Energy conscious council looking to make further savings - 20/06/2011Mayor Annette Main says a recent audit of Wanganui District Council’s energy efficiency produced some excellent results, although the council will continue to look for increased energy savings.
“The principal finding of the independent report by Watts Projections is that our energy efficiency levels are already good so a further audit isn’t required,” Mayor Main said.
“It has highlighted where we are doing well in energy efficiency and also given us ideas on how we can make further improvements.
“One area which is making exceptional energy savings is water and wastewater. We use some major control systems that minimise how much power we use at our water and wastewater facilities.
"Our council has progressively become quite leading edge in that area, particularly in our water operations. As we have underground bores, technology has been adapted to support those systems.”
In May the council’s water operators, in conjunction with Meltech Automation (a specialist process and control consultant and contractor based in Wanganui), wrote and installed sophisticated programmes that run the entire water supply system using power saving technology.
“We pay for energy on a tariff basis involving time of day, time of week, time of month and time of year. The new system chooses the best and lowest tariff times to run so we are minimising power bills while ensuring our reservoirs are maintained at a reasonable level.
“During the last month, council has saved at least $6000 in charges and we estimate there will be savings of between $70,000 and $80,000 a year as a result of using this new technology. It has been a great effort by our in-house staff and a local contractor to come up with such an innovative solution.”
The council is also saving $24,000 per year following last year’s replacement of aging printer and copier equipment with multi-function devices. There are also more cost savings from reducing the number of personal printers and in power savings through more efficient equipment.
The council has a paperless filing system, instead using an electronic records management system to store documents.
Council has been conscious of its energy use for at least the last 15 years but as time goes by a number of other areas for further improvement have been identified.
Street lighting is being reviewed, with new technologies now available which help reduce energy use. The first step will be to trial two LED lights in the Bridge Block of Victoria Avenue to assess their effectiveness.
Other potential energy savings include lighting upgrades in council buildings and vehicle fuel consumption. These will be programmed into future financial planning.
“I am pleased with the result of this energy audit, and that Council is using innovation and modern technology ahead of many of its peers,” Mayor Main said.