Ophir: The Town that came in from the Cold

By Anonymous
August 13, 2013

Despite rivalry between Ophir and Ranfurly regarding New Zealand's coldest town, German giant Knauf Insulation chose the Central Otago settlement of Ophir when they decided to insulate the homes of a resilient community.

Knauf is on the cusp of completing a 12 month project to insulate every single home and most commercial buildings in Ophir from the pub to the church, warming up the lives of the 50 residents of the small town and the thousands of rail trail visitors that pass through every year.

"Knauf is a family owned company that prides itself on community values and being a responsible corporate citizen. We believed this was a useful way to demonstrate our commitment to improving energy efficiency in New Zealand and help some very hardy South Islanders become more comfortable in their homes," said Stuart Dunbar, General Manager of Knauf Insulation AU/NZ.

The historic gold-mining town was full of quaint, old, energy inefficient homes and insulating them all was no small feat. The final house is to be completedin Augustmarking the end of this lengthy project.

In 1995, Ophir, two hours outside of Dunedin, recorded New Zealand's coldest temperature of -21.6°C. Residents remember livestock freezing to the ground and prising frozen hens from their perches.

"We would have to cart buckets of water to the toilet to be able to flush because all of the pipes were frozen," recalls Jack Allen, an Ophir local.

Despite a worldwide presence, Knauf is new to New Zealand and recognised the opportunity to assist the community by bringing the coldest town in from the icy South Island temperatures with its high performance Earthwool®glasswool insulation.

Knauf's Earthwool glasswool insulation is a higher quality product that is safer and more environmentally friendlier than traditional products on the market. And, what's more, it is an energy saving product that has been used in some of the world's coldest climates in Europe, North America and Russia.


With construction costs in New Zealand on the rise, Earthwool glasswool insulation is more cost effective for builders, installers and homeowners. It can be ordered online or installed through Eco Insulation or Right House.

For more information and to buy online visit earthwool.co.nz