Author Archives: grave

home thermal envelope

Your home’s thermal envelope includes any structures and materials that separate the interior and exterior air flow. Having an airtight thermal envelope will reduce the power bills and keep your home comfortable year-round. Keeping the outside air out, and the inside air in.

Your home’s thermal envelope is made up from:

  • Insulation
  • Windows
  • Floors
  • Roofs
  • Foundations
  • Outer walls
  • Doors

To put it simply your home’s thermal envelop is your heat flow control. The better your insulation and glazing, the more control you have over the flow of air from outside to inside your home. A home with a good envelope is an air-tight home which won’t lose much heating or cooling through external features such as the walls, floors, windows etc…

In comparison older homes often have gaps in the thermal envelope from damage over time or poor building products and materials. This can result in a draftier home that is difficult to keep warm or cool.

A few ways you can improve your home’s thermal envelope includes:

  1. Insulate your walls, floors and roof. This helps to keep the air flow under control. Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow and helps keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
  2. Double glazing your windows and doors helps to make your home more airtight. Keeping out any drafts or leaks.
  3. External shading devices lead to better thermal comfort with significant energy savings. You can use shading such as covers, pergolas or trees.
  4. Sealing any air leaks or infiltration in your home’s walls, floor or roof can help keep the quality of your indoor air to a better standard.

Some of the many advantages are the reduced home energy costs used to heat or cool your home. Better air flows throughout your home. Significant energy savings from the use of heating or cooling and its ability to stay inside your home.

By implementing these improvements to your home, you can make your home thermal envelope better, creating a better living space. Talk to Absolute Energy today about how we can fully insulate your home and seal your home’s thermal envelope.

stay cool this summer

It’s a new year, summer is upon us and it’s heating up fast. Here are 5 tips to reduce the heat and keep cool this summer.

1. Air circulation is a great way to keep your home cool this summer. Opening the house, doors and windows will allow any breeze to circulate through your home. Blocking out the sun by closing your curtains and blinds can also reduce the warmth of your home, keeping your home cool this summer. By closing your curtains or blinds to block the stream of sun into your home you allow your home to keep more heat on the outside. A cooler inside environment is important to stay comfortable though the heat of summer.

2. Swimming is one of the quickest ways to cool down this summer. A quick dip in the ocean or the pool is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. Alternatively, a cold will also leave you feeling clean and refreshed for a few hours.

3. Cold drinks have similar effects to a cold shower. Drinks like water and iced tea can cool you internally. The coolness from iced drinks will help keep you cool through hot days. Drinking a lot of water and cold drinks will help regulate your body temperature, keeping you cool this summer. The regular intake of the right cold drinks will also keep you hydrated and healthy but try and avoid too many soft drinks.

4. Insulate your home. Having a well-insulated home slows the movement of heat from outside to inside therefore keeping your home cool this summer. Having an insulated home allows the warm summer air to stay outside stopping your home from overheating through the warmer months, learn more about the benefits of insulation in summer. During summer, heat from outside moves into your home however with insulation, the transfer of heat is reduced creating a more comfortable inside living space.

5. Cook outside. Cooking meals outside will keep you home cool this summer and help reduce your energy bills. Cooking indoors creates a lot of extra heat which can get trapped in the home. When making your meals outside on the grill you can keep the heat outside your home. Cooking outdoors is not only a great way to keep your home cool this summer but is also a great way to socialize with your friends and family. What’s summer without those barbecues?

warm in winter

Here’s why Insulating your home is one of the best investments you can make

Insulating your home is the way to go when it comes to creating a warm and cosy home year-round. Keeping it warm in winter and cool through summer means you can cut down the money spent on endlessly trying to heat your home. Insulation will slow the rate of heat loss through walls, ceilings and floors, trapping in the warmth in winter and keeping it out in the summer. Absolute Energy provides quality insulation that works to provide benefits to both you and your home.

Absolute energy supplies insulation that

  • Slows down the heat movement through walls and building materials.
  • Prevents the cold from getting in or the heat from escaping, keeping you and your family warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Provides an energy efficient way of heating and cooling your home, cutting down your costs.

