With approximately $2.2 billion spent on consented residential alterations last year, New Zealanders are devoting a lot of time, energy, and money to home renovations. Consumer NZ is reminding renovators - if you are making changes to your home, it’s worth remembering that if the Climate Change Commission recommendations are adopted into policy there’ll be no new gas connections from 2025.
While there are no guarantees this will happen, there’s a ban on new gas exploration already in place, so it does seem like natural gas will be flaming out.
“Many home owners may be scratching their heads as to where they now stand on gas. If you’re weighing up a new connection or looking to install a new water heater, gas cooking or fixed heating, it could be worth thinking twice. This is a high-cost investment with a new gas hob potentially costing thousands of dollars. With an uncertain future, it could be money down the drain,” says James le Page, Test Content Team Leader.
“If you’ve already got gas in your home, rest assured, you don’t need to rip out your hobs. As products come up for replacement, you might want to consider going down a different route. While the change will be an inconvenience for many, the environmental cost of gas is unacceptable and is directly linked to climate change."
Gas is a favoured fixture of many home chefs across the country with its excellent temperature control and instant heat, but Consumer NZ testing has found you don't lose a lot when opting for induction. The best performing cooktops in the latest round of testing of 82 models found induction comes out on top.
If you’re think about home heating with a renovation, consider a whole home solution with central heating. A multi-split heat pump water heater can heat your water and look after underfloor or radiator heating as well. It comes with a hefty installation cost that’s dependent on the size of your home but will provide a toasty and comfortable environment for years going forward. A heat pump is a great option that is cost effective to install and incredibly efficient.
Saying goodbye to gas also means no more endless showers. Though you’ll need a water tank, Consumer NZ research has found that many modern designs do away with the bulky indoor tank and associated hot water cupboards. There are also options for outdoor tanks.
"Annually a gas connection costs $550 on average, so by foregoing a new connection and selecting more energy efficient space and water heating can end up saving you a lot of money over the years, and you'll be running a greener home. That said, work will need to be done to help those in rural communities with unreliable connections transition away from their current dependency on gas in the period between 2025 and 2050 if the Climate Change Commission recommendations are adopted," says le Page.
"New Zealand's electricity generation is primarily from renewable sources while gas is a one-time deal that’s extracted from the ground and, in the process of you using it, pumps CO2 into the air. If you're weighing up gas versus electricity when renovating or replacing, consider all the factors and know that the future of gas is on shaky ground."
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Notes on figures:
Statistics NZ estimates that $1.9 billion including GST worth of residential alterations and additions building work was consented in the year ended November 2020, down 4.3 percent on the November 2019 year.