Total Utilities remains available through New Zealand's Covid-19 Response. Read More Here.

We build firm and lasting relationships with our clients.

Our level of service and integrity cements these relationships for the long-term. Utility retailers respect us and the independent role we play in bringing business to them. We have a strong environmental conscience; the local community and the wider world are important to us. Our adaptability is key to our success now and in the future.

Case Studies: Innovative Solutions

Watercare House Case Study: Anchor tenant scores a NABERSNZ excellent rating for energy use

Watercare House Case Study: Anchor tenant scores a NABERSNZ excellent rating for energy use

Pushkar Kulkarni from Total Utilities completed the site review and NABERSNZ Assessment of Watercare House. Here he provides additional commentary to the original published case study, highlighting the specific benefits of a NABERSNZ tenancy rating. "A NABERSNZ tenancy rating is an ideal tool for tenants as it shows them how their day to day operations impact their energy performance. It can also determine how well they manage energy and identify the opportunities that may exist to improve energy performance. In an increasingly competitive market place and businesses look for a point of difference by delivering on their corporate and social responsibility, and think about long term business sustainability, tools like NABERSNZ are a good demonstration of their willingness to "walk the talk". It reflects where they are now with respect to others and what benefits they can get by improving their NABERSNZ rating. I definitely feel that ratings will become increasingly important in New Zealand. Equipment directly impacting the tenancy rating of Watercare are: lighting, computers, and client specific plug load etc. They are limited to what they can do with the lighting connections and zoning due to way in which these were originally designed. This has had an impact on the rating. If a NABERSNZ rating was a factor that developers and contractors were informed of during the design/build stage, then there is good chance that the lighting connections and zoning may have been designed differently. In my opinion the occupancy density, clever use of all areas, and using lighting controls are the main factors that have resulted in a 4-Star NABERSNZ tenancy rating for Watercare. The rating demonstrates it's a very good start and platform for Watercare to understand where they are at compared to the wider market and examine strategies on how they can improve going forward."   Scoring a first-rate NABERSNZ 4-star tenancy rating for energy consumption at its office demonstrates an Auckland company’s commitment to the environment. Auckland water provider Watercare Services Limited is the anchor tenant in an eight-level office block constructed in bustling Newmarket in 2013. 73 Remuera Road is the first Green Star rated commercial property in the district and reflects the growing demand from corporate tenants for green principled, energy smart work spaces. Watercare occupies three of five office floors in the building. Key Facts 4-star ‘excellent’ NABERSNZ tenancy rating Energy use certified as 97.6 kWh/year/m2 NABERSNZ to be used at other sites Further energy upgrades continue Big Numbers 2013 – achieves a 5 Green Star Design rating 2015 – achieves a 5 Green Star Built rating 2016 – achieves a 4 star NABERSNZ tenancy rating Energy use certified as 97.6 kWh/year/m2 Total energy consumption 738,454 kWh/ year Building Profile Location:  73 Remuera Road, Newmarket, Auckland Owner: Viewmount Orchards Limited Anchor Tenant: Watercare Services Limited (approximately 300 employees on site on an ordinary day) Accolades: 5 Green Star Design (Achieved 2013) 5 Green Star Built (Achieved 2015) NZ Property Council Award – Commercial Office Property Best in Category Award 2015 NZ Property Council Award – Green Building Property Merit Award 2015 The Anchor Tenant Watercare is an Auckland Council owned organisation (CCO) providing water and wastewater services to Auckland and its environs. It is committed to the sustainable management of natural resources and energy saving operations. The Auckland Council has two additional NABERSNZ rated premises – the Manukau Civic Building (3 star whole building, 2014) and Orewa Service Centre (3.5 star whole building 2016). watercare.co.nz The Building/Facilities Manager FM Concepts Limited is an