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Renewable energy to power new Civic Building

24 July 2008

Christchurch’s new Civic Building will generate its own electricity and provide its own heating and cooling from a renewable energy source.

Today’s Council meeting adopted installing a biogas pipeline from the Burwood landfill and the wastewater treatment plant to the new Civic Building in Hereford Street and a state-of-the-art tri-generation plant.

"The biogas will be used to provide all heating and cooling requirements for the new Civic Building, all heating for the adjacent Christchurch Art Gallery and most of the electricity for the Civic Building," says Mayor Bob Parker.

"It will cost Council about $3.3 million to install but will be paid back within three years and save Council more than $1.3 million annually in energy costs."

Council already owns its own source of biogas which is used to successfully provide heating and electricity for the QEII complex.

Mr Parker says not only does using the biogas reduce methane greenhouse gas emissions from the waste stream but substantially reduces reliance on fuel sources which omit greenhouse gases.

"Tri-generation is the simultaneous production of electricity, heating and cooling from a single energy source."

With tri-generation, the waste heat of the electric generation process is transformed into cooling energy by an absorption chiller, and then the waste heat from the chiller is used for heating.

He says installation of a tri-generation plant would substantially help the new Civic Building to achieve at least a 5 Green Star rating, and possibly 6, for the building’s design.

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