Winter has certainly arrived as predicted, and as pretty as it is, the snow managed to cause its fair share of issues around Canterbury last week. And the forecast ahead is for more winter - not that we should be surprised about that!
In the CBD Red Zone much of the work carried on as normal, although some contractors found the snow caused impracticalities for some heavy machinery. For those working indoors on repair/rebuild work – like the Novotel Hotel – it was business as usual.
Even the Cathedral Square burger van kept operating, feeding those hard working crews.
But a lot of the region closed down. Schools and workplaces sent people home and for many people, home is still broken and damaged. And I know I say this a lot, but again I ask that you please ensure your friends, family and neighbours are safe and warm – and if they need help, make sure you point them in the right direction.
In my previous job I worked for Orion, so I have more than a passing knowledge of the best ways to save and conserve power. I know we at CERA said a lot of this last winter, but it's worth repeating.
Stopping draughts is important as it is hard to heat a house where the heat is flying out through the cracks faster than your heater can make the heat.
V-seal is suitable for uneven gaps around windows and doors, door sausages can stop draughts under doors. Similarly, a damp home is harder to heat and can cause health problems. Perhaps consider ventilation by installing extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
DIY window insulation is a clear plastic film taped to your window frame and act as double glazing but is not nearly as expensive. Being non-permanent it is ideal for tenants and properties that will/may be demolished.
If you have had emergency repairs done in the roof, check your insulation just in case the batts have not been replaced properly. Insulation that has become wet will not insulate properly even after it has dried out.
If your house is weather tight, you can get it insulated. Most banks offer mortgage top-ups for as little as $7 a week and high subsidies are available for those on low incomes, including landlords with low income tenants. Community Energy Action has subsidies for all incomes with surpluses going to their charitable programmes.
There is a lot of information available at www.cea.co.nz or call the free Energy Advice Service on 0800 388 588.
I know there are people still doing it tough out there. There is help available, the earthquake support co-ordination service will put you in touch with whichever service you need. Their number is 0800 777 846 and they will come to you.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority