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Heating fuels

Use of electricity for heating continues to increase

Electricity remained the most common fuel type used to heat dwellings, by a wide margin, and the use of electricity for heating increased since the last census. In 2013, electricity was used for heating in 79.2 percent of occupied private dwellings, compared with 74.8 percent in 2006, and 72.0 percent in 2001.

Use of electricity varied by region. It was highest in the Canterbury region (89.9 percent) and lowest in the West Coast region (58.0 percent).

Wood was the second most common heating fuel, but the use of wood for heating decreased. In 2013, wood was used in 36.8 percent of occupied private dwellings, down from 40.9 percent in 2006, and 44.7 percent in 2001.

Use of wood was highest in the West Coast region (72.1 percent), and lowest in the Auckland region (22.5 percent).

Sharp decline in use of bottled gas for heating

There was a marked decline in the use of bottled gas for heating. In 2013, bottled gas was used in 15.4 percent of occupied private dwellings, down from 27.7 percent in 2006. This was a 41.4 percent decrease since 2006.

Use of mains gas for heating remained relatively low, at 12.0 percent. Mains gas is only available in some areas.

At the national level, coal was used for heating in just 4.1 percent of occupied private dwellings. However, use of coal was more common in certain regions, including the West Coast (55.7 percent) and Southland (35.5 percent). Use of solar power for heating increased, but was still rare, at 1.6 percent in 2013, up from 1.1 percent in 2006. The Tasman region had the highest percentage of occupied private dwellings using solar power for heating, at 3.7 percent.

Graph, Fuel types used to heat occupied private dwellings, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

Increase in dwellings with no heating

Private dwellings in which no heating fuels were ever used increased 35.1 percent. In 2013, 44,832 private dwellings never used heating fuels, making up 3.0 percent of occupied private dwellings. In 2006, there were 33,177 of these dwellings, making up 2.4 percent of occupied private dwellings.

Every region in New Zealand had dwellings in which no heating fuels were used, but the highest percentages were in the Auckland (5.9 percent) and Northland (5.3 percent) regions.

The Auckland local board areas with the highest percentages of dwellings that never used heating fuels were:

  • Waitemata – 15.8 percent or 4,671 dwellings
  • Mangere-Otahuhu – 12.3 percent or 1,851 dwellings
  • Otara-Papatoetoe – 10.6 percent or 1,863 dwellings.
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