Methane capture halves DCC's carbon footprint

Turning methane gas into electricity at the Green Island landfill has helped the Dunedin City Council slash its carbon footprint in half.

Figures released by the council yesterday showed its carbon emissions had been cut by an estimated 56% in two years, from 71,231 tonnes a year to about 31,000 tonnes a year.

Council finance and resources general manager Athol Stephens said in a statement the landfill's methane-capturing project was the ''major'' contributor to the result, alongside efforts to cut electricity and LPG use.

Under the landfill initiative, methane gas generated by the landfill's contents was captured and used to generate electricity, rather than being allowed to escape into the atmosphere. .

However, other initiatives were also being considered to further reduce the council's carbon footprint, he said.

That could include reducing the council's use of diesel fuel and cutting back on flights taken by council staff. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said reducing non-renewable energy use was the key to addressing climate change, and public bodies had a responsibility to lead the way.

The initiatives would also help ensure Dunedin moved towards achieving ''energy resilience'', he said.

The council was among the first in New Zealand to measure its carbon footprint and, in October, received independent verification - from carboNZero Holdings Ltd - its emissions had been measured correctly.

''This has provided an important line in the sand by which we can measure improvements in the future,'' Mr Stephens said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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