Insulation is an investment that benefits your home both now and in the future by increasing the value and quality of your home. Once you have insulation, you will be able to enjoy the ease of keeping your home at the right temperature through every season. Insulation uses thermal resistance ( called the R-value) the higher the R-value the higher the thermal resistance in your home. Insulation works by trapping small pockets of air between fibres keeping your home at the right temperature. Absolute Energy strives to provide your home with quality, lasting insulation to create warmer, healthier energy efficient environments by keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer.

The difference of having insulation Vs not having insulation in your home

Un insulated houses

  • Allows the warmth to seep through the building materials.
  • Bigger electricity bills.
  • 18-25% of heat is lost through the walls, 12-14% through the floor, and 30-35% through the roof.

Insulated houses

  • Insulated houses slow down the heat movement within your house keeping it warmer or
  • cooler for longer.
  • It adjusts to the seasons for year round comfort, keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • 10-15% of heat is lost through walls, 10-20% for the floors and only 5-10% percent for the roof.

Learn more about home heat loss here.

The New Zealand government now has regulations to keep your home up to to minimum quality standards. If you’re starting a new build or renovating an old home. Insulating your walls, floors and ceilings should be a top priority. Absolute Energy can help provide insulation that slows the air flow inside your house. Providing you with a more energy efficient lifestyle year-round.

wall insulation

1. Costs less to heat and cool your home

One of the many benefits of wall insulation in homes is the reduced costs spent on electricity bills. Wall insulation causes heat flow resistance, keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Lowering the costs of heating and cooling can be done by having quality insulation in your walls, floors and ceilings reducing the heat transfer into or out of your home keeping the temperature right year-round. Absolute Energy provides quality wall insulation products that will benefit both you and your home. To learn more about wall insulation click here

2. Wall Insulation provides year-round comfort

Wall insulation provides year-round comfort for your home by creating a barrier that separates outside and inside air, keeping the temperature in your home consistent. In the winter, cold air enters your home through the walls, floor, and ceiling cavities. Insulating your home can keep the cold air out while trapping the warmer air inside. In summer, the reverse is also true. Warm air also comes through the walls, floors, and ceiling cavities but again, insulating your home can trap the cooler air inside and keep the heat out to provide a comfortable home through all seasons.

3. Helps prevent condensation and mold from growing

Many New Zealand homes are cold and damp, primarily due to a lack of floor, ceiling, and wall insulation. Insulation can help reduce excess moisture in your home allowing for a warmer and dryer home, especially through the colder months. Installing wall insulation your home will help prevent condensation and mold from growing throughout your home, making it a healthier and dryer place to live.

4. Its low-maintenance and lasts a lifetime

Once insulation is installed there is no ongoing maintenance required. It is an investment that will benefit your home and family for years to come without any upkeep. Most insulation products have a lifetime guarantee, so when you insulate your home with Absolute Energy, you can be sure your house is set for the future.

5. Wall Insulation makes your home more energy efficiency

One of the benefits that comes from an insulated house is the amount of money you can save on trying to heat and cool your house. According to experts, heat loss without insulation is around 18-25% through the walls. 12-14% through the floor. And 30-35% through the roof. This shows that without insulation, your home is susceptible to fluctuating temperatures resulting in more money spent trying to keep a steady temperature through winter and summer. With insulation the heat loss slows down to 10-15% for the walls. 10-20% for the floors. And only 5-10% percent for the roof. This decrease in heat loss is what helps cut down the energy you use to heat your home. Learn more about energy efficiency here.

Warmer Healthier Homes founding members Bill Dahlberg, left, and Paul Brockie.

Bill Dahlberg – Warmer Healthier Homes: The Warmer Healthier Homes Nelson Tasman Marlborough project provides heavily subsidised insulation to eligible homeowners and tenants in the Nelson, Tasman, and Marlborough areas. In some particularly vulnerable situations it maybe free. To be eligible, homeowners or tenants must have a community services card, with referrals prioritised for people and families with chronic health conditions or households with children less than five years old or people over 65 years. Over the last three years the WHH NTM group has retrofitted installation into over 700 homes, with this year’s target being over 400 homes and managing a total budget over $1.2 million. The home insulation scheme is governed by its own steering group with funding provided by support partners, Rata Foundation, Nelson Marlborough DHB, Nelson City Council, Marlborough District Council and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.