Auckland-based commercial property management firm which focuses on medium to large high rise buildings and offers a full range of services including onsite operational management, property consultancy, contract management, health and safety systems and cost management. It has a strong interest in the sustainability of the built environment and energy efficiency. Two commercial buildings in its portfolio are currently undergoing NABERSNZ ratings. fmconcepts.co.nz Key Sustainable Features Located within easy walking distance of train and bus networks - encourages sustainable transport options for occupants High-tech building controls and management system with real time monitoring Energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC). Double glazed façade LED lighting Well-designed waste collection and recycling area End of trip facilities – gym, cycle park and locker facilities This property is a brownfield redevelopment – its construction has improved an existing dilapidated area and makes a positive contribution to a sustainable Auckland. Why NABERSNZ? With water being its core business Watercare has the environment and energy issues at the top of its agenda. While its head office is housed in Green Star rated Watercare House the company’s sustainability manager Roseline Klein says the company wanted to understand its everyday energy performance across the three floors it occupies in the building. It was the missing ingredient. We wanted to know where we were at with our energy performance, how well we were doing and where we could improve. We’d heard about NABERSNZ so we did some research online. It’s a great tool, it provides a benchmark and it drives best practice.” – Watercare Services Limited Sustainability Manager Roseline Klein NABERSNZ in Action Watercare Services Limited sustainability manager Roseline Klein says undertaking a NABERSNZ rating over its 7563 square metres of office space has proved to be “a painless process”. The meterage required for a rating was already in place – 18 meters had been installed in the building during the construction period to aid fine-tuning of systems and utilities. The company took advantage of the free NABERSNZ feasibility assessment which determines a building’s readiness to get started with a rating. “It made a big difference for us and took away the humdrum business of counting 644 computers and documenting the configuration of staff plus it set a timetable, provided a checklist and saved us time,” says Roseline. NABERSNZ assessor Pushkar Kulkarni from Total Utilities says lighting, computers and occupant specific plug load have the biggest impact on a tenancy rating. He says clever configuration of work spaces, occupancy density and sensory lighting controls have resulted in Watercare’s superb 4 star result. The Value of NABERSNZ Watercare says it wants to model water and energy efficiency and its 4-star NABERSNZ tenancy rating shows its credentials. Sustainability manager Roseline Klein says the rating has been “a great experience” and has pushed the company to look hard at its resources and ensure they are better used. “It’s spearheaded change. For example we’re now trying to ensure our procurement process is not always about cost but energy efficiency too. We’ve recently retrofitted our gym with water efficient shower heads which use nine litres per minute compared with 12 – they offer a better shower experience and use less water and energy,” she says. Roseline believes if a NABERSNZ rating was compulsory it would encourage energy awareness and help tackle climate change. “For example Aucklanders are the lowest users of water because it is charged volumetrically so whether you are sustainably-minded or not your invoice reminds you not to waste, to think of water efficiency. A mandatory energy performance rating would have the same effect for landlords and tenants.” In Australia a NABERS rating is compulsory for commercial offices over 1,000 square metres while a range of mandatory energy performance ratings exist in Europe. NABERSNZ assessor Pushkar Kulkarni says as Kiwi businesses increasingly look to deliver on corporate and social responsibility and think about long-term business sustainability a NABERSNZ rating demonstrates a willingness to ‘walk the talk’. “The NABERSNZ tool is set to become increasingly important in New Zealand.” A NABERSNZ rating demonstrates a willingness to ‘walk the talk’ – NABERSNZ Assessor Pushkar Kulkarni

