Celebrating a coal-free future

ILT achieved a remarkable milestone this week in its sustainability journey, celebrating the conversion of the boiler at the Ascot Park Hotel to a biomass boiler.

The commissioning of the boiler marks a pivotal moment in ILT’s commitment to environmental awareness and represents a significant stride in reducing its carbon emissions.

Paddy O’Brien, chair of ILT, expressed immense pride in reaching the milestone.

“This project was not just about installing a boiler; it was an opportunity for us to continue our sustainability journey. Our approach towards sustainability has always been one of continuous improvement and this was a giant leap for us.”

Chris Ramsay, ILT’s chief executive shared Mr O’Brien’s sentiment.

“The Ascot Park Hotel is now coal free, marking a complete elimination of coal usage by ILT.”

The $1.881 million project, co-funded by EECA (Energy Efficient and Conservation Authority), in partnership with Great South, has seen the hotel transition from coal to wood chips, resulting in a remarkable 98% reduction in carbon emissions, equivalent to saving around 1000t of CO2 per annum.

Project Manager, Paul Elliott of OceanOne said this project was a significant achievement for ILT.

“It shows their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and sets a great example as industry leaders in innovation and sustainability.

It also sees collaboration between local businesses as ILT has entered a woodchip supply contract with AWT Ltd. This supply contract ensures that the woodchip supply for the hotel is from Southland and supports the region’s economy,” said Mr Elliott.

The project’s completion ahead of schedule is attributed to a successful partnership with lead contractor CH Faul. The local company has strong expertise in this area connecting with Austrian based manufacturer Fröling, to supply two state of the art 500kw biomass boilers. The industrial grade units were installed by the end of February, with commissioning following shortly after. 

Mr Ramsay said the hotel remained open and fully functional during the project.

“This was crucial for us and is a credit to Paul, CH Faul and all the other contractors involved,” he said.  

“Maintaining the hotel’s operations directly contributes to our overall profits, which are invested in the community. It’s incredibly pleasing to complete this project, while simultaneously continuing to give back to the community. Our donations have already surpassed $7.5 million this financial year to 29 February 2024.”

The boiler conversion is part of ILT’s broader sustainability strategy, which includes initiatives such as solar panel additions to ILT Head Office and the nursery development, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to improving energy efficiency where possible.

It also signals the organisation’s ongoing investment in Ascot Park Hotel, its premier conference and events centre, including the recent upgrade to the reception and foyer area plus guest room refurbishments.