Yesterday afternoon, NZ time, a guy came round to our house, asked me a load of questions, complimented our toilets, tried the shower, asked me some more questions, gave us a load of free lightbulbs and then drove off!
Now, I realise that this may sound like an account of a dream I had yesterday afternoon, while slumped out on the cosy lounge suite, but I promise you: it definitely happened!
The visit was down to EcoMatters Environment Trust, a charitable trust based in Waitakere, West Auckland that aims to aid those wanting live a more sustainable lifestyle. We first heard about the offer of a free Sustainable Home Check at the monthly market here in Swanson (coincidently on our first weekend in Swanson, as ‘Westies’!). An project called ‘ Sustainable Ranui – Swanson’ had a stall and introduced us to their ideas and offered us the free visit.
The visit was most impressive. Our advisor began by asking questions about our property, before moving on to questions based on our water and energy usage habits. He then began the practical tests, such as measuring how much water our shower passed in a minute, the temperature of our fridge and freezer, checking our water thermostat setting and our home insulation.
The whole process represented extremely good value for money, seeing as it cost nothing, and to then receive a number of freebies, such as re-usable shopping bags, an water aerator for a tap and some low-energy lightbulbs was extremely useful (haters, take note, these are NOTHING like the original energy saving bulbs. They have been vastly improved since you last ‘used’ them. There is definitely no need to ring up Newstalk ZB when the Prime Minister is on and waste his precious air time with stupid questions like “Are you going to make us all use energy saving lightbulbs?” like one lady recently did!).
The whole process helped slam home to me that New Zealand is definitely a world leader when it comes to environmental and community initiatives. I would urge anybody who qualifies (Waitakere City residents, I believe) for a free home sustainability check to book one in right away. It will cost you nothing and will save you more.