He’s super cute and woolly, but who is this adorable creature, and how is he helping Kiwis understand the health of our homes?
Introducing Mr Humfreez; the latest development from ANZ’s Healthy Homes initiative, created to help raise awareness around temperature, humidity and dampness, and encourage interest in how home environments can affect respiratory health.
The cute, woolly, smart sheep device features hygroscopic horns which unfurl with humidity, and a nose painted with thermochromic ink that turns blue as temperature drops. The cutting edge technology means there is no screen, no wires and no charging required.
Mr Humfreez recently made his debut at Stonefields School in Auckland, as part of a new education initiative. The vision is for the little sheep to become part of a healthy homes curriculum module that can be rolled out in classrooms nationwide.
The Foundation’s Head of Education and Research; Teresa Demetriou, says that this kind of innovation is exactly what’s needed to get young people understanding how their environment can affect their health.
The Mr Humfreez pilot programme is being led by Dale Bailey, a former Director of Collections Research and Learning at Te Papa. Dale is passionate about the initiative and has been blown away thrilled by the reception Mr Humfreez has experienced.
“The technology behind Mr Humfreez is incredible,” says Dale. “The thermochromic ink turns blue when the temperature drops below 18°C and the hygroscopic wooden horns gain and lose water to balance out with their environment, fully uncurling when the relative humidity level exceeds 65%.”
It is these metrics that have also been set by the World Health Organisation as standards for a healthy home, however, monitoring these factors with thermometers and hygrometers can be challenging for most. Mr Humfreez takes the functionality of this equipment and makes it easy and fun to use.
“We knew that Mr Humfreez would be liked, but we’re surprised by how much he is loved. The public has really responded to this little sheep and his mission to help Kiwis think more about how climate impacts our homes.”
Backed by the New Zealand Green Building Council, Mr Humfreez is part of ANZ’s Healthy Homes initiative and, if the initial trial is well received, ANZ will seek to produce more Mr Humfreez next winter.
Mr Humfreez is currently a pilot project, and unable to be ordered at this stage, however, you can keep up with the latest developments on the project here: anz.co.nz/promo/
Mould is a common issue in housing across New Zealand. Due to the lightweight properties of water vapour, it has a tendency to find its way into the ceiling cavity which is why the ceiling is often the first place you will find mould, a known trigger of asthma.
Many New Zealander’s will have just gone through a winter in a cold, damp home. Our houses are traditionally poorly heated and un-insulated – living in these environments can worsen symptoms for those living with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Thankfully, for many Kiwis help is now available through the Warmer Kiwi Homes grant.