BRANZ is proud of its Diamond Certification to the Enviro-Mark programme administered by Landcare Research and our on-going aspiration is to continue improving our environmental performance.
Energy saving technologies were incorporated in the 2011 / 2012 refurbishment of our site and are mentioned in this 6 minute You Tube clip. The refurbishment was also featured in the August 2012 issue of Trends Magazine. Wait a couple of seconds for page 8 to load and click through to page 15 to see the full story.
A report on our emissions one year on from the refurbishment records the impact the energy saving initiatives have had on our carbon footprint. There has been a 15% reduction in emissions for the year to March 2013 compared to the year to March 2010 (which was the year before refurbishment work began). The report also mentions other planned initiatives in 2013 that could increase the reduction to 25%.
Environmental targets for 2012 were set during November 2011 and at the time they looked like they would take some doing, but BRANZ rose to the challenge and either met or exceeded most of them.
The first target was for our electricity consumption to be 10% lower than our predicted usage - which took into account the outside temperature, the number of working days in the month and the number of staff. With the commissioning of the Pellet Burner, passive ventilation and other technologies our electricity consumption was down by more than 10%. Our target for 2013 is a 15% reduction against the predicted figure.
Waste to landfill
In 2009, we looked at why our waste to the landfill was climbing and found that concrete slabs from tests were placed in skips going to the landfill. The concrete is now sent to a clean fill - saving us money and the landfill valuable space. We did not meet our target of 80 tonnes for 2012, but we have systems in place to ensure that we go below that amount in 2013.
A water leak caused a large spike in use during 2010. The leak was fixed and the dramatic reduction in water use was a combination of fixing the leak and water saving technologies provided by the refurbishments. Our target for 2013 is a mere 500m3.
The experience of the water leak highlighted the value of monitoring our usage as there were no indications of a leak apart from a spike in the readings. Tracking our environmental aspects on site means that we can fix issues as they arise.
During 2012 we looked at further areas to improve our performance and commissioned Waste Not Consulting to audit the items being thrown out by our cleaners. Once this was quantified, strategies were put in place to either reduce, recycle or divert them from going to the skip. The incidence of paper recycling has dramatically increased and food scraps from our kitchen are being picked up by local farmers for their chooks, pigs and goats. The audit was repeated in 2013 and there was a 60% reduction in waste going to the skips, compared with the 2012 audit.
We also have a couple of big ticket environmental items in 2013, the first being the conversion of our Fire Lab from diesel to LPG. This will provide a cleaner burn and a reduction in our Co2 emissions. The second item was the replacement of our "well advanced in years" onsite treatment plant in April 2013.
We also monitor our environmental aspects through an Aspects and Impacts Register.
Finally, our Environmental Policy records BRANZ commitment to limiting our impact on the environment.
Diamond Enviro-Mark NZ certification for BRANZ
In November 2009 BRANZ received its Diamond certification (the highest level available) to the Enviro-Mark environmental programme. At that time, only five other businesses in New Zealand held Diamond status in the programme. As of April 2013 twenty eight companies have Diamond Certification.
This certification is equivalent to achieving ISO 14001; the International Environmental standard for good environmental management.