Red Stag Timber, now on the world stage in sustainability, scooped the Large Energy User of the Year category at the EECA Business Awards 2018.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which hosts the Awards, say they were more targeted this year, recognising those businesses making big reductions in carbon emissions through saving energy or switching fuel types.
The theme this year was 'innovation and leadership' and only the largest of New Zealand's energy users were eligible to enter.
This call was answered by Red Stag Timber, which was recognised for its carbon-neutral wood processing plant. The company now generates all its own electricity from biomass boilers and steam turbines. Waste wood from their timber mill is used to fuel the boilers, instead of being trucked to landfill, so they no longer need to worry about the power bill.
As the largest timber mill in the Southern Hemisphere, the move puts the Kiwi business on the world stage with regards to sustainability.
EECA Chief Executive, Andrew Caseley, presented the Large Energy User of the Year category at the Awards and said he was blown away by the broad mix of entries submitted by both private and public sector organisations in the finals: "There are no losers here; least of all our environment and economy.
"Every entry to the EECA Business Awards demonstrates the effort that New Zealand organisations are making in their daily work to bring the low-emissions future that we must have closer to becoming a reality for the country.
"Those businesses commended, highly commended or that won their category are some of the smartest business leaders that New Zealand has to offer. Their success can be drawn on by others for solutions in energy-efficiency and emissions reduction.
"Through the awards, we have seen innovative technology put to work, the establishment of long-term energy and emissions reduction goals and staff engagement and empowerment that, collectively, demonstrates a Kiwi workforce with energy efficiency at its heart."
According to the University of Waikato's Engineering Energy Research Centre, who gave their world-leading expertise to the judging process, an outstanding selection of energy efficiency and low emission stories were submitted by New Zealand industry, health and education providers and the public sector. Awards judge Dr Martin Atkins said that "an eclectic mix of energy efficient, low-emission stories contributed to the stellar line up."
"Businesses thinking long term and setting targets for energy and emissions reduction are what counts for New Zealand. Important environmental decisions sitting alongside financial ones improve a business' durability, and it was this that we wanted to reward."
EECA BUSINESS AWARDS WINNERS 2018
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
The Canterbury tourist attraction is converting methane - a greenhouse gas and by-product of collecting underground thermal water - into electricity with a 65kw Capstone Turbine generator, which provides power to the facility.
Public Sector Award
Victoria University of Wellington
The University is more than a decade into its comprehensive energy management programme and despite a 15 per cent increase in floor space and an additional 500 equivalent full-time students in that time, energy use continues to drop, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,800 tonnes per year. A combination of improved building management systems, renewable energy generation and student buy-in has achieved the result.
Energy & Emissions Reduction Project Award
Goodman Property Trust
Using the NABERSNZ tool to assess the performance of buildings and provide a benchmark to measure system optimisation and upgrades has led to an overall targeted rating of 4.5 stars for Goodman Property's seven waterfront commercial buildings. They support a 7,000 workforce. Lighting and HVAC are the main energy-efficiency heroes that have saved tenants more than $1.1 million in operating costs since 2014, and avoided 775 tonnes of carbon emissions so far.
Energy & Emissions Leadership Award
Roseline Klein, Watercare Services Ltd
Energy efficiency is everybody's responsibility at Watercare, due to a staff engagement and empowerment strategy led by Roseline. Making energy saving a team effort and introducing technologies into a long-term energy efficiency strategy has them set to achieve their energy neutrality targets for the waste-water plants.
Large Energy User of the Year Award
Red Stag Timber
The installation of a new 4.2MW steam turbine and a 10MW biomass boiler at Red Stag's wood-processing plant has closed the gap on their long term energy efficiency and low-carbon business plan. Wood waste is used as renewable fuel to generate all the electricity the site needs, their energy self-sufficiency has put production up, and the power bill down.
A full list of commended, highly commended and winning businesses is available online at www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/awards