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Ara and EECA assist large scale energy conservation projects

EECA has assisted in many large-scale energy conservation projects across New Zealand, helping Christchurch International Airport to save $200,000 in energy costs a year and Christchurch Casino $138,000 and those are just the dollar savings.

The interventions also resulted in a more comfortable environment for staff and customers and contributed to New Zealand reducing its carbon footprint.

Sagar Patel, Ara electrical engineering graduate says, “Newer parts of the Ara campus exemplify a more sustainable approach.

“The Kahukura is a beautiful building that utilises modern technology, The solar panels can produce up to 600 kilowatts a day, that’s the equivalent of 10 to 12 New Zealand houses.”

“However, there is also plenty of room for improvement.”

Patel will monitor heating, electricity and renewable energy use at Ara to determine where energy can be saved.

Calculating carbon emissions is another important aspect of the role.

It is a dream job for Patel who came to Christchurch from Gujarat, India after a family member studied engineering at Ara and recommended the institute to him.

He will attend the EECA Large Energy Users Forum in Nelson, which is a valuable opportunity to learn from senior energy management professionals.

Patel continues, “I always wanted to go into renewable energy for future sustainability, electrical engineering is my passion.

“Electrical engineering covers a huge scope, but my final year project was solar water heating, so that gave me an advantage for this role.”

Christchurch Casino achieved an 18.5% reduction in electricity use and over 1-gigawatt hour in energy savings per year through making changes to existing air-conditioning controls, fresh air intake and lighting and installing a new, very efficient air handling unit on the main gaming floor.’

The changes made the environment more comfortable and quieter.

Christchurch Airport saved 8.2 % of annual energy use and 8.8 % of the annual energy bill, mostly through improving 24-hour heating and cooling systems. 

All implementation costs were recouped within six months.

EECA has made funding available to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the public sector, saving the sector some $9 million in the last five years.

EECA’s agreement with Ara will support design advice for Campus Master Plan redevelopment and provide scholarships for engineers, project managers, architects, quantity surveyors and construction industry participants to attend Creating Living Buildings courses to upskill on leading edge sustainable building.

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