Community Award - sponsored by Fujitsu General New Zealand

The Community Award recognises a project or initiative that supports people to make positive energy choices, and/or helps people benefit from improved energy efficiency or renewable energy at home, at work, or on the road.

Winner – Kapiti Coast District Council

Promoting smart energy use in homes and business, underpins the vision of a low-carbon district.

Ingenious methods are deployed by the Council to raise locals' awareness of energy use and build resilient communities. This includes an annual ‘Greenest Neighbourhood' competition which spurs neighbours to work together on carpooling, energy efficiency and sharing community know-how. Through the ambitious ‘Energise Otaki' initiative the Council's also supporting the development of a local clean energy sector. Working alongside business and other agencies, the scheme has a long-term aim to make Otaki a net exporter of renewable energy and hub for clean-tech companies. This has been helped by the Council's installation of solar water heating, PV and a wind turbine on its own properties. By forging links with schools and working with student groups it's also helping foster a well-informed younger generation and building local understanding of energy issues.

The judges said: "An excellent professional approach shown by a relatively small council leading the pack. They're using diverse and imaginative ways to reach the community, build support, and get people to take ownership."

Highly Commended – Ngati Hine Health Trust

New Zealand's first 6 Green Star education building has become an outstanding asset for its iwi owners and the community.

The innovative earth bank construction of the Te Mirumiru childcare centre has quickly made it a tourist attraction in the small town of Kawakawa. Rated 6 Green Star, it's the most sustainably built education building in New Zealand, with energy use only a third that of a standard build. As well as delivering sizeable energy and maintenance cost savings to the Ngati Hine Health Trust, it ensures a healthy environment for tamariki and staff with abundant daylight, fresh air and passive heating. The design also works to reduce transport-related emissions, with carparks allocated for fuel-efficient vehicles, schemes to encourage walking and car-sharing, and a mini-bus to collect children. The building's innovative energy features are used as a teaching aid in the curriculum, helping instill energy awareness in youngsters and their families. 

The judges said: "This is a technically outstanding building with a holistic design, considering energy and resource use in every sense. It's a landmark for Kawakawa and a touchstone for the local community and iwi."

Commended – Little Greenie Building Education

A simple yet uber-efficient house in Golden Bay has inspired a scheme that's teaching young builders to create a step-change in Kiwi homes.

The ‘Little Greenie' is one of New Zealand's most efficient homes, using 85% less energy to heat than a standard new build and costing only $50 a year to run. Following the success of the first home in Golden Bay, creator Lawrence McIntyre formed an organisation to share the design principles and boost the affordability and performance of New Zealand houses. As well as educating homebuilders, suppliers, tradespeople and policy-makers, Little Greenie Building Education is focused on grassroots change through partnerships with training providers. With Weltec they've enhanced the carpentry curriculum to include energy efficiency, and worked with students to build a new relocatable house. Another demonstration home is now underway, which will be used to publicise smart building practice and prove that high-performing, efficient homes can be both simple and affordable.

The judges said: "This is a fantastic example of a self-starting venture - with excellent potential for replication. We're looking forward to seeing this building inspire further innovation and uptake of energy efficient building techniques."