Sun shines on Environment Canterbury’s efforts to reduce carbon footprint

In the latest of a series of initiatives designed to embed climate change considerations into all the decisions made by Environment Canterbury, the organisation has installed solar panels on the roof of its Tuam Street office.

The 34kW voltaic array of 114 panels were craned into place by CPS Solar in November 2018, over the north, west and east rooflines.

Bronwyn Simmonds, Asset Services Manager at Environment Canterbury, outlines some of the specific details of the new solar panels and the reasons behind their installation:

"I am thrilled that we as an organisation are investing a significant amount of time and capital into our commitment to reducing our environmental impact, as the priority for our limited resources has previously been on meeting the functional needs of our sites and our people. The installation of solar was particularly important to our chairman, so I am very happy that we have been able to deliver it during this financial year.

"We have deliberately chosen to start with a 34kW array for Tuam Street, which should reduce our annual electricity expenditure by approximately $6,500+GST. We will add to it as both the efficiency of panels increases and their price reduces, and also commit to battery storage at the appropriate time.

"The project has involved a whole team of people, including external firms CPS Solar, Enercon and Setpoint Solutions, together with a range of internal staff from our Asset Services and BIS teams. We also needed to change the way we complete roof and building wash-downs to ensure that the panels would not be damaged, which was completed last year.

"This follows a considerable decrease in energy consumption for our Tuam Street office, which has trended downwards as a result of staff behaviour and ongoing commissioning of our plant. Savings over the past year have been in the vicinity of 18%, which has been a great result.

"We are currently getting a NABERSNZ rating to benchmark the energy efficiency for Tuam Street, and other initiatives will flow on from this in 2019 in our quest for constant improvement."

Murray Marquet of CPS Solar said: "The installation went very smoothly, considering the challenging weather conditions, including high winds, rain and heat. It's great to see Environment Canterbury doing their part in reducing carbon emissions and being more environmentally friendly, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone involved."