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CCC plans to replace coal with diesel

11 May 2005

CCC plans to replace coal with diesel for heating Civic Offices

Changing to diesel from coal to heat Christchurch City Council's Civic Offices on Tuam Street would help reduce air pollution over the city, says project manager Mike Stockwell.

The building's elderly coal-fired boiler has a resource consent to operate until 10 November and City Councillors have been told the staff intend to apply for permission to swap to a diesel-fired central heating system. It is estimated this will cost about $410,000, with the money coming from existing budgets. Mr Stockwell says it may be possible to save some money if a suitable second-hand boiler can be purchased.

The alternatives of electricity and gas were looked at. "All three - diesel, gas and electricity - are markedly better than coal in terms of polluting emissions but of the three diesel is the cheapest.

"Compared to the current coal fuel, diesel will mean a very large cut in output of PM10 -- the very fine soot which scientists talk about in relation to harmful winter air pollution over Christchurch."

Mr Stockwell says the most recent test of the old coal boiler's smoke showed it was running well below the maximum emission levels levels allowed by the existing resource consent. An Environment Canterbury report on it at the time said the heating system was "very well run" and "operating efficiently and well within the set guidelines".

The City Council will apply for a new consent next month. If all goes to plan the replacement diesel-fuelled system will be designed and installed between October and March 2006. March is the start of the annual heating season.

As a precautionary measure the Council is seeking permission to temporarily continue operating the old coal-fired system. "We don't anticipate any problems getting consent for the new diesel option but we need to be prudent and have a back-up in case it is held up or delayed for some reason," Mr Stockwell says.


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