Wood and coal fires

This section provides statistics on the type of heating used to heat dwellings in New Zealand. 

In 2015, home heating emissions from burning wood or coal were the largest source of New Zealand’s key air pollutant, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). Other home heating emissions from wood and coal fires include gases such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, as well as organic matter [1].

Documents

Metadata: Main types of heating used to heat dwellings Download report PDF
Factsheet: Main types of heating (Dec 2020) Download report PDF

Heat pumps and electric heaters were the main types of heating in New Zealand in 2018

In 2018, heat pumps and electric heaters were the two main types of heating used to heat private dwellings in New Zealand (Figure 1). Wood-fired heaters such as wood burners or pellet fires were used in 33.3% (lower and upper logical bound: 30.6-39.4) of private dwellings as the main source of heating. Coal burners were used in just over 1.2% (1.1-9.9) of dwellings as the main heating source.

Figure 1: Main types of heating used to heat dwellings, New Zealand, 2018

Fig 1: Main types of heating used to heat dwellings New Zealand 2018

Note: Multiple responses were allowed, values therefore do not add up to 100%. Logical bounds give the lower and upper bounds of what the percentage could be, allowing for the missing data due to implementation problems with the Census.

Source: Census 2018

South Island dwellings were more likely to use wood or coal fires as their main type of heating

Grey District (41.0%, 37.9-46.5) and Buller District (34.9%, 31.1-43.1) had the highest proportion of coal fires as their main type of heating in New Zealand (1.2%, 1.1-9.9) (Figure 2). Similarly, Mackenzie District (81.4%, 72.5-84.0) and Hurunui District (81.0%, 74.7-83.4) had the highest proportion of wood fires as their main type of heating (33.3%, 30.6-39.4) (Figure 3).

Figure 2: Percentage of dwellings using coal burners as their main type of heating, by territorial authority (TA), 2018

Figure 3: Percentage of dwellings using wood fires as their main type of heating, by territorial authority (TA), 2018 

Information about the data

Source: Stats NZ - New Zealand 2018 Census of Populations and Dwellings

Definition: Main types of heating were classified as: no heating required, heat pump, electric heater, gas heater (fixed gas heater and portable gas heater), wood heater (wood burner and pellet fire), coal burner, and other types of heating. Multiple responses were allowed.

2018 Census data: Stats NZ has noted that the 2018 Census had a lower than expected response rate resulting in the introduction of new methods to produce the dataset, including using data from alternative sources. Stats NZ and the 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel (EDQP) have produced a rating system to help the users understand the quality-related issues and impacts of the 2018 Census dataset.

EHI have decided to update this factsheet based on the documentation relating to the ‘Main types of heating and fuel types used to heat dwellings’ indicator. The EDQP rating for this indicator was moderate and the response rate was 92.3%. Further details are in the metadata, and further information about the Stats NZ and EDQP documentation can be found in https://www.stats.govt.nz/2018-census/data-quality-for-2018-census

Logical bounds: The 2018 Census suffered from implementation problems, and as a result, had a lower than expected response rate resulting in missing data. We therefore present the lower and upper logical bounds of what the percentage could be, allowing for the missing data. The lower bound is calculated as the count among the total value, whereas the upper bound is calculated as the sum of the count and unknowns among the total value.

Time trend: There was a change in the census question; therefore no comparison with previous Census years can be made.

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