Ongoing Insights with Cloud Analytics: Zespri Case Study

Ongoing Insights with Cloud Analytics: Zespri Case Study

In 2013, Zespri, one of the world’s leading horticultural companies, and the recognised category leader in kiwifruit, was facing many significant challenges. The Psa virus which attacked their main gold kiwifruit crop, had the potential to devastate the company and its grower shareholders. In addition, they were facing significant capital outlays associated with their existing ICT systems and the need to upgrade their computer hardware. Zespri had to ask questions like, "Could the new variety of crop, Sun Gold, be more robust and become another bestseller?", or, "Would our outputs dramatically reduce?" At the same time, Zespri’s Board were concerned about identifying and mitigating the risks of a natural disaster like the tsunami in Japan or the earthquakes in Christchurch. Their data centres were located in Mount Maunganui and backup services in Tauranga. They wanted to understand the impact these types of events could have on their onsite server and storage infrastructure. Measured Baseline Informs Strategy Undertaking the initial analysis of Zespri’s current position, we established a baseline ICT cost. This baseline was used as a benchmark to inform financial decision-making and monitor ongoing expenditure. With assistance from the team at Total Utilities, Zespri evaluated its ICT data centres and infrastructure services and platforms. The objective was to determine whether they could manage the range of potential outcomes that they faced. These systems would have to be flexible enough to adapt to both the best case and the worst-case scenarios. Zespri sought Total Utilities' independent advice to identify and assess out how they could best respond to these risks and opportunities. They ultimately saw the need to inform vital decisions around how they consumed computer services with a scalable and cost-effective model that was aligned with their overall financial and business strategy. Undertaking the initial analysis of Zespri’s current position, we established a baseline ICT cost. This baseline was used as a benchmark to inform financial decision-making and monitor ongoing expenditure. Using this measure, we demonstrated to the CIO and CFO and subsequently their executive and board, significant savings could be made by moving to a monthly subscription model based on public cloud services. In the future increases above the baseline, increased spending in ICT, would be indicative of Zespri’s growth. The baseline is a very useful comparative tool, both for supporting financial decisions and controlling monthly spend. After conducting a thorough analysis of the needs and opportunities available to Zespri, we provided the quantitative data that underpinned the business case presented to their board. Total Utilities subsequently supported Zespri through our independent Request for Proposal process to choose a candidate for the migration to, supply and support of a comprehensive cloud-based infrastructure running over the Microsoft Azure Platform. Moving ICT operations to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform has many advantages including access to data from anywhere and at any time, an IT environment that is quick and easy to replicate as new offices open and new services become available, and it can effectively respond to the increased competitiveness that occurs when other global players enter the market. In addition, moving to Azure mitigated the risk of natural disasters crippling the closely located physical data centres. Ongoing Insights and Cloud Analytics Our commitment to providing Zespri with a dynamic and meaningful experience meant that our relationship continued past the selection phase. With our expertise in financial analytics we continue to provide them with forever evolving insights. Steve Wichman, Zespri’s Procurement and Commercial Manager, outlines how Zespri is moving into an ICT maturity phase. With this the board is always looking for ways to optimise their systems. The regular technical and financial input from Total Utilities is very useful in this regard, Steve describes us as a sounding board and an independent voice. Zespri utilise the Total Utilities cloud management service based on our analytics, reporting capability and the Cloudyn tool. Providing these reports and monthly insights we can help ensure that expenditure is aligned, appropriate, and adaptable to Zespri’s financial strategy. We also help them manage and mitigate the risks associated with an OPEX approach, bill shock, by providing them with real-time alerts of consumption. Steve states that these reports provide insights on how Zespri can best optimise their systems, analyse exceptions, and determine how they can improve their current and future operating state while reducing overall expenditure. Customer-Centric and Flexible Reporting The board is always looking for ways to optimise their systems. The regular technical and financial input from Total Utilities is very useful in this regard. The dynamic nature of our service to Zespri means that, as well as providing clear and understandable reports, our analytics extend to creating what-if scenarios. For example, we can analyse what might happen if Zespri consolidated or expanded some of its ICT services. This approach means we can project future cost savings or increases accurately. Total Utilities insights, financial analysis and recommendations have become more meaningful as more data is gathered and more avenues explored. We can now calculate ICT costs on a “per service” basis. This allows Zespri to identify the true cost of financial, operations, marketing or any other system that requires ICT resources. Our benchmarking and cash projection approach extends to three-yearly reviews of the business case. These reviews are vital to ensure that the case remains relevant to Zespri’s situation and consistent with the parameters set by the board. Regular reviews, along with ongoing monthly, quarterly and annual reporting, are at the heart of Zespri’s ongoing drive to extract the maximum, identified and projected value available from the Microsoft Azure platform of services. Understanding Key Business Drivers to Leverage Competitiveness Other ICT consulting companies might focus on the technology or hardware, we take a financial analytics approach that sees ICT as a consumable and adjustable utility. This means consumption and costs are transparent, flexible and optimised. We believe ICT should be financially appropriate for a company, aligned with their goals, and be able to adapt to real-world factors. We do all this by establishing a baseline of costs, creating a detailed business value analysis in support of a business case and then deliver regular monitoring. This approach informs understanding of the company’s consumption, costs and benefit realisation from their Azure based ICT systems. This is the multi-faceted and valuable service that we continue to provide to Zespri. Finally, would Steve at Zespri recommend us to other companies? A resounding yes. Our strong and dependable relationship, the way we deliver on a job both in quality and in timeliness, and our independent and trusted advice, is hard to find elsewhere.

