Antarctica New Zealand: an Energy-Mark Bronze case study
In 2015, Antarctica New Zealand joined the Energy-Mark® programme, a new certification scheme designed to help organisations develop and implement an Energy Management System in line with ISO 50001. This programme will guide Antarctica New Zealand through planning, implementing and formalising an Energy Management System, and therefore target energy use and efficiency.
Why energy management?
Antarctica New Zealand is the government agency charged with carrying out New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica; supporting world leading science and environmental protection. This unique part of the world plays a key role in climate research: looking back to the past, seeing present impacts, and studying how things can change in the future. And because it is such a unique environment, leaving a minimal footprint is just part of working there.
Antarctica New Zealand have already been working on other aspects of their activities and have an Enviro-Mark® Diamond certified Environmental Management System and are CEMARS® certified for their greenhouse gas emissions measurement and reductions. This means they are well aware of the advantages to a systematic approach to measuring and managing environmental impacts.
The next natural step was to use this approach in their Energy Management System. Antarctica New Zealand has already been exploring energy efficiencies and alternative energy solutions for Scott Base and field operations in Antarctica since it was established in 1996. Many energy saving improvements have been made so far. Now, they can add a third environmental certification to their already impressive credentials. Antarctica New Zealand is the world’s first organisation to achieve Energy-Mark Bronze Certification.
Achieving Energy-Mark Bronze Certification
The first step of the mentored programme, Energy-Mark Bronze, is all about planning. This means that Antarctica New Zealand has now determined what their Energy Management System will include and measure an energy baseline. They have also started to develop an energy policy and indicators, in order to best set realistic targets to improve energy performance.
By being involved in CEMARS and annually measuring all greenhouse gas emissions, Antarctica New Zealand already knew that the largest emission activities include power for running Scott Base and fuel for transporting cargo and passengers. Emissions from running the Base are in Antarctica New Zealand’s direct control, and Scott Base itself is a self-contained system; Scott Base generates its own power (by means of diesel powered generators and three wind turbines) and water (by means of a reverse osmosis plant), and treats its own waste. It seemed like the most logical choice, then, to set the Energy Management System scope as Scott Base.
Antarctica New Zealand already has a lot of good systems and processes in place, both for environmental impacts and for the organisational culture, so they found it pretty easy to get started with Energy Management. Ceisha Poirot, Environmental Manager for Antarctica New Zealand, explains that “The Energy-Mark Programme is helpful because it’s a step-wise process that doesn’t make the development of a system too onerous. It provides for a coordinated way of measuring and managing energy to drive improvements.”
As Antarctica New Zealand already had a strong Environmental Management System, Ceisha decided to incorporate the Energy Management System into it. This allows Antarctica New Zealand to synchronise all environmental efforts. Previously, energy performance initiatives happened as the need arose, or by looking at the energy-demand side of things. Energy-Mark membership unified all these efforts, so Antarctica New Zealand could address both holistic energy use and granular efficiency projects together.
Part of the Energy-Mark Bronze requirements also included developing an energy baseline and ways to monitor data. This in turn revealed key energy users, and allowed the team to set realistic performance indicators and targets.
Ceisha noted that the most positive experience of the programme so far has been the direct access to specialist advice. Energy-Mark is a mentored programme, so Ceisha is able to get custom advice every step of the way. Enviro-Mark Solutions Technical Account Manager Aidan Hill looks after Antarctica New Zealand, and Ceisha found his advice and support very helpful during the initial development stages.
Some projects that Antarctica New Zealand started prior to joining will be part of the Energy Management System, including
- Maximising the use of sealift and minimising airlift use for intercontinental logistics;
- Using more renewable energy (such as their wind farm);
- Reducing the amount of energy and materials used; and
- Reducing or recycling waste.
Because the Energy-Mark Programme requires coordinated efforts, so these existing projects will now work systematically to achieve Antarctica New Zealand’s overall objective “to minimise our energy demands and operate in an environmentally sustainable manner through all our activities by measuring, managing and reducing our energy consumption and carbon emissions.”
