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SWHT 10 year anniversary

26 March 2018

L/R: Southland Warm Homes Trust Chair, Jim Hargest and Trust founder and past Chair, Neil Boniface.

Keeping People Warm for a Decade

A decade of keeping Southland and West Otago people warm was celebrated today (26 June) by the Southland Warm Homes Trust (SWHT).

Since its inception in 2008, thousands of Southland and West Otago homes have been insulated or retrofitted with the Trust’s financial support.

“We’re delighted to be celebrating this milestone in making Southland homes warmer and healthier,” says SWHT chair, Jim Hargest.

“Over the past decade, more than 6200 local homes have benefitted from subsidised insulation and heating solutions. Through its work, the Trust has made a real and positive impact on the health and well-being of our communities and that’s something we’re really proud of.”

Since it was first established, the Trust has received over $18 million of funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) Healthy Homes scheme and third-party funding from local organisations.

“We’re very grateful for the successful and supportive local funding partnerships, particularly with Electricity Invercargill Ltd and The Power Company Ltd, but also with our local territorial authorities and other community funders,” Mr Hargest said.

“It’s really pleasing that the work of the SWHT represents a truly collaborative `Southland-wide’ effort. Many regional organisations have supported it and many people’s lives have been changed for the better.”

The SWHT was established in June 2008 by Electricity Invercargill Ltd and the Southland Electric Power Supply Consumer Trust as an umbrella group to drive a Southland-wide initiative to provide warm, insulated homes. The Trust’s vision was to ensure that Southlanders have more energy efficient homes, an improved living environment and well-being, better health and greater energy efficiency awareness. Today, the Trust’s partners include Awarua Synergy, which is contracted to install insulation and heating under the Trust’s programme.

“Although the funding structures have changed over time, our Trust’s vision of warmer, healthier homes endures. We’re looking forward to continuing this important contribution to Southland’s wellbeing into the future,” Mr Hargest said.

Funding under the EECA Healthy Homes Programme is targeted to those who benefit most from having their homes insulated—low-income households with high health needs, including families with children and the elderly.

Research has shown that for every $1 spent on insulation for a low-income family, there is a $6.70 return of investment, by way of reducing the number of people walking through hospital doors.

“We are looking forward to continuing this work with EECA and the Southern Community under the new four year insulation scheme recently announced by the Government, starting 1 July 2018.” More information on the Southland Warm Homes Trust is available on the PowerNet website: