Textiles sector to reap benefits of energy efficiency

The energy efficiency of New Zealand’s textiles sector is set to improve under a programme announced today. The EECA Business Textiles Sector Energy Efficiency Programme will be delivered by industry organisation Textiles New Zealand. It seeks to improve the competitiveness of the sector, which faces strong competition from low-cost producers off-shore, through a range of energy efficiency initiatives that will reduce energy costs and enable increased productivity. The programme will partly fund energy efficiency assessments and resulting energy efficiency opportunities for textiles firms including carpet, footwear and apparel manufacturers. It will fund at least ten projects during 2012-13 from total EECA funding of up to $128,000. It follows a successful EECA-funded textiles industry pilot programme under which five firms averaged energy savings of 14 percent in 2010.

EECA Business Manager Rod Treder says there are significant opportunities for the textiles sector to become more energy efficient. “The companies we worked with during the pilot found there was scope for efficiencies across the board – particularly in thermal energy and compressed air systems. Many of these initiatives provided a financial pay-back within a relatively short time after which savings were locked in, improving productivity and competitiveness long-term,” he says.

Textiles New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Claire Cilliers says improving energy efficiency can provide a competitive advantage for New Zealand firms. “Regardless of whether they are focused on the domestic market or exporting, energy efficiency can reduce costs for New Zealand textile manufacturers. Increasingly, environmentally aware consumers at home and abroad are seeking out products that are sustainable produced,” she says. In addition to energy efficiency assessments, funding is available for energy efficiency projects involving process heat and boiler management, heat recovery systems, water heating, tumble drying, washing and air conditioning; other technologies specific to individual textiles businesses are also eligible.

Firms interested in participating in the Textile Sector Energy Efficiency Programme should contact Textiles New Zealand ph 06 213 4232 or e-mail info@textilesnz.org.nz.