South Auckland suburbs welcome solar technology with robot sprint
Entrust, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Vector are taking energy efficient solutions, including solar and battery technology, into the homes and schools of south Auckland suburbs Papakura and Takanini to help lower electricity bills and improve the health of homes.
Launched today at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura with a solar-powered robot race, the Energy Efficient Communities Project, a partnership between Entrust, Auckland Council and Vector, will deliver free hot water heat control units, up to 15,000 LED lightbulbs, and energy advice to homeowners in Papakura and Takanini.
Twelve local organisations, including schools and community facilities, will also receive a Tesla Powerwall that stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity when the sun isn’t shining. The provision of energy efficient technology will be complemented by an education programme in local schools which promotes simple actions that families can take to reduce energy bills.
The Energy Efficient Communities Project is being run as a trial and it forms part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between the organisations to promote sustainable and renewable energy in Auckland including solar and battery technology.
Entrust, Vector’s majority shareholder, is leading and funding the project. Chairman William Cairns says the project will improve energy affordability, reliability and choice for Aucklanders.
“The benefits of these energy solutions are well-known at a government and commercial level. It’s important we drive these benefits a community level, where it matters most,” says Mr Cairns.
Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff says the EECP can make a real and practical difference for Aucklanders as the city builds a more sustainable energy network.
“Energy efficiency is good for the community and good for our city. It means more affordable electricity bills, healthier homes and less impact on our environment.
“We need to make our housing stock more efficient and healthier and it’s partnerships like this that seriously boost our efforts placing the latest solar and battery technology in the hands of our communities. It provides the up-front capital to help home owners install energy efficient technology,” says Mr Goff.
Mr Goff said that the partnership has set a goal in Papakura and Takanini to have 1500 homes sign up for a free home health check with bookings available by contacting the EECP team at www.homehealthcheck.co.nz or by calling 09 8902299. If the trial is successful, council will look to roll out the approach to other communities in Auckland over the next several years.
Edmund Hillary School principal Kataraina Nock welcomed the installation of the solar and battery system, and believes the simple actions education programme to reduce energy bills will be incredibly beneficial for local families.
“Students take home what they learn at school, and with this project the energy efficiency message is not just about a sustainable city, it’s a conversation about the real and tangible actions families can take to lower household expenditure on electricity and the importance of a healthy home,” says Ms Nock.
Vector CEO Simon Mackenzie added, “This project will give us practical insight into the impact energy saving measures have on power bills, carbon emissions and Auckland’s network. We’re already seeing the benefits of solar and battery technology with some earlier installs and we’re keen to see that replicated.”
Mayor Phil Goff, Entrust Trustees, Vector’s Chair Michael Stiassny and Principal Nock competed against each other in the race today, led by students and their solar robot projects.
Indicative savings a year for an average household with practical energy saving solutions: $238.16 using 10 LEDs, $420 using the iSmart hot water heat control, and $406.15 by converting their existing showerhead to a low-flow showerhead.
Vector’s solar and battery system installed at a family home in May last year has provided enough solar power to meet 63 per cetnt of their total energy needs, while exporting 12 per cent back to the grid. This has saved more than 1,500kg in CO2 emissions which is like planting the equivalent of 5 trees.
People using the systems have access to a platform with up to date information on their energy usage, including how much they are using from system or the grid, and how much CO2 they are saving.
Watch: Launch video footage
Photos: Bryan Lowe
Mayoral Housing Taskforce meets to tackle housing supply
Mayor Phil Goff has convened the first meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Taskforce on Auckland Housing Supply.
The Mayoral Taskforce will comprise of Auckland Council, central government officials and the private sector. The objectives of the Mayoral Taskforce is to:
- Identify barriers and constraints to building more homes in Auckland at a pace and scale which meets the demand created by population growth.
- identify options and make recommendations to overcome those barriers and constraints.
"Growing by around 900 people a week, Auckland faces severe housing difficulties as the supply of housing fails to keep pace with demand,” Mayor Phil Goff said.
“The number of extra houses the city needs each year is estimated at around 13,000 and we have been building only around half that number. The accumulated shortfall in homes grows each year. This has resulted in the cost of buying a house becoming unaffordable for a growing numbers of Aucklanders, rent rises putting low income households under real pressure and growing homelessness.
“The role of the Taskforce is to bring the diverse expertise of the people in it to bear on analysing and finding solutions to the problem. To the extent possible, we will try to find common ground on these things and make recommendations aimed at resolving the problems.
“I am delighted at the high level of the participants on the Taskforce and that noted financial journalist and commentator Bernard Hickey, has agreed to facilitate the Taskforce’s discussion.
“Bringing together the cross-section of people involved in housing supply to share their expertise is an important step towards finding solutions to Auckland’s housing issues. I’m delighted that representatives from all sections have agreed to becoming involved,” Mayor Goff said.
Recommendations from the Mayoral Taskforce will be made public in May.
New partnership to develop
projects using renewable energy
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has announced a partnership between Auckland Council and Vector that will see a series of Vector-funded projects to promote sustainable and renewable energy use in Auckland.
Support for the projects will also come from Entrust.
Mayor Goff says the multimillion dollar partnership is an important step in building a more sustainable energy network for Auckland.
“One of the challenges we face as a significantly growing region is how we safeguard our future energy needs. With about $2 billion infrastructure investment in energy solutions needed for our growth over the next 10 years, it’s important we’re developing innovative, cost-effective and future-proofed solutions,” says Mayor Goff.
Council and Vector are currently scoping all the initiatives that will be covered by the partnership, with the first stage developing a pilot energy efficiency programme for Auckland homes followed by renewable lighting for the Auckland Harbour Bridge (pictured).
“Partnering with Vector is a great example of our council group and Auckland business working together to achieve great outcomes for our city and residents”, says Mayor Goff.
The energy efficiency project is led by Vector’s majority shareholder, Entrust, with benefits at community level. The focus will be on assisting and educating residents on energy-saving solutions.
More detail on this programme will be announced in March 2017.
The Vector-funded project to develop sustainable lighting for the Auckland Harbour Bridge is still in the early stages of development, but will install and promote innovative and sustainable lighting technologies on the Harbour Bridge.
Vector Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie says Vector is thrilled to be entering into a long term partnership with the council.
“We’re excited to be working together on energy innovation, efficiency and sustainability projects for Aucklanders. There’s a lot of work to be done and we look forward to making further announcements once the first two projects have been fully scoped,” he says.
Mayor Goff says the energy efficiency partnership comes at a time when Auckland Council is looking to demonstrate its leadership in helping New Zealand fulfil its climate change commitments made at last year’s COP21 summit in Paris.
“As New Zealand’s largest city, we must play a leading role in shifting to a low carbon economy. Vector shares our vision and we are pleased to be able to partner with them to achieve this goal,” says Mayor Goff.
He adds that working collaboratively with corporate partners is an ongoing focus for the council to achieve its objectives and that the partnership with Vector is the first of many strategic partnership projects to be announced in 2017.