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Christchurch Energy Champions ‘Making a Positive Difference’


Christchurch Energy Champions ‘Making a Positive Difference’ to Future City

Two winners have been honoured in the Christchurch Energy Champion Award - Community Energy Action for its work ensuring energy-efficient home repairs; and Tait Communications, for its sustainable business campus plan.

The special Christchurch category was added to the 2014 EECA Awards to highlight the importance of energy use in the city’s re-development, and inspire those involved in the rebuild.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill said it was apt to have winners representing the residential and business sectors – as smart energy use impacted positively on both.

“It’s fantastic to see such inspirational winners honoured in both sectors. Warm, dry and energy efficient homes are vital to people’s health and wellbeing, paying dividends in lower health costs and manageable energy bills. For business, locking in energy efficiency at the design stage means significant cost and productivity benefits over the long term.

“Both are important if Christchurch is to seize the opportunity offered by the rebuild to be as competitive, productive, and healthy as it can be. These winners are showing the way, making a positive difference to the future city.”

The overall 2014 EECA Supreme Award and Small to Medium Business award went to family flower-growing business K&L Nurseries for a bioenergy project that is the first of its type in New Zealand.

CEA, a long-time advocate of home energy efficiency, has spear-headed a raft of programmes to ensure people in damaged homes are warm, dry and healthy. It helped pilot Build Back Smarter to improve homes undergoing EQC repairs; worked with CERA on emergency repairs for vulnerable households; and with the Red Cross is now delivering a $3.3m programme to upgrade the thermal performance of 250 homes across Christchurch.

The Award judges said CEA showed “energy, initiative and a genuine determination to tackle fuel poverty,” saying it rose to the occasion after the earthquakes.

Multi-national communications firm Tait is developing its 11ha business campus to be a model of energy efficiency and sustainability. The first 7,000m2 office complex, due for completion soon, will be 50% more energy efficient than the former building through smart design and technology. Oriented for sun, it will bring in natural light via an atrium, and a state-of-the-art system will use recycled ground water to heat and cool spaces efficiently. Tait aims to attract other technology businesses - creating a ‘vibrant collaborative campus’ and economic asset for the city.

The judges said the project would be worthy of admiration anywhere, but in Christchurch it had potential to be “a positive touchstone for a re-emerging city, economically and environmentally.”

The other two finalists – Opus International Consultants and TM Consultants – were both Highly Commended for their work promoting energy efficiency in the commercial rebuild.

Opus – which is also managing the Tait Communications campus – is integrating energy efficient design into many commercial developments, including two anchor projects: the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct and Avon River Precinct.

TM Consultants, led by Director Mike Baker, has run seminars and published guidance to help the industry better understand energy-efficient design – as well as finding more than 20% average savings in energy modelling for its own clients.

Mr Underhill said the work of companies such as Opus and TM were vital. “There are still barriers to energy efficiency in the commercial rebuild, mainly because people fear it will add to the cost. In fact, designing for good energy efficiency often means more cost-effective construction, higher value assets, and locks in savings for the long-term.”

The Christchurch Energy Champion Award was sponsored by the Christchurch Agency for Energy (Café). Chair Cr Pauline Cotter said thinking differently about ways to better use and generate energy was a vital part of Christchurch’s rebuild, and its future.

“We’re in the unique position of being able to envisage and plan for sustainability and resilience on a city-wide scale, leading by example in the process. This means moving towards a higher proportion of renewable energy and being more energy-efficient, as we recreate homes, businesses and infrastructure in Christchurch.”

Christchurch companies also featured strongly in other Award categories. Supreme Award winner K&L Nurseries is based in Springston, while Momentive Specialty Chemicals, which won the Large Business Award and was co-winner of the Innovation Award, is based in Hornby. Its project was a boiler that runs on waste gas rather than fossil fuel, cutting fuel use and CO2 emissions by 90%.

The EECA Awards, held every two years, celebrates organisations and individuals that demonstrate excellence in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Collectively, 2014 Awards entrants have saved or generated energy worth around $100 million over the life of the projects, and have reduced or avoided 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Awards are presented in partnership with Principal Sponsors Fujitsu General NZ, Opus International Consultants and Vector.

For more about the winning projects see www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/awards-2014

The 2014 EECA Award Winners: full list

• Supreme winner: K&L Nurseries

• Large Business: Momentive Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions

• Small to Medium Business: K&L Nurseries

• Public Sector: Kāpiti Coast District Council / Unitec

• Renewable Energy: Government of Tokelau

• Energy Management: DNZ Property Fund

• Innovation: Momentive Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions / Ngati Hine Health Trust

• Community: Kāpiti Coast District Council

• Christchurch Energy Champion: Community Energy Action / Tait Communications

• Energy Leadership: Martin Fryer, Auckland International Airport


Note to Editors:

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is the Crown agency that encourages, supports, and promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand. EECA provides information to households through ENERGYWISETM www.energywise.govt.nz and to businesses through EECA BUSINESSTMwww.eecabusiness.govt.nz

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