016, we asked the panel about:

  • their views on Auckland's air quality, including how smoke might affect air quality
  • home heating methods, including solid fuel burners and insulation
  • awareness of different financial assistance programmes available.

We will use the findings from this survey (along with other research and information gathering activities) to shape the policies and rules that manage the city's air quality.

We are also using the results to track and improve Auckland's air quality over time.

Key findings

Auckland's natural environment

  • Almost all panelists were concerned about 'water pollution', 'loss of streams, wetlands, bush, and forests', and 'loss of native animals, and plants'.
  • Air pollution from traffic and industry was also a significant concern, as was waste disposal.

Auckland's air quality

  • Overall, panelists were positive about air quality in their neighbourhood.
  • Most said air quality was not often affected by smoke.

Home heating

  • The most commonly used methods to heat the home were electric heaters, heat pumps, and wood burners.
  • Heat pumps are used by panelists to heat the main living area in their home as they are easy to use, efficient, and easy to control, while electric heaters are used as they are easy to use and control, and are portable.
  • While many did not have concerns about the heat pump they used, two fifths were concerned that it would not work in a power cut.
  • The main concerns for those using electric heaters included the cost to run them, and also not working in a power cut.

Solid fuel burners

  • A wood burner was the most popular solid fuel burning appliance used by panelists in their main living area.
  • Among those currently using a wood burner, open fire or multi-fuel burner, the main reasons given for using these methods were the enjoyment and ambiance they created.
  • Most panelists currently using a solid fuel burner to heat the main living area in their home have no concerns with the method.
  • Most panelists said their solid fuel burner was no more than twenty five years old. Among those currently using a wood burner, most typically used natural cut wood, and almost all regularly used dry wood.
  • These panelists indicated their household fire is mostly or always clean burning.

Changed heating methods

  • Among those who have replaced the open fire at their home, over a third estimated it would have been more than thirty years old.
  • Among those no longer using a wood and/or coal burner, the main reason for switching was convenience.
  • Among those who have switched, over half noticed the alternative heating method was easier to run, while a little under half noticed they can have heating when they want it.
  • Most panelists indicated they were not considering changing to another type of home heating in the next few years or so.
  • Among those considering changing to another type of heating, over half would choose a heat pump, however, these people also felt the cost would be a barrier.
  • Among those considering changing to a wood burner or coal burner, most wanted to switch as these options would bring enjoyment and help create ambiance, however, these people would consider an alternative if it was cheaper to run.


  • Most panelists indicated they do not have HRV or DVS, or double glazing, while many said they have insulation above the ceilings that is fully installed and in good condition.
  • Many would not consider improving or adding insulation in the next few years despite not having any insulation at all, or having partially / fully installed insulation that is in poor condition.
  • Among those considering improving or adding insulation, most said the main reason was to improve warmth in the house.

Your home and financial assistance

  • Among those whose homes or rental properties are over seventeen years old (that is, built before 2000), over half were not aware of any financial assistance programmes or subsidy packages that could be used to upgrade the heating or insulation.
  • When prompted, half of panelists whose homes or rental properties are over seventeen years old indicated they were aware of the Warm Up NZ programme, while over a quarter were aware of Retrofit Your Home programme, and a few were aware of a Mortgage Top Up programme.
  • Among those who tried to use these financial assistance programmes, two fifths said they did not qualify or meet the criteria.
  • Most of those who have used Warm Up NZ, Retrofit Your Home, or Mortgage Top Up were satisfied with their experience in acquiring the financial assistance.

Vehicle exhaust emissions

  • Many panelists said they, or those living in their household, had not been affected often by vehicle exhaust emissions.
  • For those who were affected to some degree, the main issues were the smell and the noise.