Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


Cold Houses.
June 9, 2008, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Happenstance, In the News | Tags: , ,

Trip over. I’m back at work now.

I’ve been preoccupied, however, with one very very very VERY significant cultural difference between Canada and New Zealand. People are beginning to fuss (as they do every winter, apparently) over lowering lake levels and the imminent effects those will have on electricity generation. Yeppers, the electricity conservation calls have begun here.

Here, peak electricity consumption occurs in the winter (June through mid-September) between 6 pm and 8 pm at night. Just like home, calendar-wise. The issue is that everyone gets home and turns on their stoves, lights and space heaters all at the same time all over the island.

Space heaters?

I have a brilliant idea to help out with energy conservation in New Zealand. And as always, I have to explain it in a roundabout manner.

See, no houses in New Zealand are really insulated. At all. None of the windows are double glazed. I haven’t seen the Pink Panther anywhere. There are no central heaters/furnaces (but all sorts of mysterious “heat pumps” and “air reticulation systems”). As such, heat leaks out of houses like a sieve…and cold floods in like the tide. Best of all, once the house gets really cold inside, it’s tough to get it warmed up. Think of it like how a Canadian house gets impossibly stuffy during the summer if you don’t have AC.

In a country that barely gets to 35 degrees in the summer, how on earth could nobody have thought to make warm houses a requirement? Even in Queenstown, the ski capital of the South Island where I was last week, nothing is designed with warmth in mind. New Zealanders who have been to Canada or know someone who has lived there ALL say that nobody is ever cold inside a house in Canada.

Naturally, a few more layers in bed cuts most of the problem (except for those three nights back in April when the temperature “fell” to 6 above zero). But the air is so cold that it compromises everything else. I want a longer, hotter shower. I turn lights on to bask in the waste heat. The space heaters keep on churning and churning.

Yet nobody is talking about putting better insulation in houses – although I did catch a news clip tonight where insulating the roof was discussed as an energy saving option (???!!???), which was dismissed by the homeowner being interviewed as “too expensive.”

I get kind of cold at night here. I don’t like this part about New Zealand.

(Edited to add: Mark, I totally get it.)

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5 Comments so far
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After the Canadian winter you missed here, while enjoying the ‘summer’ there, I feel no sympathy with regards to your chilly-ness

(actually, I’m quite surprised they don’t have higher insulating standards, considering all of the ‘zero carbon footprint’ and ‘green living’ television programmes that come pouring out of that country to run on HGTV here)

Comment by b

An ancient Chinese emperor once asked the in-house painter ‘what is easier to paint, a dog or a demon?’ The painter simply replied with, ‘Demons are easier.’ Frustrated with the painters answers, the emperor retorted, ‘But, how is this so? We see dogs every day and demons are figments of our imagination. How is a figment easier to paint?’ The painter replied, ‘ Its easier to mask a problem through elaborate imagery than to address the simple task’

What’s he even talkin’ about?………

Comment by DEL

The entire insulation problem sounds so backwards! Maybe electricity is cheap in NZ so no one cares?? (We just re-insulated the roof)

Comment by puppydog

Wow, and for a moment I thought you were describing Hong Kong. NZ actually DOES have a winter season, right? :oP

I’m guessing long underwear sells very well in the land of the Kiwis.

Mmm, it was 31 a few days while I was in Niagara/Toronto last week, and that’s not yet including the humidex. A tad too hot for me at this time, but better than the damp 12 degrees when I flew out of Winnipeg.

Comment by PianoMan

I lived in Canada for 10 years and have never been as cold as I am in New Zealand . I tried to heat the house and paid a morgage payment for that . Electricity is not CHEAP over here.
You are cold at work , outside and inside your home

Comment by Canadian




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