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Govt should take lead in saving energy - Greens

22 February 2000

The Government should look at using solar heat in hospitals and police stations, and converting suitable Government vehicles to CNG, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. Ms Fitzsimons was responding to a report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment tabled in Parliament today, which called for the Government to set a good example by introducing energy efficiency measures in the public sector.

In his report on energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives, Commissioner Morgan Williams recommended Government departments, ministries, agencies and state-owned enterprises monitor and report on their energy efficiency, with the aim of meeting an overall Government energy efficiency target, for example a 20 per cent improvement by 2005.

Ms Fitzsimons said any new hospitals, school buildings and offices should be insulated to meet standards higher than the current building code, and designed to make full use of the sun's heat in winter and cooling air flows in summer.

"I'd like to see a commitment made to improving architecture design at the initial stages, for instance when the new Wellington hospital is on the drawing board."

Ms Fitzsimons said solar space and water heating could be used to supply some of the energy needs for hospitals, police stations and Government offices. Suitable Government vehicles could be converted to CNG.

"If the Government made a strong commitment to buying solar technology wherever it was cost effective, it would help bring down the cost for other consumers, as well as reducing our appalling level of carbon dioxide emissions."

"The commissioner says wasted energy is costing tens of millions of dollars throughout New Zealand, and our addiction to fossil fuels means we have one of the worst records of carbon dioxide emissions in the Western world."

"My Energy Efficiency Bill sets out a framework which makes it possible to implement all of the recommendations that the commissioner makes. I hope that his next report card in three years time will reflect the positive moves in energy efficiency that my bill will introduce," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: (04) 470 6661 or 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press Secretary: (04) 470 6723

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