Achieving Client Success

Emmy Seccombe
Te Uru
Paul Laing
Red Stag Timber
Haydn Randall
St Bede's College
Cost‐effective solar power system for your business

The deployment of grid‐connected photovoltaic (solar PV) systems continues to grow at an impressive rate. In 2018, there was a 30% increase in systems implemented and it continues to move forward. Most of this growth involves residential systems, which have an 80% share of the connected capacity in NZ. Where's the growth in commercial solar pv systems? Why are the industrial and commercial sectors lagging behind? The following article was written by Perry Hutchinson, who holds a Master of Engineering Studies in Renewable Energy Systems and has 30+ years of experience designing and implementing industrial electrical systems. One benefit drives decisions about solar PV for industrial/commercial use... Commercial Solar Power System Cost The New Zealand Smart Grid Forum identified that although residential consumers consider a range of potential benefits ‐ such as energy independence, environmental impact and a desire to participate in the technology ‐ sound economics is what drives industrial and commercial consumers. So the challenge in photovoltaic design is to present solar as a viable business investment in New Zealand, even though we lack the government subsidies and generous feed‐in tariffs enjoyed in many other countries. What is a feed‐in tariff? Feed‐in tariffs (FIT) offer you a defined payment for the energy you feed into the grid from your solar PV system. In New Zealand, this can be as low as $0.04/kWh. When generous feed‐in tariffs are available, the key constraint to system size is essentially the available space for the PV array; for viable projects, the bigger you build it, the greater the return. However, having low feed‐in tariffs changes the whole approach to system design. There is a tipping point where increased size (and increased investment) actually results in diminishing returns. Forget feed‐in tariffs. Focus on offsetting electricity costs The viability of a PV system (photovoltaic system) with low feed‐in tariffs depends on offsetting electricity cost. And offsetting electricity cost depends on discovering the optimal level of self‐consumption. There is a tipping point for self‐consumption with on‐grid PV systems. This is the maximum size of the system where we still achieve 100% self‐consumption. Building the system larger than this results in some of the PV generation being fed back to the grid and therefore, self‐consumption starts to fall. Generation Profile for commercial solar power systems But with the generation profile changing ‐ not only seasonally, but also daily and hourly ‐ what is this optimal level of self‐consumption? A system size maximised for 100% self‐ consumption in summer will fall short of that in winter. Conversely, a system size maximised for winter will over‐generate in the summer (and lower self‐consumption as surplus is fed back to the grid). Load Profile for commercial solar power systems In addition to this, load profile must also be considered. What if the load is biased towards the morning or biased towards the afternoon? This could impact the optimal direction you orient the array (the azimuth). For example, a more westerly orientation may be better for load profiles with an afternoon bias. Tariff Structures for commercial solar power systems Tariff structures could have a similar effect. We have worked with clients with quite complex tariff structures that could influence array configuration. For example, high morning tariffs could mean a more easterly orientation is better. Obviously, each situation is unique and requires something more than an “out of the box” solution due to the complex interplay between these constantly changing variables – the solar resource, load profile and tariff structure. Our approach to getting Solar Power right Traditionally, a project’s net present value (NPV) is used to evaluate and prioritise projects. NPV takes into account the time value of net cashflows over the life of a project by applying a discount rate. But rather than treating this as an “endpoint” calculation, at Pacific Energy we use NPV to optimise the PV design. We model a system on an hourly basis over a year using NIWA weather data, the tariff structure and load profile from the time‐of‐use meter as the key inputs. The model then finds the optimal combination of size, tilt and azimuth that maximises the NPV of the project over its 25‐year life. The maximised NPV reflects the optimal level of self‐consumption for the system which in our experience can be anywhere between 85 – 95% on an annual basis. This provides the starting point for more detailed design to be undertaken. For solar projects, Total Utilities partners with Pacific Energy whose focus is on bringing sustainable energy projects to life. By combining sharp economic analysis with a deep understanding of industrial power systems, they design and specify viable and pragmatic solutions that optimise energy use and reduce carbon footprint. They are experts in system analysis and provide unbiased, independent advice for investment decisions.

