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Council on track for big electricity savings

29 August 2008

The Christchurch City Council is on track for huge electricity savings this year thanks to both human and mechanical initiatives at its Civic Offices inTuam Street.

Council energy analyst Yvonne Gilmore says savings of about $25,000 a year were already being made at the Civic Offices thanks to the efforts of the Council’s Energy Team.

“By the end of this winter this is set to rise by potentially another $15,000 over and above existing savings. This is an amazing achievement.”

The savings are due to the introduction of the human factor – staff members doing what machinery can’t, she said.

During winter each year Orion indicates periods when the load in the city is becoming too high. At those times, usually cold frosty mornings during school holidays, companies such as the Council that have “embedded generation” are asked to reduce their draw on the electricity network by starting up their generators.

At these periods of Control Peak Demand (CPD) the 300kW generator on the roof of the Civic Building switches on automatically and takes over a portion of the building’s electricity load. During a CPD from Orion when electricity rises extraordinarily across the city, the Council’s Energy Team kicks into action. Bright yellow tags are placed on the equipment the Team have previously identified.

“They run around tagging everything, putting up notices to keep off excess equipment and non-essential lighting.”

As part of the Team, the building manager Dave Rogers, has committed to the project by switching off the warm air curtain in the front lobby and the escalators during a CPD.  The type of equipment selected to switch off during a CPD must be non-essential and not interfere with anyone’s ability to work, she said.


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