Burnham Military Camp has received a major boost to plans to move to a greener heating and cooling system.

The Government, as part of its $200 million clean-powered public service fund, has announced it will contribute $3.84m towards the new system. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will contribute $5.76m.

The current coal-fired boiler was introduced in 1970. However, as well as being a source of greenhouse gasses, it is also labour-intensive and needs to shut down for periods of maintenance.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority estimates replacing the boiler with a distributed electric system, which will power heat pumps, will reduce the Burnham Energy Centre’s greenhouse gas emissions by 93 per cent and NZDF’s overall emissions by about 4860 tonnes a year.

Officer Commanding, Southern Region Support Centre Major Grant Payton, says the new system will make a huge difference to the camp.

“It is great that Burnham Camp is now able to have a modern and efficient heating system which is environmentally friendly.”

Adrian Matthews, Defence Estate and Infrastructure Estate Delivery Manager for the Southern Region, says the decision to fund the Burnham boiler replacement is warmly welcomed.

“This comes on the back of many years of planning and effort to find the best all-round alternative and the combined efforts of the Defence Estate and Infrastructure team have yielded the additional funding required to progress this project.”

The new distributed electric solution will provide sustainable heating and cooling to much of the camp, but will require significant reinforcement of the electrical network to meet the increased demand.

Design work is currently underway for upgrades that will see an improvement in the reliability and availability of power across the camp. Construction on the first electrical upgrades is expected to begin in December, with the final heating systems coming online in late 2021.

The best heating systems for each building are yet to be determined.

Burnham was established as a military camp in 1923 and expanded during World War II. At the time it was envisaged it would only last for up to 25 years.

There are plans to modernise the camp, which include improving power and water networks, new barracks and workshops, a health and rehabilitation centre as well as new training and conference centres.

It is part of the Government’s $2.1 billion indicative funding to 2030 to continue the regeneration of the Defence estate, to ensure it is fit for purpose and meets the Government’s sustainability goals.

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