25 Jan 2016

Concerns over use of foil for insulation

3:25 pm on 25 January 2016

The government's being called on to ban foil as an insulation method, as it considers changes to insulating rental properties.

A builder installing polystyrene used for insulation and foundation footings on a new home in Upper Hutt.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

If passed, the bill would make it compulsory to fit ceiling and floor insulation and smoke alarms in rental homes.

In 2007, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority dropped foil from its insulation programmes, following the deaths of three men who were electrocuted while installing it in their homes.

Sustainability Trust chief executive Phillip Squire said foil was a dangerous product if it was not installed correctly.

"By contacting live wires underneath the floor with staplers - that can have the effect of both zapping the installer and livening the foil underneath.

"That has both serious consequences for the installer but also if the foil is left live for anyone else under there."

Mr Squire said if the government insisted on allowing foil, strong regulations were needed around who installed it and to what standard.

Public submissions on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill close on Wednesday.