Air NZ dwarfs all entries for supreme energy efficiency award

Although an airline's energy costs are astronomical compared to most Kiwi companies, Air New Zealand's entry dwarfed all award entries combined.

Although an airline's energy output is astronomical, Air New Zealand has been named the most energy-efficient company in this country.

The national carrier was the supreme winner at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority Awards last night.

Claiming energy savings worth more than $540 million since 2005, and 142,000 tonnes of saved CO2 emissions annually, the airline’s entry dwarfed all other award entries combined.

It also won the transport category.

EECA chief executive Mike Underhill said Air NZ’s energy-savings achievement brought positive spin-offs in other parts of the economy.

“Its success in shrinking its carbon footprint in such an energy-hungry industry is a boon, not just for tourism but our whole export sector."

Although Air New Zealand’s energy costs were astronomical compared to most Kiwi companies, the close attention to detail it used to help cut energy waste was an approach any business could gain from.

How is Air New Zealand saving energy?

With a goal to become the world’s most sustainable airline by 2020, the airline has cut fuel use by 15% - a big achievement in the energy-intensive aviation industry.

Air NZ has done that with simple initiatives such as culling on-board weight and major technical innovations such as aerodynamic "winglets" on its Boeing 767s.

Pilots also save fuel by taxiing on one engine instead of two.

Air NZ says it is the first carrier in the world to gain regulatory permission to use routes that deviate as much as 240 minutes from a suitable airport to find shorter and more fuel-efficient flight tracks.

On the ground, the airline’s support vehicles at Auckland, Blenheim and Christchurch airports are running on 20% biodiesel.

And when the airline receives its new Dreamliner aircraft in 2014 it will have the youngest and most fuel-efficient commercial fleet in the world.

2012 EECA Award winners

Supreme winner: Air New Zealand

Transport: Air New Zealand

Large business: ASB

Small to medium business: Ecosystems and Whanganui Pak’n Save

Energy Management: New Zealand Post Group

Innovation: Aurecon NZ and Dominion Salt

Renewable Energy: Golden Bay Cement

Public Sector: New Zealand Post Group/New Plymouth District Council

Community: Greater Wellington Regional Council

Outstanding Contribution: Jeanette Fitzsimons

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