Caring for the environment
Kāpiti Coast District Council is a winner when it comes to sustainability.
"We are committed to reducing our own impact as well as inspiring change and resilience..." Mayor Ross Church, June 2014.
The Council was commended in the 2016 EECA Awards for its continuing energy and emissions saving work.
EECA judges said excellent leadership had led to a comprehensive group of long-term interlinked projects which were reducing the council’s carbon footprint and saving ratepayers’ money.
The Council made energy savings through vehicle maintenance, reduced mileage and educating staff on how to be more fuel efficient when driving. Walking, cycling and taking public transport were also promoted as good alternatives to driving cars. This campaign achieved a 12% reduction in petrol and diesel use in 2014/15, saving $20,000 and 56 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The Council’s electric refuse collection truck (a world-first) also contributed to this saving.
In 2015, a new 32 kilowatt grid-tied, solar electric system, installed at the Paraparaumu wastewater treatment plant is generating 40,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year saving six tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and $6,500 in energy costs each year.
Green Ribbon Awards
In June, Council won its second Green Ribbon Award for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Award recognised Council's success in decreasing its absolute greenhouse gas footprint by 48 per cent since 2010 through a range of energy and waste minimisation initiatives which are part of Council's CEMARS certification programme. The initiatives include:
- a reduction of organic waste to landfill
- the conversion from diesel to wood fuel in sewage drying
- a 26 per cent energy reduction at Waikanae Pool through better management practices and new technology
- a heat pump heat recovery sysem at Coastlands Aquatic Centre which condenses water vapour from the exhaust air stream. This produces around 3000 litres of water a day that can be recycled back into the pool.
The programme has also delivered significant economic benefits, with Council's energy costs in 2012-13 reduced by more than $350,000 due to the energy saving programme.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Awards
In May, Council won double honours at the 2014 EECA awards for its proactive approach to energy saving and emmissions reduction and for engaging strongly with the community on energy saving initiatives.
The awards were:
- NZ Community Award for its range of projects to improve residents’ energy efficiency and awareness i.e. our free Eco Design Service which provides advice on how to have more energy efficient healthier homes, the Greenest Neighbourhoods competition, Energise Ōtaki and work with schools/student groups
- Public Sector Award for its carbon and energy management scheme (making it the first Council in NZ to gain CEMARS certification for managing/reducing greenhouse gas emissions).
Council was also highly commended in the Energy Management Award for CO2 reduction and energy efficiency practices which underpin all (of) its operations, from its water treatment plants to it libraries and everything in between.
In 2011 Council won a government Green Ribbon award for all the things we’re doing to care for the environment.
Some of those things include:
- installing a wood-fired boiler to dry sewage sludge and reduce carbon emissions
- upgrading pensioner homes with insulation and solar water heating systems
- holding an annual ‘Sustainable Home and Garden Show’ to promote environmentally friendly lifestyles
- supporting the Clean Technology Centre New Zealand, based in Ōtaki
- providing grants and practical help to community groups, schools, businesses and individuals doing good things for the environment
- offering help and advice to householders through the Green Gardener, Green Plumber and Eco-Design Advisor services
- encouraging sustainable development through innovative planning policies, including Plan Change 75, which requires new homes to have grey water systems and/or rainwater tanks
- prioritising environmental sustainability and resilience as part of council’s economic development plans
- encouraging sustainable transport through extending walkways and cycle ways