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Ministry walking the talk on energy efficiency

28 June 2006

Environment Ministry walking the talk on energy efficiency

Environment House, home of the government department responsible for environmental issues, has been rated the most energy efficient office building in New Zealand.

An independent audit has shown that its energy consumption is only 40 per cent of the average energy use of similar buildings in New Zealand. Environment House currently uses 113 kWh/m2 a year, compared to the New Zealand average of 269 kWh/m2 a year for office buildings.

“It is good to see Government ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to sustainable use of resources,” said Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.

This lower consumption means that the Ministry spends approximately $100,000 less per year on energy than the average building of the same size.

Environment House was not designed as a ‘green building’ but energy consumption has been kept low through a careful selection of building materials, roof insulation, sensor lights, smart systems for appliances and air conditioning, and a high awareness amongst staff.

“Government expects all central government agencies to look into their energy consumption as part of their commitment to the Govt3 project – our flagship programme to promote sustainable practices within the public sector,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Little steps can go a long way. Staff are to be commended for their energy saving behaviour - turning off the lights when they leave meeting rooms, turning off the computers when they go home, and frequently using the stairs rather than the lifts.”

Heather Staley, Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority said a culture of energy management can significantly reduce the energy use of a building.

“Reducing the energy use to less than half that of a standard building will save the Ministry for the Environment money on its energy bills, and deliver significant environmental benefits,” Ms Staley said.

ENDS

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