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Gov. unwilling to back energy efficient initiative

Media Release Thursday 23rd December 2004

Government unwilling to back energy efficient initiative

A class room building project at an Opotiki school is struggling to attract additional government funding even though it provides unparalleled community and environmental benefits and generates annual energy savings between $6,000 - $10,000.

The community school building project that provides necessary new class, library and staff space has a $60,000 shortfall. The building marks a milestone for environmental design and construction in New Zealand – featuring straw-build, solar powered heating, cool-store thermal roof, double-glazing and a construction programme that involves the community. “This building will provide a model for energy efficiency and sustainability” says project manager Evan Crawford. “It is passively heated by solar energy and even generates surplus energy to heat the school swimming pool.”

Funding challenges are not uncommon for small country schools like Waiotahe, with a role of 90 students. Mr. Crawford has been disappointed by the lack of support for the project from government agencies that are responsible for encouraging energy efficiency and sustainability.

“The funding shortfall would have a pay-back period in as little as 6 years if energy savings were taken into account.”

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson released figures on Monday showing that New Zealand is falling well short of its energy efficiency targets set in the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NEECS).

Mr. Crawford comments that the project utilises readily available technologies to achieve significant energy efficiency gains. “We’re yet to see any real action from government funders in moving away from business as usual when it comes to buildings and energy efficiency.”

ENDS

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