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Christchurch City achieves double win in national energy awards

Vivien Hardie (Christchurch City Council), Gordon Craig (Ngäi Tahu Property) and David Jones (Powell Fenwick Consultants) accept the Public Sector Award.

Its innovative use of bioenergy and its highly efficient civic building have won Christchurch City Council two trophies in the 2010 EECA Awards.

The council took the Public Sector award sponsored by the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) programme for its six ‘green star' civic headquarters, which is not only a model of energy efficiency, but is set to become a net energy exporter thanks to a system that generates electricity from biogas. Alongside consultants Beca, the council also won the ECOsystems Renewable Energy category for its city-wide system that uses biogas, wood energy and biodiesel.

The council was 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 council partnered with Ngãi Tahu Property, with the involvement of consultants Powell Fenwick, and developed the civic building which 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 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 title of Supreme Winner in the 2010 EECA Awards went to Downer NZ. It won the Large Business category for its comprehensive programme to tackle energy use across the company, and it won the Innovation category for its fuel efficiency programme combining driver behaviour change with technology such as GPS and in-cab cameras.

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.

arrow iconDownload the Winners Booklet to find out more about the winners and finalists.

Other category winners:

  • Westpac won the Energy Management category for the energy component of its company-wide Our Tomorrow sustainability programme, which has cut energy use by 21% and CO2 emissions by 28%.
  • Taranaki pig farm the Lepper Trust won the Small - Medium Business award for its innovative use of biogas from effluent ponds to generate electricity.
  • Waikato earth-moving and transport firm Ruakuri Contracting won the Transport award for its success in reducing its environmental impact - embracing biodiesel as well as fuel efficiency.
  • The Community award was won by the Energy Efficiency Community Network for an energy advice line for householders that gave expert, tailored advice.
  • Professor Ralph Sims, who leads the Centre for Energy Research at Massey University, won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.