Social housing  |  22 Jul 2020

By the end of this month nearly all tenants living in Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (OCHT) homes will have heat pumps to keep themselves warm.

A five-month-long project to install heat pumps in nearly all of ŌCHT community housing is on target to wrap up next week.

The heat pump installation work is part of ŌCHT and Christchurch City Council’s Warm & Dry Initiative, which aims to ensure tenants in ŌCHT rental housing have a warm, dry living environment.

“ŌCHT is pleased that we’ve been able to install heat pumps into nearly all our tenanted properties despite some of the most challenging times in our history,’’ says ŌCHT Chief Executive Cate Kearney.

“Installing more than 2,000 heat pumps over five months is a big ask under normal circumstances, so achieving this goal and accommodating a nationwide lockdown has been a great effort from the project management and installation team.

“It’s been very positive to receive feedback from tenants about the difference the heat pumps have made to their homes,’’ Ms Kearney says.

The Trust has also been happy to hear from tenants who are keeping an eye on their power bills.

“Many tenants have told us they’ve had a decrease in monthly power usage while noticing their homes are warm and dry.”

The Warm & Dry Initiative is being funded by the Council through a $10 million loan and $6 million from the Housing Development Fund.

Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall says he is thrilled the heat pump installation work is nearing completion.

“The COVID-19 lockdown forced a re-think of the planned roll-out of the Warm & Dry Initiative, but we were determined to get the heat pumps installed this winter so tenants could live comfortably over the colder months.

“With that work now largely complete, the focus will switch to ensuring units are properly insulated and have good ventilation and draught stopping, so that we provide a healthy living environment for tenants,’’ Mr Rendall says.