Energy savings are built into everyday business at Fulton Hogan
Fulton Hogan is on a mission to embed principles of energy efficiency into every aspect of its work. Whether they’re making asphalt, undertaking quarrying or running the depot, all activities are being looked at to ensure they comply with energy-saving measures and checklists.
For a company the size and stretch of Fulton Hogan, which employs more than 3,500 staff and has over 100 sites throughout New Zealand, the challenge is to have an energy-saving programme that can be applied consistently and effectively at a local level to achieve their national targets and work towards lowering the company’s carbon emissions.
Most New Zealand businesses can shave at least 20% off energy costs through smarter energy use, so Fulton Hogan partnered with EECA to implement a nationwide energy-management programme that would save money and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Through this partnership, Fulton Hogan was able to obtain professional and independent energy-management advice and assistance from Wilkinson Environmental, who is an EECA-approved supplier, and EECA shared the cost of the 12 months that Wilkinson Environmental worked with Fulton Hogan.
The first step was to seek out energy-reduction opportunities across sites nationwide, focusing on areas of greatest impact. Wilkinson Environmental visited Fulton Hogan’s highest energy-using sites, reviewed potential opportunities and created site-specific action plans. These were backed up by the creation of a national energy-management procedure with supporting guidelines and checklists for asphalt and bitumen plants, depots, precast concrete operations and quarries.
The diversity of Fulton Hogan’s activities allows for some specific energy reduction projects that complement their new national standards and act as standout examples of taking action on energy efficiency.
Two of the larger energy users are the asphalt manufacturing sites in Silverdale and Mount Wellington. The process of drying aggregate and heating oil and bitumen to make asphalt relies heavily on thermal systems and boilers, which run on gas and electricity.
A monitoring system was set up to track energy use across both plants and action was taken to trap escaping heat by increasing insulation and undertaking maintenance to improve mechanical performance. Additionally, recycled asphalt is being added in growing proportions to new asphalt, which helps reduce waste and lower the carbon footprint of this essential product.
Another unique project that will save in the order of $70,000 worth of diesel each year is the new electric water pump at Poplar Lane Quarry, which replaces the old diesel-powered pump that keeps the floor of the quarry free of ground and rainwater.
This means diesel no longer needs to be stored on site, which reduces health, safety and environmental risk levels while also significantly reducing associated carbon emissions. Not only that, the staff member who used to have to top up the generators over the weekends now has his Saturdays back.
In total, $565,000 (3.65 GWh) worth of energy savings were identified and more than $112,000 (0.9 GWh) of these were able to be implemented immediately. The investment made by Fulton Hogan on energy monitoring and management systems is being quickly recouped. The Poplar Lane pump for example has an estimated payback period of just two-and-a-half years.
Michael LeRoy-Dyson, Sustainability Manager at Fulton Hogan, is keen to keep up their high standards: “It seems that every time we shine a curious and motivated light on our energy use practices we find plenty of opportunity for improvement.
“Measuring, monitoring and managing our energy use across the business makes sound economic sense, it also provides an excellent target for focusing our innovation effort. Our people never cease to amaze with their ability to come up with smarter ways to do things, reducing energy use, carbon emissions and, ultimately, our dependence on fossil fuel resources.”