Public Sector Award - sponsored by Opus International Consultants

The Public Sector Award recognises public sector organisations that have completed a successful energy efficiency or renewable energy initiative, as part of a wider energy management strategy.

Winner – Kapiti Coast District Council

The small district of Kapiti has won double honours in the 2014 EECA Awards for a proactive approach to energy that has halved its CO2 emissions, and brought strong community engagement.

The Council was named winner in the Community category for a range of inventive projects to improve residents' energy efficiency and awareness. It also took the Public Sector Award for its carbon and energy management scheme, which has made Kapiti the first Council in New Zealand to gain CEMARS certification for managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It has succeeded in cutting emissions by 48% in just three years, through renewable energy and other initiatives.

Overall Supreme Winner of the 2014 EECA Awards was K&L Nurseries, winner of the Small to Medium Business category, for a bioenergy installation that is the first of its type in New Zealand.

The Community Award is sponsored by Fujitsu General New Zealand. Judges in this category said Kapiti Coast District Council was using "diverse and imaginative" ways to reach the community and raise awareness of energy.

Its Greenest Neighbourhood competition spurs neighbours to work together on carpooling, energy efficiency and sharing community know-how. And through the ambitious Energise Otaki initiative the Council's working with local businesses and others to support the development of a local clean tech sector in Otaki.

Judges in the Public Sector Award, sponsored by Opus International Consultants, said despite being relatively small, Kapiti was leading with an "excellent professional approach".

To reduce its own energy use, Kapiti has invested in a range of innovative systems - including a transparent roof at the new aquatic centre, wood energy at the sewage plant, a prototype electric rubbish truck, and efficient LED streetlights throughout the district. Financial savings from these and other projects are ploughed back into energy management and community schemes - for example, cost savings from switching to wood energy at its sewage-drying facility, have helped insulate pensioner flats.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill said the Council had worked hard over several years to achieve what it had. "Kapiti has strived to reduce its own energy use and costs, delivering good value to ratepayers, while also helping to build energy awareness in local homes and businesses.

"It's the combination of good day-to-day energy management in its own operations, coupled with strong community leadership, which was recognised by the judges. I'm sure they will continue to inspire other councils."

Tertiary institute Unitec was the other joint winner in the Public Sector Award for a successful energy-saving programme run across three campuses and 170 buildings.

Drawing on the input of students and staff, the programme has cut energy costs by $200,000 a year. AUT University was also Highly Commended for its energy management programme.

Other finalists recognised in the Community Award were the Ngati Hine Health Trust, Highly Commended for an energy-efficient earth bank childcare centre; and Little Greenie Building Education, Commended for its efforts to improve energy efficiency in house construction.

Winner – Unitec

Motivating staff and students to help save energy, is cutting costs by more than $200,000 a year.

With over 170 buildings and 10,600 students across three Auckland sites, Unitec's sustainability drive had to be wide-ranging. It started by installing more than 50 meters to monitor energy use, and set up a working group drawn from the faculty and student body to oversee its strategy. After-hours energy waste was a key focus which meant manual switching-off, as many older buildings lacked automation. Motivating security staff to get involved has seen energy use plummet as they became ad-hoc energy champions. A network of ‘eco-reps' also keep a check on different sites' energy use. Overall they've cut energy use by 8% - beating the initial 5% target - and saving more than $200,000 a year. Using software to ensure student computers are turned off, has alone netted $55,000 in annual savings.

The judges said: "A comprehensive project with a holistic approach and far-reaching non-energy benefits. They've shown consistent improvement and great leadership with robust systems."

Highly commended – AUT University

A raft of well-planned projects has helped reduce CO2 emissions by 10%.

The University's wide-ranging energy efficiency improvements include lighting upgrades, new high-efficiency boilers, an improved fleet and even painting roofs white to reduce overheating and climate change impacts. Efficient LEDs have been rolled out across AUT properties, with two whole-building upgrades including sensors and controls. Transport-related emissions are down thanks to more efficient vehicles combined with staff incentives to give up carparks and use sustainable travel options. A project to paint a number of roofs white to reflect heat and reduce overheating is being managed as a comparative research project with the School of Engineering. Early results published in an international journal suggest it's succeeded in improving comfort and reducing the need for cooling. The programme is led from the top, with environmental sustainability one of the vice-chancellor's top five priorities.

The judges said: "This was a great initiative that dealt with significant and comprehensive issues and engaged key stakeholders."