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Christchurch energy innovation recognised in national awards

Christchurch energy innovation recognised in national awards

Christchurch City Council and its project partners have secured several national 2010 EECA Awards for the innovative use of bioenergy and highly efficient civic building.

The Council, Ngai Tahu and Powell Fenwick took the Public Sector award for the Civic building's energy efficiency. The building is set to become a net energy exporter thanks to a system that generates electricity from biogas. The Renewable Energy Award went to the Council and its consultants Beca, for its city-wide system that uses biogas, wood energy and biodiesel.

The Council and project partner Powell Fenwick were also Highly Commended in the Innovation category for its tri-generation system - the first of its kind in the world - which uses biogas to produce electricity, heat and refrigeration.

"These are outstanding projects. Christchurch has created something that all of New Zealand can take pride in," said EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill. "It demonstrates real leadership, using renewable energy in an imaginative way but also striving to operate efficiently - showing that it's not just where energy comes from that is important, but how well we use it.

"This has multiple benefits - it's delivering value for ratepayers, and as one of our major tourist hubs, it underpins our reputation as a 'clean, green' destination. This should also help to raise the profile of good energy use within the community. It's an excellent role model for other councils."

The civic building, owned and developed with the Council by Ngai Tahu, incorporates a number of features to reduce energy consumption while maximising the use of renewable energy - including biogas and solar energy. It's the first building in the country to be awarded six stars under the New Zealand Green Building Council's 'green star' scheme

The council is also saving $5 million a year in energy costs through its use of renewable energy to power city facilities. Biogas produced at the Burwood landfill and Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant is piped through an 18km network before being used for heating, cooling, drying and generating electricity. The average payback on its energy projects is 2.7 years.

The Council's energy manager Leonid Itskovich says the Awards recognise the Council's commitment to giving the city the rewards that come from energy efficiency.

"Not only are these solutions smart, they also result in net gain for the city, and show how any organisation can use energy efficiency to reduce cost and attract new value," he says.

The EECA Awards celebrate organisations and individuals who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in energy efficiency or renewable energy. This year, nearly 100 entries were received across the nine categories. Entrants ranged from small businesses to large corporates to outstanding invididuals, spanning public and private sectors and community-based organisations

The Council was also a finalist in this week's New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards for its kerbside collection programme.

ENDS

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