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What do a zoo and a paper mill have in common?

What do a zoo, a pulp and paper mill and a dairy factory have in common?

The winners of the 2004 EnergyWise Awards were announced in Auckland last night with Carter Holt Harvey’s Kinleith pulp and paper mill, three of Fonterra’s dairy processing facilities and Auckland Zoo among those revealed as leaders in their field.

Heather Staley Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says most people wouldn’t think that a zoo, a pulp and paper mill and a dairy processor, had much in common but they all show that smart energy management isn’t a fringe thing anymore – it’s now a mainstream practice for many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

“Energy efficiency won’t solve all of New Zealand’s electricity supply issues, but it is definitely part of the solution. Tonight’s winners are examples of world’s best practice.

“Whether it’s the time of an energy manager, capital investments in more efficient plant, or innovative thinking, the rewards have been more than worth it for these organisations,” Ms Staley said.

Carter Holt Harvey’s Kinleith pulp and paper mill picked up the Supreme Award and the Sustained Achievement Award.

Energy represents 14% of the total cost of dried product and is projected to cost Carter Holt Harvey’s Kinleith mill $58 million by the end of 2004. Over a period of five years, electricity use per tonne of air dried product has reduced by 17% and gas use by 34%. In that period, the mill also increased production by 25% but managed to keep CO2 emissions stable.

“Improving plant and involving staff to come up with innovative ways to tackle energy use, has made very good business sense for Carter Holt Harvey with the savings totalling millions of dollars. The sheer scale of the savings and the long term commitment to energy efficiency projects make Carter Holt Harvey a truly outstanding example of energy management in action,” Ms Staley said.

Another major industrial energy user is Pan Pac Forest Products, joint winner of the Meridian Energy Renewable Energy Award.

By going for renewable power when buying a new boiler to produce heat for timber drying, Pan Pac solved two problems in one go. The new boiler met their increased energy needs and because it is fuelled by waste wood, rather than gas, it helps solve the problem of finding more landfill space for the plant’s waste. Because the new ‘bubbling fluid bed’ boiler can handle wetter wood than other boilers it makes the plant more self reliant and the operation of the whole plant smoother.
“Pan Pac’s project uses leading edge technology and meets increased energy demand in a sustainable way. We’ll see more of this technology in the future as wood processors look for sustainable solutions to their energy demands,” Ms Staley said.

Solid Energy is perhaps better known for its coal extraction, but its diversification into renewable energy through Solid Energy Renewable Fuels has made it joint winner of the Meridian Energy Renewable Energy Award.

Solid Energy purchased Pellet Fireplaces and Pellet Fuels New Zealand Ltd in September 2003 and rebranded the products as Nature’s Flame wood pellet fires and pellets. The domestic fires burn compressed wood pellets in an enclosed fireplace leaving no dust, smell, condensation or smoke. They are energy efficient and produce a low rate of particulate emissions. The pellets are made from 100% sawdust and wood chip waste. It is renewable and carbon-neutral.

“The pellet fires and pellets make good use of a residue product that would otherwise be dumped in our landfills. This is an innovative product which offers homeowners an energy efficient and renewable alternative for their heating needs,” Ms Staley said.

As New Zealand’s largest company and owner of the world’s largest dairy processing facility, Fonterra has enormous plants and technically complex processing operations. But energy efficiency still plays a key role in achieving the company’s goal to be the world’s lowest-cost commodity supplier of dairy ingredients while leading the global industry in manufacturing excellence. This commitment, and the results achieved has led to Fonterra being awarded the New Zealand Steel Industrial/Manufacturing Award.

Fonterra’s ‘Utility Reduction Project’ aims to secure a 10% utility saving at production plants at Whareroa near Hawera, Lichfield in the Waikato and Clandeboye near Timaru. By the end of the first year of implementation, in December 2003, the project achieved 6.7% energy savings at Lichfield and 3% at Clandeboye.

“Fonterra has made a clear commitment to a series of significant energy saving projects and the project shows the importance of smart energy management in gaining a competitive edge,” Ms Staley said.

With commercial energy use accounting for 9% of New Zealand’s total energy consumed, getting things such as lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning right in the building environment can have a big impact on the energy used by building occupants. Kiwi Income Property Trust must rate as one of New Zealand’s best landlords.

Winner of the Genesis Energy Commercial/Services Award for Auckland’s prestigious Vero Centre (formerly the Royal and Sun Alliance Centre) Kiwi Income Property Trust not only designed the building for smart energy use, their continued fine tuning and analysis has seen the building’s energy use fall by 7% in two years – at the same time as occupancy increased to 100%. Kiwi uses the Vero Centre as a test-bed for energy saving ideas and technologies which it then applies to other facilities.

“Kiwi Income Property Trust is a rare landlord. Their scrupulous energy monitoring and target-setting is an excellent model for others to pursue whether for constructing a new building or improving a building’s ongoing operations,” Ms Staley said.

