Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Valuing Warm Homes - Exploring New Zealanders' Home Heating Choices

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Version 2 2023-03-14, 22:39
Version 1 2021-11-08, 08:00
posted on 2023-03-14, 22:39 authored by Vujcich, Hayley

New Zealand homes have a record of being poorly heated and inadequately energy efficient. While policy makers increasingly recognise the many benefits associated with energy efficient warm homes, there is currently a lack of understanding of how New Zealanders make choices about space heating. This thesis takes a mixed method approach in order to 1) understand how New Zealanders value energy efficient heating and 2) further explore how people make decisions about home heating. Capturing the economic value of the range of benefits associated with home heating is investigated through analysing a contingent valuation study undertaken by the Housing, Heating and Health Study (University of Otago). Participants show 'willingness to pay' and related values below heater market prices. It is argued that there is some indication of split incentives issues and income constraint, and increased familiarisation with space heaters may increase willingness to pay. Evidence from focus group research suggests that while attitudes and norms are conducive to efficiently heated homes, other market and non-market factors impede pro-environmental choices. The widely recognised Kiwi stoicism of living in cold homes is not evidenced; choosing to go cold in the home may instead be rationalised as mitigating the environmental impacts associated with heating. This analysis sheds light on how intervention and how provision of information to fill the 'energy efficiency gap' could move outside the 'rational person' model of how New Zealanders make home heating choices.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Chapman, Ralph