Dr Jo Knight with Sadie Harris, who has just received insulation through Bill Dahlberg’s Warmer Healthier Homes. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Looking forward to the warmth


Every winter Sadie Harris used go to bed at 4.30pm because her Tahunanui home became too cold for comfort.

Her daughter didn’t like the idea of going to sleep with the fire on, so it was only started on the weekends. But Sadie’s asthma would soon play up. As soon as she stepped outside it would start. “I would have to stay inside until the sun came out,” Sadie says.

So several weeks ago, Sadie’s doctor, Jo Knight, referred her to Warmer Healthier Homes, an organisation dedicated to helping insulate homes for those in need. “She has got some respiratory issues, it’s well proven that these sorts of interventions make a big difference in people’s lives,” Jo says.

The Warmer Healthier Homes (WHH) project began in Nelson region four years ago with a partnership between Rata Foundation, the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, Nelson Marlborough DHB, and Nelson City Council, with further funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“We want to get awareness out there,” says Jo. “If you are uninsulated bring it to your doctor’s attention. Prevention is much better than the cure in these scenarios.”

WHH has now insulated over 700 properties throughout the top the South Island.

Chair of Warmer Healthier Homes, Bill Dahlberg, says the programme means that people can access subsidised insulation, through Absolute Energy, to ensure their home is warmer during winter.

Sadie’s original quote was about $1800 but with the subsidy it came down to $200.

“It makes a big difference,” says Bill.