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Projects reveal potential for low-carbon future in Waitematā

Published: 20 November 2018

Projects funded and pioneered over the past three years by Waitematā Local Board have revealed the low-carbon potential for the ward.

As part of the board's plan to ensure that the natural environment is valued, protected and enhanced, funding has been allocated to projects looking at low-carbon lifestyles and multi-unit dwellings, reducing food waste from businesses and the Waitematā Low Carbon Network.

Waitematā Local Board’s Infrastructure and Environment portfolio lead Rob Thomas says, “We’ve had a low carbon work programme since 2015 - this is the fourth year of these projects being delivered. This work is vital as the planet faces catastrophic climate change and the community needs to take action today to curb global warming.”

“I’m delighted with the results of the report which shows significant cost saving, carbon reduction and a more sustainable future is possible,” he says.

Low-carbon lifestyles  

During 2017/2018, data was collected about energy and hot water use behaviours during door-to-door visits to over 220 households. The residents received personalised recommendations on how to reduce energy usage in their households and follow up telephone surveys assessed the impact of changes they made.

The surveys revealed residents took a number of actions to reduce their energy usage including reducing their shower time, turning appliances off at the wall, installing energy saving light bulbs and adding insulation wrap to hot water cylinders.

While residents had previously spent $323,789 collectively on energy usage, those that reported changes in their behaviour revealed an annual cost savings of $31,000, or $244 per household. This represents an estimated emissions saving of 23.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tC02e) over the 12-month period.

This project is continuing in the 2018/2019 financial year.

Low carbon multi-unit dwellings

This project aims to reduce CO2 emissions from Auckland’s apartments by improving the energy efficiency of heating, lighting and ventilation throughout common or shared spaces.

Waitematā’s City Garden Apartments, comprised of 199 apartments and a range of common areas, was selected as the first case study in this project in 2017/2018. Contractors applied an assessment framework to the 25-storey building based on 20 national and international examples of reports and audit tools.

It was discovered that, during 2017, City Garden Apartments used 748,420 kWh of energy. Including energy used for electricity and gas for heating water, this represents approximately 150 tC02e at an energy generation cost of NZ$54,323.

During the pilot study, a number of opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the common areas and centralised systems of the building were identified. These included switching to energy efficient light bulbs, improving ventilation, installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, carrying out repairs to ductwork, insulating pipework, installation of solar water heating and shading large areas of glazing to reduce the need for air conditioning.

These interventions represented a potential energy saving of 350,000 kWh, which translates into an annual cost saving of between $15,000 to $30,000 and a carbon emissions reduction of between 50-80 tC02e per annum. Staff plan to follow up with City Gardens Apartments to confirm what changes were actually implemented by apartment owners.

Waitematā Local Board has allocated further funding for three more assessments of multi-unit dwellings in the area during the 2018/2019 financial year. These assessments will cover the use of lighting, heating, cooling, hot water and ventilation in public spaces and review any centralised systems that supply individual apartments.

Get a low-carbon assessment

Following selection, the assessment process includes:

  • a review of general building information
  • a review of water and power bills for centralised systems (not those for individual apartments)
  • an on-site assessment - a meeting and to discuss the key features of the building and a walk around of public spaces (up to 2-2.5 hours - depending on the size and features of the apartment)
  • some follow-up questions/clarifications as required.

If you’re in Waitematā and would like your multi-unit dwelling assessed for a low-carbon future, you can apply to Waitematā Local Board by completing this short form.

Reducing food waste from businesses

Over 30 weeks during 2017/2018, coffee grounds were collected from 11 cafes involved in a trial diverting organic waste from cafes to landfill. Seven local community gardens signed up to receive the coffee grounds and compost them.

The project collected 7153kgs of coffee grounds containing 1809kgs of carbon. This saved around 1.4 tonnes of carbon which equates to driving a medium-sized petrol car from Auckland to Wellington and back five times.

Waitematā Low Carbon Network

Waitematā’s Low Carbon Network is comprised of individuals, businesses and organisations that are interested in working together locally on low-carbon activities. The network is now in its third year and is steadily growing with increased engagement both online and offline.

A number of well-attended events have run over the last 12 months, the most popular being ‘Meet the Candidates’ and the Low Carbon Christmas Party. Network members also took part in drafting climate-related submissions to Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee, Waitematā Local Board and Auckland Transport.

You can get involved with the network through their Facebook group.

Live Lightly

All of these local board projects align with Auckland Council’s Live Lightly themes - Energy, Eat, Shop, Move, Grow and Talk.

Live Lightly shows everyday lifestyle choices we can all make to save money, have a healthier life and care for the planet.

For more information about what you can do to live a little lighter, visit the Live Lightly website.