New Zealanders are proud to be the best, the strongest and the fastest in many sporting codes and endeavours. Our identity rightly includes our brilliance in sports. We invest thought, funding and effort in sport. The mantra “where the attention goes the energy flows” has contrib- uted to our sporting prowess. New Zealand housing and health statistics also rank internationally, but regrettably for all the wrong reasons. New Zealand has one of the highest rates in the world of asthma, affecting one in four New Zealanders; one of the highest rates of excess winter mortality, where 1800 more New Zealanders die every winter than in other seasons – possibly due to cold indoor temperatures in our homes; one of the highest rates of rheumatic fever; and one of the highest rates of hospitalisation caused by staphylococcus infections. The most vulnerable members of society – children, elderly and infirmed—are those at greatest risk. We also have, by international standards, a very high rate of fuel poverty – the cost of heating your homes compared to income. Our homes should be a safe haven; resilient spaces that protect us from summer heat and winter chills, from driving rain and dampness. However, the majority of homes built to the New Zealand Building Code (pre-2004) are only 1°C warmer than the out- side temperature, and well below the 18° C minimum temperature set by the World Health Organisation. Some children sleep in bedrooms that are literally as cold as a fridge, and nearly half of New Zealand homes have visible mould. This timely book focuses attention on high performance and energy efficient homes. It heralds the tide change from the typical current view on what is the lowest stan- dard of housing that we can tolerate or legally build, to how a warm, dry and healthy home can be achieved. Attention on high performing homes will certainly result in healthy homes and healthier people. This book will spark lots of thought, funding and effort into energy efficient and healthy housing. It is my greatest wish that one day New Zealand will be ranked as a world leader in this domain. Where the attention goes the energy flows – this book is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Image credit Photo of Professor Robyn Phipps courtesy of Robyn Phipps.