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A simple approach to heating homes drives the Genesis campaign

Small solutions like having the right curtains not only help retain heat and reduce household energy bills, they can also improve people’s health and lead to happier lifestyles.

A consumer report shows that up to 45% of heat escapes through windows, often due to ill-fitting or thin curtains. With that in mind, Genesis has launched its Warmer Homes campaign in support of three community organizations in New Zealand, providing curtains to homes and families in need.

These organizations also provide energy efficiency consulting and other essential services so their communities can live in warmer, healthier homes.

From April 28 to June 27, Genesis is asking people to support the Sustainability Trust in Wellington, Community Energy Action in Christchurch and Habitat for Humanity Northern Region – and has pledged to match donations up to a total value of $100,000.

Genesis Chief Retail Officer Stephen England-Hall says keeping homes warm and healthy is a problem for many people.

“As an energy company, we’re passionate about ensuring New Zealanders live in warm, healthy homes, and a big part of that is knowing how we can support communities – our own customers and also those who aren’t,” he says. “These community organizations have been working with Genesis for a number of years to help support families in need.

“It is recognized that better social outcomes and better life outcomes come from being able to live in healthier and warmer homes,” he says. “As a company we have been thinking about what we can do to support that, so our work with curtain banks in particular has been crucial in helping to realize that vision.”

A team of mainly volunteers makes the curtains for families.

Genesis has supported Sustainability Trust (ST) since 2010. These funds enable Wellington Curtain Bank, which is part of ST, to purchase sewing supplies to repair and make high-performing curtains and deliver them across the region.

WCB manager Julie Gunn says her team of two full-time staff and 24 volunteers are committed to supporting families, especially those in rental properties, who do not have quality curtains in their homes and cannot afford to replace them.

“At Wellington Curtain Bank we receive donations of good quality curtain rails and used curtains,” she says. “We upcycle them into fully lined, custom curtains for people and families in need.”

Gunn explains that fully lined curtains, which extend to the floor, are the best option for retaining heat in your home.

“What this does is stop the cold coming in from your window, and also stop all that heat from being lost,” she says. “People spend a lot of money to heat their homes, but if their curtains are not lined and properly fitted, a lot of that heat will simply escape.”

By retaining heat in homes, residents’ health outcomes improve and preventable diseases are reduced, she says.

Small donations to create a world of difference

As temperatures drop across the country, Genesis and its three charity partners are asking anyone who can help to make a donation.

England-Hall is also encouraging people to ‘ironically’ work with their energy companies to find ways to reduce their energy consumption.

“We want to enable our customers to be part of the transition to a sustainable energy future,” he says. “That requires not only advanced technical solutions, but also helping customers who are vulnerable and need support.”

Stephen England-Hall, head of retail at Genesis

Gunn says that while donations of curtains and curtain rails are always welcome, cash donations are desperately needed to help the WCB continue the important work they do.

“(ST) is a social enterprise and we support people to live in warm and healthy homes, we help them reduce their impact on the environment and give back to the community through sustainable living,” she says.

“Genesis very generously gives us funding every year that helps us run the curtain bank, and we couldn’t do what we do without that funding from them.”

Genesis supports warm, healthy homes for Kiwis, and you can do it too. Simply donate to the community groups Genesis supports and you’ll help Kiwis in need stay warm this winter. Donate visit genesisenergy.co.nz or the Genesis Facebook page

This content was sponsored by Genesis.