Bubble Wrap as an Insulator

Chief Executive
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Some of you may have seen the recent Press article about an Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust unit and the use of bubble wrap on the windows as an insulator. We’d like to tell you more about the background to this story…

The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust is the landlord of 2300 social housing units across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula owned by the Christchurch City Council. We put tenants at the centre of everything we do, and we are committed to ensuring our tenants have warmer, drier, healthier homes.

Having said that, the Trust acknowledges that some of our older homes do not have the modern fixtures that help to reduce condensation build up and retain heat effectively.  The design of some of these homes also may make it difficult to have insulation installed. The Trust is responsible for addressing your concerns about your home in the short term and Christchurch City Council, as the asset owner, is responsible for any longer-term upgrades to your home. Christchurch City Council is looking at the long-term options for improving warmth in its older units

In the interim, the Trust has looked for temporary solutions to improve insulation and warmth in our tenants’ homes. As a result, the Trust’s Warm and Well project commenced in April 2018. The project provides information to tenants on how to create a warm, healthy home and thanks to our Christchurch sponsors, we have provided 325 scoopys, 222 draught stoppers and bubble wrap to tenants free of charge.

Community Energy Action (CEA) presented to tenants at 14 organised information sessions in May/June 2017. They spoke about the benefits of bubble wrap and other methods to assist with reducing condensation build up and improve the warmth of homes. CEA provided resources which informed and supported the commencement of the Trust’s Warm and Well Project in 2018.

Bubble Wrap is a budget friendly way to insulate a chilly home while reducing power costs. It can be fitted immediately, and it helps reduce condensation build up and heat loss by creating an air gap between the glass and the plastic to stop warm air from escaping. It is a cheap, effective insulation option that can be used in the short or longer term. It is up to tenants to choose if they wish to apply the bubble wrap. The Trust does not use contractors to install bubble wrap as placing bubble wrap on the windows is very easy to do. Tenants can ask their Tenancy Manager to assist with the process.

Bubble wrap as an insulator where double glazing is not installed, is a temporary solution.

Here are some simple tips on how to use bubble wrap as an insulator:

  • Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window pane with scissors.
  • Spray a film of water on the window using a spray bottle.
  • Apply the bubble wrap while the window is still wet and press it into place.
  • The bubble side goes toward the glass.
  • To remove the bubble wrap, just pull it off starting from a corner.  You can save it and use it for several years. It does not leave a mess or stains on the window glass.

Where a tenant, at their own cost, requests to install alternative heating in their home, such as a heat pump, the Trust will forward the request to the Christchurch City Council for their consideration and approval as the asset owner. In most instances, the Trust will support such requests from tenants.

As always, we encourage any tenants that have issues to call us on our 24-hour number 0800624456. Tenants can also request a copy of “The Healthy Home Guide” which has a range of tips for helping to keep your home warm and dry.

For further information on energy efficient solutions check out these sites:

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The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust
61 Kilmore St,

Hours: 8.30 am-5.00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Postal: PO Box 53, Christchurch 8140

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