International recognition New Zealand Household Energy End-use Project

Issue 22 – November 2010

A BRANZ Household Energy End-use Project (HEEP) project has received international recognition. A paper addressing energy use in New Zealand houses based on HEEP was recently published in the Building Research and Information journal's special issue on 'Housing occupancy feedback: linking behaviours and performance.'

HEEP was a multidisciplinary research project that looked at energy use in New Zealand homes and included monitoring of fuel use and temperatures, occupant surveys, and physical audits of 400 randomly selected houses throughout the different climate zones.

A key strength of the project was that it matched independently measured energy-use data with data about the households and their behaviours, and data about the dwellings in which those households live.

In the context of international research on residential energy use, HEEP is unique as it used both a nationally representative sample and monitored all energy sources and many end-uses for at least 11 months in each house.

The HEEP research paper was joined by others from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and UK which looked at subjects as diverse as the effect on householders' energy use of having 'smart' meters, how householders manage their housing depending on its type, and the use of feedback from those living in prototype houses to improve new housing designs.

BRANZ's Principal Scientist Nigel Isaacs said that the inclusion of the paper in this internationally respected peer-reviewed journal was an acknowledgement of the quality of New Zealand research.

'The HEEP research has provided critical new knowledge to help improve the health and comfort of New Zealand homes,' says Isaacs.

'The lessons we have learnt are now being made available to support not only the development of New Zealand policy, business and design, but to the wider international community.

'The skills and experience from HEEP are now being directed to improving our understanding of non-residential buildings, with the Building Energy End-use Study.'

To access the Building Research and Information journal visit ( To view the HEEP paper and other reports go visit the BRANZ bookshop on (

Summarised from a BRANZ notification 1 October 2010.

Published in building.