Small to Medium Business Awards - sponosrd by Knauf Insulation

The Small to Medium Energy User Award recognises a business that has completed a successful energy efficiency or renewable energy initiative as part of a wider energy management strategy.

Winner – K&L Nurseries

This family business has among the lowest energy costs in the country thanks to an innovative boiler fuelled by its own green waste.

When K&L Nurseries decided to reduce its carbon footprint, the owners scoured the world for a top-shelf solution. They can now boast one of the most innovative heat solutions in the country, with a European Polytechnik boiler that first dries then burns moist biomass, removing the need to source dry fuel. The nurseries' own plant trimmings and coconut fibre are burned for energy - arguably the lowest-cost heat in the country. It's avoiding 3,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year while neatly disposing of 100 tonnes of green waste. With the guarantee of ongoing low energy costs, and the marketing value of a sustainable operation, K&L viewed the advanced plant as well worth the extra investment. The neighbouring environment and air quality is also markedly better with the switch from coal.

The judges said: "Simply a fantastic project. They looked at this as a system with great investigation into costs and efficiency and have greatly reduced costs and carbon as a result."

Highly commended – ECOsystems

Its meticulous approach has delivered up to 50% savings for two very different clients.

No.57 Wellington Street, Auckland is more than 40% more energy efficient thanks to ECOsystems' unique approach to ‘continuous energy optimisation'. To overcome the traditional split incentive between landlord and tenant, the company worked hard to outline benefits for both parties. With support from ECOsystems' top management, landlord and tenant both agreed to invest in the project, leading to a major project to upgrade and optimise the building's management systems, HVAC and lighting. The effectiveness of ECOsystems' methods and strong client relationships was also borne out in the unique setting of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. The Museum required both a stable environment for its precious collection, plus a welcoming environment for visitors. ECOsystems achieved both, cutting energy use by 50% and improving conditions for artwork at the Dowse.

The judges said: "These projects combined show the diversity of the environments they work in, and the very tangible business benefits that can result."