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New funding round to help improve energy efficiency

New funding round to help public sector organisations improve energy efficiency

Universities, polytechnics, local councils and hospitals are being given a leg up to get started on projects to improve their energy management to save money, reduce emissions and improve the quality of services they provide.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) today opened the latest funding round for Crown loans to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across public sector organisations.

EECA Business General Manager Greg Visser said public sector organisations could access the low-cost, interest-free loans to finance investments in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy technology.

“The opportunities are incredibly varied, a hospital may choose a more environmentally friendly system to heat their building while a council may want to invest in electric vehicles.

“These kinds of projects can benefit the communities they work with greatly, whether it’s improved comfort for hospital patients, better accommodation facilities for students, or reduced costs for rate payers.”

Like businesses, public sector organisations could save up to 20% of the energy they use through smarter energy use. EECA can support efforts to improve energy management through Crown loans, advice to create a long-term focus on energy management, and through other forms of co-funding.

Mr Visser said the loans were a great chance for public sector organisations to be innovative and prioritise energy management. There is $2 million in funding available for the loans in total. The round closes on 25 November.

“Kapiti Coast District Council has used almost $1.5 million in Crown loans to fund a wide variety of energy efficiency projects, from sewage sludge drying to swimming pool efficiency. As a result its
energy costs decreased by about $350,000 a year.

“Southern District Health Board was able to upgrade energy management systems at Kew Hospital using a combination of Crown loans and EECA funding in 2014,” Mr Visser said.

“The project will provide annual energy cost savings of $138,000 and carbon reductions of 1,350 tonnes a year.

“Those results speak for themselves, they’re good for the organisation but all New Zealanders benefit when a public sector agency is energy efficient.”

In the past five years, around 40 projects have received Crown loans, resulting in total cumulative savings of $9 million for the public sector and additional carbon reductions of over 5,000 tonnes each year.

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