Implementing the Energy Management SystemIt will take time to see all the results of their Energy Management System, but past results point to Antarctica New Zealand’s ability to achieve real reductions. Antarctica New Zealand reduced the energy consumption of the base by 22% in 2015 compared to 2014, with a strong pattern of reduction over the last five years. Ceisha has found that Energy-Mark Bronze has already raised general awareness for individuals and their behaviours.
Recognition of Antarctica New Zealand’s energy management has already begun, taking home the Trustpower Renewable Energy Award at the 2016 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Awards. “To be named as the overall winner for the Trustpower Renewable Energy Award, which recognises projects designed to increase the production or use of renewable energy, is a real achievement – one Antarctica New Zealand has worked hard to earn,” says Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Beggs.
The next step will be for Antarctica New Zealand to achieve Energy-Mark Silver. To do so, they will set, monitor and analyse energy objectives in order to set realistic targets, continuing to communicate, raise awareness, and conduct training to help staff take on energy efficiency themselves. After this, Antarctica New Zealand will be well placed to achieve the final step of the Energy-Mark programme, Energy-Mark Gold, which meets all the requirements of ISO 50001, the international standard for energy management.
As Antarctica New Zealand is able to improve energy performance, the financial benefits will become clear. Operating sustainably, both financially and environmentally, promotes the ongoing operation of Scott Base, which in turn allows for an increase and continued support of scientific research in Antarctica. That research contributes to understanding of the impacts of climate change, a field that will prove vital in this century.
Commitment to credibilityAntarctica New Zealand continues to place an emphasis on the external review of its environmental performance and aims to meet best practice. The certification programmes Enviro-Mark Solutions offers (Enviro-Mark, Energy-Mark, CEMARS and carboNZero) ensure Antarctica New Zealand is independently audited and certified to ensure they are implementing best practice. The audit and certification process means Antarctica New Zealand can be confident their work is accurate and complete, and rely on the data to develop ongoing reduction plans.
Antarctica New Zealand’s latest achievement of Energy-Mark Bronze Certification, is helping them continue to lead the transition to a low carbon world.
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About Antarctica New Zealand
Antarctica New Zealand is a Crown Entity, established under the New Zealand Antarctic Institute (NZAI) Act (1996) to develop, manage, and execute New Zealand’s activities in respect of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base, which has been New Zealand’s permanent Antarctic research station since 1959.
Key activities of Antarctica New Zealand include:
- Maintaining a continuous presence in the Ross Dependency through the operation and maintenance of Scott Base;
- Operation and maintenance of New Zealand programme field infrastructure (including field huts, field installations like radio transmission antennae and emergency and fuel caches); and
- Travel of science and non-science personnel outside the Scott Base area (for health and safety reasons, search and rescue training, Antarctic field training, visitor programme, general duties, activities at the invitation of other national Antarctic programmes, entry into specially protected areas and environmental monitoring and management).
Energy-Mark Bronze Certification
Energy-Mark Bronze certified organisations have developed an energy policy and demonstrated a commitment to energy management. Through the guidance of Energy-Mark the organisation has reviewed its energy usage, decided on its energy baseline and defined its performance indicators.
To achieve Energy-Mark Bronze certification, an organisation:
- Defines and documents the scope and boundaries its energy management system;
- Defines, establishes, implements and maintains an energy policy which illustrates the organisation's commitment to achieving energy performance improvements;
- Provides the resources needed to establish, implement, maintain an energy management system;
- Communicates the importance of energy management to those in the organisation;
- Ensures that energy objectives and targets are established;
- Considers energy performance in long-term planning;
- Appoints an Energy Management System Champion(s) with appropriate skills and competence;
- Conducts and documents an energy planning process;
- Develop, record, and maintain an energy review;
- Establish an energy baseline against which to measure changes in energy performance;
- Evaluate compliance with legal and other requirements.