a vision of decarbonising Aotearoa and how you can help
Decarbonising a country is a key challenge and can sometimes feel overwhelming. To understand what this journey entails and how you can help let’s first take a look at New Zealand’s current emissions:
*each individual icon represents about 5% of Aotearoa’s emission portfolio.
42% of all Aotearoa’s carbon emissions come from energy and how we use it. In Australia and globally it’s even greater, at around 75%. But we can change that. Here at Vector, we’re already on the case with our business strategy and its focus on meeting the changing needs of customers and enabling millions of people to lower their carbon footprint.
If we all work together, we can take a massive chunk out of those energy emissions and beyond. Here are some steps individuals and businesses can take that will make a difference to Aotearoa's carbon footprint.
How can we all work together to help decrease New Zealand's emissions?
1. Let's reduce how much we drive
This is our largest energy-related contribution to climate change. If we can all reduce our driving by at least 1/3 this could have a significant impact on our environment.
Ways we can achieve this include:
Working from home
Cycling or walking instead of driving
Taking public transport and car pooling
Taking part in local activities
Not driving unless absolutely required
2. Let's electrify
For those trips where we absolutely must drive, let’s electrify. This doesn’t just mean buying an electric car, it also involves buying a smart charger. Using a smart charging system means your car will automatically charge during the off-peak times, which helps to manage the load on the network. One day, we we envision this integrating with renewable energy, meaning less reliance on backup power generation from fossil fuels.
Interested in buying an electric car? Read about the government’s Clean Car Discount
3. Let's consume electricity intelligently
This graph shows the average electricity load of a house. The goal here is to flatten the load-curve, so we use our electricity more intelligently. Even if you don’t own an electric car, there are small steps you can take to help, such as:
Taking a shower outside of peak times (e.g. before you go to bed so that your hot water cylinder can recharge overnight)
Delay your appliances to run after midnight
Changing your electricity plan to a ‘time of use’ so that you can also save money while flattening the curve
Have LED lightbulbs that use 10x less energy, this lowers the peak curve, and will save you about $30 per bulb per year in electricity bills.
If you get solar panels installed at your home, we also recommend getting a battery so that you can use the charged battery to flatten peaks, such as in the evening.
We are also working on digital platforms to flatten this curve for you. We call this our ‘New Energy Platform’ (NEP), where smart-meter data can be used to develop new energy management services and save you money at the same time.
4. Let’s reduce our energy consumption at home
We are all doing a fantastic job in being more efficient with our power, let’s keep that trend up. Remember the top big household loads on our energy use:
Hot water is 30% of our energy use. Let’s try to keep our showers a little shorter as well. Pre-2002 electric hot water cylinders aren’t well insulated and should have a cylinder wrap that can be purchased from hardware stores. Even better, get a hot water heat pump.
Space heating is 35% of our energy use. Getting a heat pump is a great way to reduce this load. (Vector's HRV business, sells these systems so you could speak to them about your options.) We understand these can be costly, so see if you qualify for a government grant through Warmer Kiwi Homes.
Lighting accounts for 10% of your load, so make sure you are using LED lights, which use 10 times less power, and you will get your money back in electricity savings in less than a year.
Appliances and refrigeration account for another 10% each. When buying appliances check the energy star rating. The more stars, the better and more efficient, which can help reduce electricity bills.
5. Let's fly less
Covid has meant there has been less flying. Let’s keep this habit up, where we can. One day we may have biofuel or electric planes, but we need to make social changes now to minimise the impact of flying.
6. Let's electrify heavy road transport
Some companies have already started electrifying their heavy road transport fleet. Let’s support them by using their delivery services, where we can.
7. Let's find more efficient ways to power our businesses
Distributed generation, such as solar photovoltaic technologies are great, especially for commercial customers that use electricity during the day. The use of small-scale power generation technologies that are closer to the end-users increases energy efficiency. If you are a commercial customer, you cold even contact Vector Powersmart to help design your project.
8. Let's support renewable generation
Our electricity network here in New Zealand is approximately 80% renewable1. We can support renewable generation by purchasing technologies that will only be used when renewable electricity is abundant. Smart car charging is an example that is currently in development. When people return home from work, instead of firing up a gas power plant to supply the peak power, smart charging may delay till later in the evening.
9. Let's support a decarbonised industry
Industrial energy use makes up 9% of national emissions, and a lot of this is because of coal. As consumers, we should try to support companies that have switched to more sustainable energy sources, such as grid electricity, solar, and biofuels and green hydrogen.
10. Let's think about the environmental impact of our habits
By reducing our consumption, we can save emissions both locally and internationally. Our main industrial emissions in Aotearoa are from the chemical, construction, food, beverage and paper industries2. Yes, that includes paper. Switching from single use plastic to single use paper suprisingly creates five times the greenhouse gas emissions. Reuse is always better than recycle.
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Electricity Statistics, Data tables for electricity
- Ministry for the Environment, New Zelaand's Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990=2019, https://environment.govt.nz/publications/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-inventory-1990-2019/