Get your head in the cloud

Why cloud is crucial for a sustainable business, and how to choose the best option. The Covid-19 outbreak has reinforced two lessons for businesses – the importance of cloud-based services and the need to ensure their model is sustainable. Cloud platforms have really come into their own, providing accessibility for remote workers and customers, while providing the ultimate scalability for businesses facing an uncertain future. But in a world where both the economy and environment are facing unprecedented challenges, it is more vital than ever for business owners and CFOs to make informed business decisions. Choosing the right cloud option can be daunting, and a truly sustainable business needs a clear understanding of the financial and business case drivers to help make the right decisions. Review the business model Changes are happening at a rapid pace in today’s business environment, with many companies looking at downsizing and improving their remote working capabilities. Even beyond the extremes of a pandemic, acquisitions, new ventures, upturns and downturns all provide daily challenges for senior managers. Over the last few years, the focus of major decision-makers has moved away from in-house tech infrastructure and experts and towards more flexible and agile cloud models and platforms like Microsoft Azure that best fit their way of working. Before making any investment in IT infrastructure or platforms, ask whether they can adapt if your business needs change in the future. Nothing illustrates how quickly the business environment can change as the infographic below. The infographic shows the vast drop in consumption of electricity since Covid-19 hit New Zealand. Many businesses were unable to operate from their normal offices and stores. While most have adapted to working from home, the shutdown had a huge impact on commercial electricity consumption. While major industry consumes a third of all our energy, the wider commercial sectors consume a further quarter of New Zealand’s electricity demand. It is this quarter that we can reasonably assume to have almost completely evaporated when the lights went off. Although the future is opening up and consumption is starting to rebound, businesses are now focused on new ways of consuming energy or delivering services. Many CFOs and CIOs are trying to figure out this new way of working and how it affects their own businesses. The days of the road warrior salesperson may be coming to an end. How we engage with, incentivise and add value to our clients will look very different, as some may prefer a call from the office or a virtual meeting to a corporate lunch. Customers too will be feeling the impact, with online engagement becoming the predominant form of communication, and Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Hangouts becoming an integrated part of working culture. In addition, Covid-19 has caused a large shift in the global economy and supply chain. Secure production and supply are increasingly of greater importance than the cheapest or most efficient options, which has led to a greater focus on in-house production, multiple suppliers or regional stockpiling. The result of all this is we can no longer trust the stability of the surrounding environment. While we may see some return to the old ways of working, some business processes will never be the same again. Business managers therefore need to be prepared to constantly review business models and consider whether their technology needs are still being met by their current system. This will help ensure their business remains sustainable in a world that can change drastically in what seems like a second. Plan for the rebound Businesses are now furiously planning ahead for the future. Many will need to start scaling up or down to stay on track with fluctuating demand. Working through the challenges including staffing, supply chain logistics, stock management and managing demand will impact most businesses, not to mention the increasing expectation they will reduce their environmental footprint. Kiwifruit producer Zespri is a classic example of how to approach this kind of situation. In 2010, it was dealing with the PSA Virus, which caused entire crops of kiwifruit to fail. The popular gold kiwifruit was the most affected variety, spurring Zespri scientists to research a resistant strain. They knew the situation could have gone either way – with the opportunity to double production if the new strain was successful or ultimately halve if the research failed. Zespri was concerned about having enough computing power to cover existing demand while preparing for both the best- and worst-case scenarios. With support from Total Utilities to assess its existing IT costs and consumption, Zespri was given a list of options that projected the business outcomes and costs for each. It could either continue managing and maintaining its own data centre, outsource its data to another local vendor, or switch to the public cloud so it could replicate the same platforms around the world. Zespri chose the latter, moving its infrastructure and associated platforms onto the Microsoft Azure Cloud. This decision helped Zespri cover a multitude of potential problems by removing the financial risk of investing in its own tech infrastructure, allowing rapid expansion of a global supply chain and delivering detailed cost control mechanisms. Providing Zespri with financial operations toolsets allowed it to efficiently manage costs and consumption, which was repaid as Zespri’s research gamble paid off and the business grew in scale. Measures such as “cost per tray of kiwifruit shipped” have become