Small savings in many buildings: energy efficiency at ANZ (without silver bullets)

ANZ’s New Zealand energy efficiency programme has delivered more than $4 million in savings during the past five years, reducing consumption by 24 per cent during that time.

During the year through March, the bank achieved a 9 per cent reduction in energy use, worth about $700,000. During the past 18 months ANZ’s data centres, its biggest energy users, reported zero growth in energy consumption despite the on-going expansion of its on-line services.

This performance has seen the New Zealand branch become the ANZ’s global leader in energy efficiency. As a result, many of the interventions undertaken in New Zealand are now being applied across the bank’s operations in 33 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

ANZ’s 8,000 New Zealand employees use about 42 GWh of energy at 600 sites annually.

With a range of small sites of varying age and construction, the company realised a centralised approach would not work. The cost of external energy audits would also exceed the savings that could be delivered at many of the smaller branches.

Instead, branch staff are empowered to address energy efficiency as part of their day-to-day business. The bank employs an energy efficiency advisor – effectively a half-time position – to offer guidance, but relies on a `rule of thumb’ approach for sharing lessons from site to site.

Costs have also been contained by getting ANZ’s existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors to prepare a bespoke energy audit template that can be applied at almost any site.

An example of the rule of thumb in action is the bank’s deployment of 365-day time clocks for HVAC systems. The former 24-hour clocks meant HVAC ran on public holidays – usually 11 days a year – and had to be adjusted for daylight savings.

The new programmable clocks will cut annual HVAC use by about 20 per cent, delivering a $1,000 cost saving for a typical branch. ANZ says that can pay back the installation investment within a year.

Rather than assess the opportunity at each branch, ANZ is simply rolling out the new clocks when old systems are identified.

The company is also locking in savings with good design at its new facilities.

ANZ’s new and refurbished sites typically use 30 to 40 per cent less energy than existing branches. This is done through a number of approaches including ANZ’s own lighting specification, requiring all new sites and refurbishments to use only LED lighting; and energy efficiency in its selection criteria for electrical equipment such as computers.

In order to maximise the savings from LEDs, the firm tendered out its lighting supplies to one firm, which also carries out lighting audits at no extra cost.

Maintenance costs have fallen and the benefits of scale have delivered a 40 per cent reduction in the cost of fittings. The single supply also has simplified warranty claims.

The Large Energy User Initiative of the Year award category is sponsored by element magazine