Absolute Energy is so proud to be supporting the the Warmer Healthier Homes Nelson Tasman Marlborough initiative and congratulate all involved in reaching this fantastic milestone.

Bill Dahlberg, left and Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, right with Esta Wright who’s home was the 750th to be retrofitted with insulation as part of the Warmer Healthier Homes Nelson Tasman Marlborough.

A scheme reducing illness by keeping homes warmer as reached a milestone.

The Warmer Healthier Homes Nelson Tasman Marlborough (WHH NTM) project has been helping people in the top of the south since February 2014.

Last week saw the 750th customer benefiting from a warmer home.

Warmer Healthier Homes chair and creator Bill Dalberg said the contractor for the project, Absolute Energy, had to “gear up with more staff to keep up with our demand”.

He said since starting up the initiative, 460 Nelson homes and 199 Tasman homes and been insulated, along with 91 in Marlborough.

Providing heavily subsidised insulation along with advice to eligible homeowners and tenants, eligibility relies on residents having a Community Services Card with referrals prioritised for people with chronic health conditions or households with children under five years old or people over 65.

The project ensures homes are efficiently heated and kept warm while having no impact on health issues.

“People will heat up a space, when the heat stops, the heat quickly dissipates through the floor, ceiling and windows. You end up with a cold house at night.”

He said fighting the cold wasn’t the worst side effect.

“When you heat the home, you have more moisture being carried by the warm air and so at night when it cools down it goes to your windows or ceiling which is where you get your mildew and unhealthy issues. It ends up in people’s lungs … so they’re breathing that.”

The feedback from customers had been positive, Dahlberg said, with many reporting improved health and no longer needing medication for conditions caused by a cold, damp environment.

Supported by a team including the Nelson City Council, Rata, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, ECCA and Absolute Energy, residents are able to have their home insulated for half the cost or free, depending on their circumstances.

The initiative has also attracted corporate support from Port Nelson, Network Tasman Charitable Trust and Mainland Foundation with Dahlberg hoping more businesses will join in.

Last Friday retiree Esta Wright became the scheme’s 750th customer.

She had owned her home in The Wood for 25 years, but it wasn’t keeping in the heat.

In particular her floors were “like ice.”

An assessor visited her home and told her there were a lot of gaps worth fixing.

Since having more insulation installed and plastic sheeting laid, Wright said she could feel the difference straight away.

“I’ve noticed a great difference, especially in the floor. It’s going to be a lot more pleasant for my feet.”

Read full article here – courtesy The Nelson Mail.

This is a great article written by The Nelson Mail who interviewed, Eco Building Design Advisor for Nelson City Council, Richard Popenhagen about his home that he built in Atawhai.

Nelson City Council’s Richard Popenhagen with his sustainably built Atawhai home.

1) Make sure your house is insulated

Concentrating on insulation before anything else is a handy thing to do. If your house isn’t insulated in the roof and floor or if you want to upgrade the existing insulation, Popenhagen recommends to look for a product with a high thermal resistance (commonly referred to as Rvalue). Brand or type doesn’t matter much. He said having gaps in the insulation “really works against you”, so make sure when you lay it it’s “nice and snug”.

Popenhagen says a government grant of up to 50 per cent of the cost for underfloor and ceiling insulation is available in many areas of New Zealand for low-income home owners and landlords with low-income tenants. This may change next year with the recent change of government.

2) Invest in good curtains

Popenhagen says the right type of curtain would help insulate your house even more. Windows are the weak points in any house and a lot of heat exits through there. Make sure your curtains are sitting hard on the floor, so touching the floor.

Any gap between the floor and the curtain will allow cold air into your room. Layered curtains are the best. A test that could be done in winter is to pin a woollen blanket to the existing curtain or to the curtain rail, make sure it touches the floor, and sleep with it on for one or two nights. Popenhagen says often people find it makes a big difference in the temperature of the room.