an important way of tracking success. Zespri has used subscription cloud services as an effective way to manage, analyse and contain its costs ever since. Not only does that mean Zespri is able to adapt its model to any scenario, not having a data centre on site reduces both energy consumption and space. The business is therefore more sustainable in every sense of the word – something consumers around the world increasingly expect. Microsoft itself has committed to removing all carbon it has ever emitted directly or by energy consumption from the environment by 2050, reinforced by its pledge to support New Zealand’s sustainability goals through its new datacentre investment. As every organisation on the planet is challenged to review its impact on the environment, choosing greener IT options is a great way to minimise your footprint. As the adage goes, the only certainty in life is change. While an upfront investment during downturns can be daunting, the best way for any business to safeguard its sustainability long-term is to invest in an IT system that doesn’t become obsolete, that meets modern expectations around environmental impacts and which allows workers the greatest accessibility in an era when many of us are now working remotely. And that means embracing the cloud. Ensure resilience A resilient network and good technical support are essential to every modern business. There is an expectation for email, purchasing or sales automation to be working around the clock. Software updates, testing or hardware failures are no longer an excuse for disrupted services, which can instantly see customers go elsewhere. Just five years ago, businesses were put off moving their platforms and operations to the cloud because they weren’t sure about achieving the level of compliance and technical competence they needed to operate the systems. Every business we consulted felt the skills to manage cloud migration were a barrier to digitising their operations, and that only in-house experts could provide the support needed. That figure is now just 40 per cent. Trust in the cloud and cloud providers to manage their businesses and tailor their services to their needs has skyrocketed. Likewise, secure and reliable connections are more available than ever. While some thought the demand put on the internet during this period of working from home wouldn’t hold up, the Covid-19 lockdown has proven how resilient the internet can be. It is a credit to our network providers, whether fibre, copper or mobile data-based, that these services have remained largely in place as millions of people have suddenly put tremendous demand on capacity. This shows that network availability is no longer a constraint holding back businesses from placing their operations and services in the cloud. Those organisations using public cloud services are also better placed to combat the predatory players who sought to take advantage of the situation via scams and cyber-attacks, with regular security upgrades not available to those using an outdated server in the back office. No longer can you place your trust in simply ‘doing it yourself’. Instead, managed cloud-based services can prove more secure and reliable. Security and connectivity is complex to establish and even more challenging to maintain, especially when scarce, skilled resources are in high demand. Establish good financial governance Whichever cloud service you use, make sure to choose a partner or platform that can provide real-time analysis and reporting so you can see exactly how it’s working for your business and change your plan if you need to. Governance, cost control and resource efficiency have always been top priorities for businesses. Now more than ever, businesses are focused on getting the best value for money from their technological solutions while growing a sustainable business. One thing cloud-based platforms do very well, thanks to their sheer accessibility and ease of use, is enable workers to use a huge range of resources and implement their own changes and updates. However, if unconstrained, this can result in wastage and bill-shock. While governance and budget setting have provided the framework for cost control and planning for decades, moving to the cloud requires a new level of collaboration between Finance and IT. Ensuring these two teams remain communicative through the cloud integration process is vital to ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently, that the right functionality is baked in from the beginning and there are no budget surprises.  As well as close co-operation, the key to ensuring total visibility and that cloud services are providing the best value, is using a monitoring service to provide real-time data on how cloud is being consumed across the business. The best services can illustrate exactly how resources are being used – either energy or data – and enable CFOs and other decision-makers to rapidly change to new plans that are better for the environment and the bottom line. Clear and regular reporting is essential and takes a great deal of time and effort out of maintaining good governance. Cloud is the future of many businesses and in a time of so much change and uncertainty, it is important to know your business has a model it can rely on to save costs and make governance far less onerous. To know that your business is making most of out your cloud service, make sure you have reporting in place so you can accurately reflect usage in real time, limit your expenses and energy consumption and create a business model that’s truly sustainable for many years to come.

Strategies and Solutions already found for

How can we help?

Contact us