For anyone that follows trends on insulation there have been many interesting and innovative stories from around the world with concerns over climate change and the need for lower energy cost post the global economic crisis. Some of the most interesting have been schemes particularly in the British Isles and Australia. Great Britain continues to offer some interesting programs although a few have been plagued by fraud. Similar programs and problems occurred with government backed insulation programs in Australia. However, the latest scheme from one of the nations “Down Under” may be the most innovative yet.
Under a new government funded program, doctors in New Zealand can now prescribe home insulation to their patients. The energywise.gov site outlines the basics of the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes program. It allows low-income households occupied by people with health needs related to cold, damp housing to obtain a funding for insulation upgrades. The program budget for 2013 allocated $100 million of operating funding over three years. While this program may sound a bit far fetched, the theory is actually sound. With government provided health care, the cost of treating people for illnesses related to poorly insulated homes likely exceeds the cost of providing insulation. Add to this the lower energy bills for the low income families and reduced carbon emissions and the program really does start to make sense.
Of course such a program would likely never find traction in the United States. But with an estimated 30 to 40 million homes under insulated in the U.S. there are likely thousands of low income families driving up health care costs due to illnesses related to cold damp houses. Coming up with innovative programs, such as this one from New Zealand, may be better alternatives to Obama Care.
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