Another tip from Popenhagen is to not sleep with your windows open and to not place your bed under your window. According to the World Health Organisation a living room should be at 20 degrees and a bedroom at 16 degrees for optimum health.

Sleeping in a room which is below 12 degrees puts extra strain on your cardiovascular system and below 9 degrees there’s a 25 per cent higher chance of getting a stroke or heart attack.

3) Ventilate your house properly

Popenhagen says often people don’t ventilate their house at the right time, or for the right amount of time. It’s best to open the windows for 15 to 20 minutes in the middle of the day, when the air outside is at its warmest. If you are not home during the day, then opening the windows for 5 minutes in the morning before you leave will do. Living in a damp house with condensation and mould can have a serious effect on your health.

In the bathroom you need to shut the door as soon as the bath is being run or the shower is on. Put the bathroom fan on as well and then crack the bathroom window a little. This will clear the moisture out of the room.

Don’t keep the bathroom door open while showering as the moisture will escape and travel to other parts of your house. Once you’ve finished showering, keep the fan on for a while longer to clear out all the moisture.

A properly ventilated bathroom has no fog on the mirror and no condensation on the bathroom window and ceiling. Once you’ve checked that’s the case, you can shut the window, turn the fan off and open the door.

Popenhagen says it’s better to dry your clothes outside, even in winter, as one load of washing that’s being dried inside keep 5 litres of moisture in the air. The more moisture there is in a house, the harder it is to heat it in winter. Cooking accumulates up to 3 litres of moisture a day, so it’s important to turn your rangehood on every time you cook.

A tip for killing mould spores in the house; fill a small bucket with white vinegar for 70 per cent of the way, then dilute it down with 30 per cent of warm water. Put it on the mould and leave it on for 20 minutes, then wipe it off with hot soapy water.

The white vinegar kills the mould spores, whereas bleach only makes it look like it has disappeared but it’ll grow back. You might have to use bleach afterwards to remove the stains from the mould spores.

4) Ways to reduce your energy consumption

Popenhagen says heating hot water amounts to a third of the annual power bill for an average home. A “biggy” is showers, with high pressure showers bursting out between 30 and 38 liters per minute. A 20 minute shower equals to about 600 liters of hot water going down the drain.

Changing shower heads to a water efficient type or putting in a flow restricter can lower the flow to about 9 liters a minute, a huge saving on both water as well as energy to heat it.

Another tip Popenhagen gives is to replace all the light bulbs in the house with LED lights. A normal light bulb has around 1000 hours, whereas a LED light has a life of about 30,000 to 50,000 hours. LED lights are more expensive at first, but he says what you save in power will pay for the bulb in a year. If you can’t afford to refit all the light bulbs in your house, start with the rooms that are being used the most.

Replace your fridge and washing machine with an energy efficient version. Popenhagen says older fridges cost about $300 in power a year, whereas an energy efficient one could cost about $100 a year. A front loader washing machine is also better than a top loader.

Heat pumps or wood burners are the best forms of heating. Use a fan heater instead of an oil column heater if you need to, as the fan heater will heat your room three times faster. Don’t use unflued gas heaters because apart from expelling a litre of moisture every hour, they also push combustion products into the room which has very bad health affects.

5) Solar power

Popenhagen says there’s two types of solar systems; one is solar hot water and the other one is solar power to generate electricity. He says having solar hot water only “stacks up” for large families using lots of water.

For small families or couples it’s not that economical. Using solar power to generate electricity has its downsides too, given the low buy back rate most power companies’ currently offer, and the cost of battery storage.

So unless you’re mostly home during the day when the sun is out and you run the washing machine, dishwasher and lights at that time, there’s little benefit to install solar panels at present for a lot of people, however we are on the cusp of a technology revolution so watch this space. Every house needs to be accessed on a case by case basis.

As an eco building design advisor for Nelson City Council, Richard Popenhagen is available to do free consultancies in your home, for up to two hours. For more information ring him on 03 546 0251.

Read full article here.

