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New Plymouth District Council is a finalist for a national award in energy efficiency.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has named the Council in the EECA Awards 2012 Public Sector category for excellence and innovation in energy efficiency or renewable energy.
NPDC’s energy management programme is up against projects from Kapiti Coast District Council, the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Post Group.
“EECA received nearly 90 entries for the eight award categories so it’s fantastic to be named as a finalist,” says Manager Energy Jon Seal.
“We’ve had an energy management programme running since 2007. We’ve made a heck of a lot of moderate improvements to how we use energy – be it electricity, gas, petrol or diesel.”
The programme has so far resulted in savings of about $500,000, and the Council is well ahead of its carbon emissions target with overall emissions down more than 20 per cent from 2007.
Says Manager Procurement Murray Keast: “What we’ve done here across all of the Council’s worksites involves all staff, and it’s a good example of how little steps can add up to big savings. The energy management programme has changed the way we do things.”
The programme included energy audits of various Council sites, followed by improvements to hardware or changes to operations, and constant monitoring and review of energy use.
Projects coming up include a trial of LED lights in streetlights, reducing gas use at the New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Plant’s thermal drying facility, and an increased focus on energy management in new projects.
“We’re up against stiff competition in our category, but EECA’s recognition is confirmation that we’re doing really good work in energy efficiency,” says Mr Keast.
EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill says the judges were particularly impressed with the standard of entries.
“These are trailblazers who are finding innovative energy solutions and tackling energy use head on,” says Mr Underhill. “They’re making a difference in the community, to business, to the environment, to the economy and crucially, to our everyday understanding of energy. This benefits all of us.”
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 23 May.