Beth's Story

Meet Beth. Beth is a homeowner in Rotorua who just wants her place to be warm, dry, and safe for her and her 14-year-old daughter. They live in a certified transportable building, made up of three parts: a 1995 portacom for her lounge, kitchen, and bedroom, an add-on shed for her bathroom, then an add-on partial portacom for her daughter’s room. Initially, Beth’s daughter’s room was not connected to the bathroom meaning she had to go outside to access the rest of the house.

Te Waiariki Purea Trust visited Beth in 2020 who then reached out to Sustainability Options to see if we could provide any support. One of our assessors, Phil Gregg, first visited in September 2020 for a home assessment and Beth agreed to join our new 20 Degrees programme. Phil’s key priorities were: fixing the rotten floor, installing insulation, installing a heat pump, and, fixing the broken windows and locks. While working on the whare, Phil educated Beth on ways she could make it as warm as possible. Eager to improve her situation, Beth followed these tips, gluing cardboard to her metal walls, and adding bubble wrap to the windows, holding in whatever heat she could. Full of initiative and drive, Beth is an empowered woman on a mission to make her home warm, dry and healthy. 

We organised The Glass Guys to fix the broken windows around the whare, to decrease heat loss. They also repaired and replaced the locks which, with the repaired windows, created security in her whare. Beth shared that this security for her and her daughter has been the most impactful action 20 Degrees has been able to provide. The knowledge that when she's out, her belongings are secured, or when she and her daughter are sleeping, no one can easily enter their home, has been a huge peace of mind. Once the house was secure, we got working on the bathroom floor.  Once the floor was repaired, Greenside was able to install underfloor insulation, then a heat pump, subsidised by EECA.

Once the heat pump was installed, the 20 Degrees team began to review what else could be done to bring Beth’s home up to 20°C.  We are now working on lining the walls in her daughter’s room, as well as creating privacy and warmth between the bathroom and bedroom by moving pipes that run through the entranceway so the door can close. This door will make a huge difference to Beth’s confidence as she feels guests will be able to use the restroom when visiting, something that isn’t currently happening. Despite having a way to go, Beth’s whare is a whole new space now. It’s now enough, “Within our little community it’s okay… that’s all become okay.” 

Beth’s whole perspective has changed. She is now excited for autumn, loving her deck, and sitting out in the crisp changing air, knowing that she can warm up again after. She emphasises each season change is no longer heaps of work which makes living more content. Beth is an absolute plant lover. Her deck is full of plants of all varieties and shares that they add some life to each room. Interestingly, Beth used to notice that mould would grow on the soil as winter crept in. She was delighted to tell us that this year, although winter hasn’t hit yet, the mould is much different, it's a drier mould, and there is a lot less of it, uniquely indicating her home is warmer, drier, and healthier. 

Beth opened up about the misconception that homeownership equals a whānau being physically and financially able to carry through with the upkeep of the property. She expresses that homeownership doesn’t mean the homeowner has got it all together. It doesn’t mean a person can or knows how to fix their home when it falls into disrepair, or more commonly, a home is inherited in poor condition. This is why Beth feels the work of the 20 Degrees Programme is so unique and important, to help homeowners with repairs and empower them to maintain their whare. 

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a FREE home assessment from Sustainability Options, fill out a form here and we will be in touch.


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