The group set off from the Headingly Centre at 11.50am on Saturday 20th January 2018 on a truly gorgeous Nelson summer’s day.

Once at Rabbit Island the 20 people enjoyed the BBQ provided by Paul Brockie (Absolute Energy) and Tony Naylor (Support in the Community). This group bike ride is a fully inclusive session, which is set up for guys with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Whilst at Rabbit Island the group enjoyed their well earned dip followed by a great game of football once the tide had receded.

A great day enjoyed by all – A big thanks to Paul Brockie for his contribution throughout the day and also to Clive Beaumount (Tasman United) for providing the majority of the food for the BBQ.

The next Group Bike Ride is scheduled for Saturday 24th February.

Anyone wishing to join us on our next FREE Bike Ride in February, is asked to contact Tony Naylor on or 0211 338688.

Business owner Paul Brockie has been impressed with the skills of his Burmese staff, but says their English needed a little work so that his customers could have the same confidence.

Paul, who owns Absolute Energy, an insulation company in Nelson, helped his five Burmese workers enrol in English Language Partners’ (ELPNZ) part-time English for Employees course. He’s been delighted with the results.

Now when insulation installer Johnsy Johnsy knocks on the front door of a new customer’s home, he confidently greets the homeowner in English.

Johnsy, a Burmese migrant whose first language is Hakha Chin, has his introduction all prepared: “I introduce myself with my name and my partner’s name. I say: ‘We’re from Absolute Energy and we’ve come to install your insulation,’” Johnsy says.

Johnsy Johnsy

Paul says the course helped his staff improve in several aspects of the job.

The most important thing, he says, is communication with customers who are having insulation installed into existing homes.

“They learn how to relate to people in a New Zealand culture; to not be shy when you go to meet someone new, to be able to identify yourself and to let them know what you’re doing.”

Paul says the course has also helped his staff deal with the paperwork that comes with the job, including health and safety form-filling, understanding their employment paperwork, even filling in job cards. Johnsy’s partner on each installation job is also usually Myanmar Chin.

On the way in the company van, they can often be heard with the music turned up loud, singing gospel songs in their language.

But once on site, Johnsy switches to English, a process he agrees was helped by the Tertiary Education Commission-funded course. He and four Myanmar Chin workmates attended the course for two hours a week over the past four months.

“It’s good for me,” Johnsy says. “I’m better than before.” Johnsy has been in New Zealand for six years and worked at a market garden before taking the job with Absolute Energy 18 months ago, after Paul approached him at a football game. “We were growing cabbages, carrots and lettuce,” Johnsy says. “A lot of my Chin people were working there so then we didn’t really use English. It was difficult, but when I came to this job I’m getting better. “Even when people talk fast now, I can understand.”

Johnsy, 28, is married with a two-year-old daughter, Esther. He says although he was sad to leave Myanmar, he is grateful to be settled in Nelson. “I like New Zealand because it’s safe for us, and it’s very quiet and has very nice people.” The Myanmar Chin community in Nelson numbers about 500. Many of the men play football, and share a passion for fishing. Paul says having the men attend the course was worthwhile for his company. He ensured they could finish their day’s work in time for the 3.30pm class and paid them for half the time they attended.

“They’ve definitely learnt, and they’ve had a little bit of fun as well. The teachers make it enjoyable.”

Paul says the staff benefit from cultural aspects of the language teaching too. “It’s teaching them to be more forthcoming. They tend to be respectful and they don’t want to say the wrong thing.”

Tony Fitzwater, from ELPNZ Nelson, says his centre runs the courses throughout the year. The programme is suitable for residents who work part-time or full-time, and runs at most of the 23 centres around New Zealand.

Tony says the feedback he’s had is “outstanding”. “They (the participants) treasure it. They note the improvement in their language and their ability to function better in the workplace. They can understand directions and instructions and are able to communicate back to their supervisors and their peers. “The main thing, beyond language, is it gives them the confidence to participate.”

Paul Brockie says employing the men has been great for his company and says the men took pride in their learning on the English for Employees course. “They’ve had a really tough life so every opportunity they have to better themselves, they take.”

Read the original article here.