Zoos are another rare beast. With a diverse range of environments, from African grasslands for giraffes to tropical rainforests for apes, Auckland Zoo had a real challenge on their hands when trying to rein in an increasing energy bill.

Winner of the WEL Networks Public Sector Award, Auckland Zoo has achieved a 34% saving on electricity consumption in just two years. Energy consumption went wild after a sea lion and penguin exhibit went live in 2001 but since an initial energy audit the zoo hasn’t looked back.

“The savings made by Auckland Zoo are substantial and the results are even more impressive when you consider the unusual working environment. Auckland Zoo is proof that no matter how unique an organisation, energy efficiency has a role to play,” Ms Staley said.

Another unique environment is the Gore Multisport Centre. The partnership between Gore District Council and Ice Sports Southland won the Contact Energy Innovation Award for their inspiring teamwork and imaginative engineering.

Ice Sports Southland had a cramped ice rink in a cold building; Gore District Council had a small coal-fired swimming pool in poor condition. The new ice rink would need cooling and the swimming pool would need heating so the smart thing to do was build them close together and share the energy. Engineering consultancy firm MWH New Zealand found a way of getting the unwanted heat from the ice rink to heat the aquatic centre’s water and air, and keep the air in the ice rink dry while the aquatic centre’s air remained moist. The combined facility is more energy efficient than most aquatic centres alone.

“The creativity shown in designing such a clever and energy efficient process was a New Zealand’s first and made this an outstanding example of innovation in action,” Ms Staley said.

The Energy Management Association Energy Manager Award recognises those individuals who are behind the outstanding results achieved by New Zealand companies and public sector organisations. There are joint winners.

Arnold Yeoman, site manager for Morrinsville’s Degussa Peroxide Ltd, operates a five-year energy management plan and energy management has evolved to a philosophy of constant improvement rather than ad hoc quick fixes. Arnold’s target is for a 34.5% reduction in total energy use from 1998 to 2007.

“The scale and scope of what Arnold Yeoman has achieved, and the consistent effort over such a broad timeframe make Arnold a true energy champion,” Ms Staley said.

The joint winner was Tim Armstrong, maintenance manager at Victoria University, who was the driving force behind a $1 million investment in a building management system and extensive metering and benchmarking. In his ten years in the job, Tim has seen a dramatic increase in student numbers and in the building area of the three campus university. As part of its five year energy management plan, Victoria is producing an energy-related design brief for new building projects.

“Tim has earned the confidence of management and is continuing to find ways of improving the energy efficiency of Victoria University. His emphasis on measurement is an example to maintenance, or energy, managers around New Zealand,” Ms Staley said.

A commitment over the past two years in encouraging their customers to both conserve and make more efficient use of energy has led Mercury Energy to win the Transpower Energy Supplier Award.

Mercury implemented a series of integrated campaigns including ‘Beat-Your-Bill’ in 2001 and 2003, customer awareness and education in 2002 and 2003, and an inhouse campaign aimed at getting staff to implement energy efficiency.

“Mercury has shown that they practiced what they preached in 2003 and have continued to build on the experience they gained during the dry winter of 2001,” Ms Staley said.

The Huntly Energy Efficiency Trust was awarded the Pink® Batts® Ultra™ Community Award for its work installing energy efficiency measures such as ceiling and underfloor insulation, hot water cylinder wraps, draught stopping and energy efficient lightbulbs, in 2,700 homes. Created in 2001, the Trust performs an important role in the community.

“The Huntly Energy Efficiency Trust has overcome its arson-destroyed premises in late 2003 and continues to develop new ways of bringing energy efficiency and sustainable energy to the Waikato region,” Ms Staley said.

But energy use isn’t limited to homes and workplaces, transport is a significant energy user in New Zealand – consuming 43% of our energy and emitting 46% of our greenhouse gases.

The winner of the BP Transport Award North Shore City Council is leading the way in putting sustainable transport use into action at a local level. The council’s enforcement and communications campaign around the Onewa Road Transit Lane (a priority lane for buses, cars carrying three people or more, motorcycles and bicycles) has seen maximum travel times in the transit lane cut by 80%, saving half an hour for commuters. Bus services are able to keep to timetables and patronage is up by 25%. At least two thirds of all people using Onewa Road in the morning use the transit lane and carpooling has risen from 9% in 1982 to more than 26% in 2003.

“The effort North Shore City Council continues to put into sustainable transport solutions is impressive and serves as an example to the rest of New Zealand. The quicker car trips alone save more than 400,000 litres of fuel a year,” Ms Staley said.

Ms Staley said the EnergyWise Awards are a showcase of innovative thinking and smart business management and the more than 100 entries judged and 27 finalists show how mainstream energy efficiency and renewable energy is becoming.

Ms Staley said that EECA is implementing the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy through improving energy choices.

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