Alsco New Zealand has launched 'Sustainability Update 2021',
a document outlining our progress on our 4 big, bold sustainability goals and
highlights of our community initiatives.
Alsco is committed to the reduction of its energy usage and subsequently, its carbon footprint. To achieve this, we work closely with our employees, customers, and the community. We partner with our suppliers and contractors to understand and meet community and legislative expectations and regulations. We do not just meet industry environmental standards – we constantly strive to exceed them and encourage our employees, clients, and business partners to help us do so.
Alsco NZ has worked with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to launch energy saving initiatives, whilst also being courageous to adopt and test newer technologies. This includes but is not limited to, the uptake of the first long-distance intercity heavy EV freighter in New Zealand, moving to wood-pellet boiler in its processing facility in Nelson, and has amalgamated two old inefficient plants into one efficient processing facility in Richmond.
With EECA’s support, Alsco has also employed an energy management graduate. The company intends to, with assistance from its graduate, reduce energy usage by 2 GWh end of the program. This corresponds to approximately 3% of Alsco’s entire energy usage and is equivalent to switching off 220 million LEDs or powering 18,000 Electric Vehicles.
In addition to this, Alsco NZ, in 2018, committed to four Big Bold Sustainability Goals
to guide its business through to the year 2030.
OPTIMISING PROCESS ENERGY
As part of Alsco’s Four Big Bold Sustainability Goals, Alsco wants to transition away from Coal-fired process heat and energy. To achieve this, the group has decided to take a staggered approach, building in energy optimisation and energy efficiency practices and initiatives to reduce energy demand.
This ensures that when there is a switch to low carbon alternatives, there is enough capacity and optimisation to absorb the costs associated with the transition. This also enables Alsco to take advantage of the technological advancements in this space.
Richmond Our production facility in the Nelson region was the first to transition to biomass, transitioning from a coal-fired boiler to wood pellet in 2012. Overall, the conversion of the laundry boiler from coal to wood pellets significantly improved air quality and reduced the visual impact of smoke emissions. Wood pellet fuel has the additional benefits that it is carbon neutral and can be obtained from a local supplier, Azwood.
Christchurch & Dunedin Alsco is currently undertaking an energy transition accelerator (ETA) strategic review, a government initiative through which, a roadmap to transition to low carbon stationary fuel and transportation alternatives are defined. The ETA will define a roadmap to transition for both our Christchurch and Dunedin production facilities.
Invercargill Alsco has engaged Ahika to conduct a woodchip boiler trial at their Invercargill site. Initial work included an assessment of the suitability of Alsco’s boiler system, and its main components, to operate on wood fuels.
This trial has been successful, and the next steps are to build towards a full-day trial under full factory load. This is scheduled for later on in 2021. This ensures that there is a pathway that puts Invercargill on the cusp of switching over to biomass. The coal used in Invercargill represents 22% of the company’s entire Carbon footprint in New Zealand – 4,075 tonnes.
In 2020 Alsco commissioned three SEA Electric E4V electric vans in three different depots across NZ, and also introduced NZ’s first long-haul heavy EV freighter, based on a Hino GH1828 fitted with a SEA-Drive® 180 power-system.
This was in line with Alsco’s 2018 commitment of electrifying a third of its fleet by 2030, as one of four ‘Big, Bold and Meaningful’ goals.
The vehicles were launched at Eden Park in December 2019, an event attended by energy and resources minister Megan Woods, climate change minister James Shaw, Taupo mayor David Trewavas, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) chief executive Andrew Caseley and around 200 guests.
The project received funding support from EECA and enabled Alsco to work closely with SEA Electric NZ and Action Manufacturing in Hamilton to build a specialised EV freighter with an expected range of 200km. The truck travels Alsco’s shortest heavy route - a return trip between Rotorua and Taupo, then Rotorua and Tauranga. The route totals around 286 kilometres each day, so top up charging and split shifts are required. The electric vans have been seamlessly integrated into normal delivery schedules, servicing customers while keeping the surrounding areas pollution and noise free.
Alsco is now engaging with international OEM’s to kept abreast of Electric Vehicle development and supply so that we can successfully transition a third of our fleet to EV by 2030
Continuous Batch Washers (CBWs) are the most efficient laundry machinery but demand large volumes of similar work to fully realise the benefits and synergies.
They are expensive to install but are significantly more water and energy efficient than more conventional washer extractor plants, which typically use more than double the volume of water to process each kg of laundry. CBWs have inherent water recycling attributes built into the machine when compared to conventional washer/extractor plants which fill, dump and refill water at each stage of the wash and rinse cycles.
In August 2019, Alsco Auckland installed a new Continuous Batch Washer. This upgrade was estimated to save the Auckland processing plant significant amounts of water, decrease energy consumption in the form of gas while increasing capacity and efficiency.
In recent times, Alsco Auckland has been amidst an extreme water-shortage and drought. Alsco recognises this as one of the real challenges facing the city contemporarily and has demonstrated significant water savings with the CBW upgrade.
Alsco continues to demonstrate leadership in the industry by investing in newer and more efficient technology. This has enabled the company to set a benchmark for others with bold and equitable sustainability goals. The business continues to endeavour to meet its sustainability goals, especially in the reduction of its water usage by a third. While doing so, Alsco will reduce its footprint on New Zealand’s energy and natural resources as the business, together with the rest of the nation, embark on a carbon net-zero future.
Alsco Dunedin installed a new Continuous Batch Washer from 5 to 26 September 2018. This upgrade was estimated to save the Dunedin processing plant significant amounts of water, decrease energy consumption while increasing capacity and efficiency.
Like most responsible businesses Alsco has been focusing on reducing our waste to landfill in recent years, and has achieved considerable success through segregating waste through our plants, recycling and staff education.
This is in line with our big bold sustainability goal of generating zero waste by 2030.
We have also developed key partnerships across the initiatives and programs we have been associated with while empowering our workforce to engage actively in the process and propose projects that can help us meet targets.
Alsco has also worked closely with its supply chain and customers, ensuring there is a partnership approach to waste reduction. This has allowed Alsco to educate its key stakeholders while also learning from their experiences and initiatives.
These initiatives have seen Alsco become a founding partner of the Textile Reuse Programme and join initiatives such as the SBN’s Sustainable Procurement Advisory Group. While Alsco is in the early days of its waste reduction plan, it is committed to reaching its goal and eliminating 1.2 tonnes of CO2e for each tonne of waste diverted from landfill.
WITH OUR COMMUNITY
Early in 2017, Alsco joined with the exciting Million Metres Streams Project. It’s a partnership that will help transform New Zealand’s waterways. Million Metres is led by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), in partnership with Alsco and DOC (Department of Conservation).