Horizons welcomes electric car

Horizons Regional Council is looking to reduce their carbon emissions by 6 tonne a year thanks to a new electric vehicle.

Horizons corporate and governance group manager Craig Grant says the Council has recently purchased a Nissan Leaf, the first zero emissions vehicle for their fleet.
“Following an energy efficiency review last year we recognised that there were a number of ways we could make substantial carbon emission reductions,” says Mr Grant.
“This included selling nine vehicles that were identified as underutilised, freeing up capital to chose newer and more efficient vehicles to purchase as the remaining pool came up for replacement. One of these is the Leaf which, as well as reducing carbon emissions, will save approximately $4,000 a year in operating costs.”
Mr Grant says a number of staff have used the Leaf already and it’s been an adjustment to consider how far the battery will allow them to go.
“The Leaf can get staff as far as Wellington with a full battery and there are charge stations in most main centres. With electric cars becoming more mainstream no doubt more stations will pop up around the place as well.”
In addition to purchasing an electric vehicle, Horizons has developed a programme that focuses on improving energy efficiency across the organisation.
“Last year we removed an old heating ventilation air conditioning unit from our Regional House roof and replaced it with energy efficient heat pumps. The traditional system was as large as a shipping container, requiring a significant amount of electricity to operate,” says Mr Grant. 
“We have since upgraded other traditional heating systems and begun LED lighting installation in our five service centres throughout the Region. The next phase of the programme will be staged upgrading to LED lighting in Regional House and staff incentives for improving practices such as paperless offices and switching off computers and lights.”

Mr Grant says as managers of the Region’s natural resources Horizons is keen to lead by example.
“Our energy efficiency programme has a long-term focus. These combined initiatives will continue to result in operating and maintenance cost savings, as well as a reduction in our overall carbon footprint. As new technology becomes available, such as extended electric car battery life, we will continue to upgrade systems and processes.”
Mr Grant took the Leaf to a regional electric vehicle forum hosted by Palmerston North City Council on Monday. The event provided the opportunity for councillors, council staff and members of the public to experience and learn about electric vehicles. 

Regional House is in Palmerston North and Horizons’ service centres are in Whanganui, Woodville, Taumarunui, Marton and Kairanga.