Innovation Award - sponsored by Z Energy

The Innovation Award is for a new, ground-breaking energy efficient or renewable energy product, technology or process.

Winner – Hexion Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions

Annual CO2 emissions are down by 1,300 tonnes with ingenious engineering that has replaced light fuel oil with waste gas.

Hexion Specialty Chemicals & Energy Plant Solutions won the Large Business Category and were named co-winner of the Innovation category at the 2014 EECA Awards.

A very specialised solution was needed to successfully capture and use waste gas for energy at Hexion's manufacturing plant. The gas produced from manufacturing resin is only 20% combustible. It also can't be stored, and must be combusted for energy as it's produced. Establishing efficient, reliable combustion was a challenge for project managers - and meeting the variable steam demand also required innovation. Working closely with Hexion staff, Energy Plant Solutions devised a specialised system that more than met the technical challenges, ensuring the right amount of energy at the right time and place for smooth, safe and efficient production. Thanks to elegant engineering and good teamwork the plant's using 90% less fossil fuel, has slashed CO2 emissions and improved air quality. EPS is now looking to apply the learning in other applications.

The judges said: "All the numbers in this project are impressive - carbon savings, energy, particulates, and other benefits. An exacting process; comprehensive and well thought out."

Winner - Ngati Hine Health Trust

New Zealand's first commercial earth bank building is 67% more energy efficient than a standard build.

The striking Te Mirumiru centre designed by CASA architects is integrated fully into the landscape with complete green roof and earth banks - the first of its type in New Zealand. Polystyrene insulation and waterproofing, and careful use of thermal mass, mean the building stores heat when needed yet also remains cool in hot weather - using the principals of passive design to reduce the need for heating and cooling. Two-thirds more energy efficient than a standard counterpart, it should never need artificial air conditioning. Using solar energy for water and under-floor heating, it's also fully glazed on one side for maximum daylight and passive solar heating. Set to deliver long-term energy savings plus health and education benefits, the unique form pays homage to the iwi's cultural traditions - ‘Ngati Hine of a hundred hills'.

The judges said: "Technically excellent and genuinely cutting-edge, the first time passive annual heat storage has been used in New Zealand. It's a truly comprehensive build solution, where the impact of energy savings will provide ongoing community and inter-generational benefits."

Highly commended - K&L Nurseries

Its own green waste has become renewable bioenergy, thanks to a NZ-first boiler installation.

Many New Zealand companies burn wood as bioenergy, but when it came to its own conversion from coal K&L Nurseries chose an innovative way to secure long-term low energy costs. Intensive research led them to a European boiler that first dries, then burns damp biomass - meaning its own plant waste can now be used as fuel. A trail-blazing project for New Zealand, it took some courage for a small family firm to commit to the investment. The boiler itself wasn't the only good idea brought home from Europe - K&L has also installed an underground thermal store tank at a third of the cost of a conventional above-ground tank, enabling them to down-size the boiler and increase efficiency. The project has generated interest from local winemakers and other businesses - and future plans will see neighbours' green waste also being chipped for fuel.

The judges said: "This coal to biomass conversion brings international best practice to New Zealand. The ability to use low grade product and waste is very versatile. It's a waste-to-energy facility as well as heat plant, which will benefit the whole community."