New Zealand busi­nesses spend over $8 bil­lion a year on en­ergy – but the En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity be­lieves the bill should be 20 per cent lower.

Element - - Element Promotion - By Ian Niven IAN NIVEN

Re­gard­less of the busi­ness you’re in, good en­ergy man­age­ment is not just about re­duc­ing en­ergy costs and low­er­ing car­bon emis­sions. It’s about po­si­tion­ing for suc­cess – now and in the fu­ture. And with global en­ergy de­mand pre­dicted to grow by more than a third by 2035, en­ergy avail­abil­ity and cost is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for firms every­where.

In New Zealand firms spend around $8.3 bil­lion each year on en­ergy, in­clud­ing trans­port fuel costs. At EECA Busi­ness we es­ti­mate that col­lec­tively they could save $1.6 bil­lion of this through en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

But cost sav­ings are just part of the story. The myr­iad of other ben­e­fits range from bet­ter health and safety out­comes, to greater em­ployee pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duced main­te­nance costs.

Some of the world’s most suc­cess­ful firms – the likes of Wal-Mart, Dow Chem­i­cal and Vir­gin Group – have been prac­tic­ing good en­ergy man­age­ment for many years.

So how are lo­cal firms trav­el­ling when it comes to im­prov­ing their en­ergy use? An out­stand­ing per­former is 2012 EECA Awards Supreme win­ner, Air New Zealand.

Our national car­rier has made en­ergy sav­ings worth more than $540 mil­lion since 2005 and is avoid­ing 142,000 tonnes of car­bon emis­sions an­nu­ally.

Clearly it is well on the way to achiev­ing its goal of be­com­ing the world’s most sus­tain­able air­line by 2020. But how does good en­ergy man­age­ment ben­e­fit busi­ness on the ground?

For of­fice build­ing own­ers and ten­ants, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency usu­ally in­volves tun­ing heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems. This means even tem­per­a­tures and more com­fort­able work­ing con­di­tions for em­ploy­ees who can be­come more en­gaged and pro­duc­tive.

In truck­ing fleets, fuel ef­fi­ciency pro­grammes mean diesel fuel sav­ings of up to 20%. Be­cause aver­age speeds are re­duced, driv­ers have fewer ac­ci­dents and ar­rive more re­laxed while their firm spends less on main­te­nance.

In places like the UK and Canada, fuel ef­fi­ciency pro­grammes have been part of busi­ness as usual for decades. Over the last year, some New Zealand fleets have climbed aboard EECA’s fuel ef­fi­ciency pro­gramme, and are al­ready bank­ing the ben­e­fits.

For those in the know, good en­ergy man­age­ment is a no-brainer but, for the vast ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses, a lack of time, ex­per­tise and knowl­edge mean it gets lit­tle con­sid­er­a­tion.

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