Energy efficiency group effort

18:52, Nov 21 2012

The Southland District Council will investigate working with other councils to remove barriers in making homes and workplaces more energy efficient.

Venture Southland enterprise and strategic project co-ordinator Karyn Owen said that after the Southland Energy conference last month, which focused on encouraging sustainable buildings, there was an opportunity for the region's councils to look at working together to introduce policy frameworks so that it was easier for ratepayers to become more energy efficient.

Workshops held after the conference identified four key priorities for councils:

Developing an advice service for people building or renovating; Developing an agreed framework to implement the Southland Energy Strategy; Developing and implementing "behaviour change programmes"; Developing a more co-ordinated approach to implement water education, Ms Owen said.

A greater focus on sustainable energy "puts us in a better position for the future and makes the region more attractive for people to live in", she said.

For instance, Invercargill City Council building consents team leader Keiron O'Connell was investigating the establishment of an eco-design adviser role, and Environment Southland was looking at encouraging the use of good quality, dry wood as part of its Air Plan, she said.

District council group manager environment and community Bruce Halligan said the council's building team was restricted by national policy but was trying to encourage energy efficiency.

Councillor Wally Jack said he attended the conference and it was pleasing to see work being done to further what was discussed.

Councillor Brian Dillon said he believed the council needed to be more "enabling" when ratepayers wanted to improve energy efficiency.

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The Southland Times