Member close-up: Apricus Eco-Energy

28 June 2019

Apricus Eco Energy has been designing, manufacturing, supplying and installing sustainable hot water systems since 2003. The recent introduction of CO2 powered heat pumps demonstrates the innovation at the heart of a company that delivers highly sustainable hot water systems.

Marcus Baker, Managing Director of Apricus ECo-Energy, has been working in sustainable design and business advice for 15 years. He started in the UK in waste minimization, followed by environmental sustainability advice for SMEs (up 250 employees).

Believing a more sustainable lifestyle is achievable in NZ and attracted by the can-do attitude, Marcus and his Kiwi wife moved to a 16-hectare lifestyle block in the Bay of Plenty. Three quarters of the block is native forest, now protected by covenant. With an active pest control programme and replanting (3,500 trees and bushes over last 6 years), the couple are busy. The trees are enough to easily off-set Apricus and the family’s own carbon emissions that are minimized with their off-grid home.

“[Climate change] will see a wholesale change to how we run our businesses and buildings and lifestyles”.

Life off-grid helps Marcus to understand the dynamics and challenges of energy efficiency in homes. His current dilemma is how to run an electric vehicle, from a home with no mains power. His solution is an agreement to intall a charge-point at a friendly neighbour's place. “Such are the realities of being off-grid,” Marcus says. “Not many of us understand the challenges we face with the climate crisis that will see a wholesale change to how we run our businesses, buildings and lifestyles.” He really enjoys finding practical solutions to have more energy efficient and sustainable lifestyles and business operations.

What excites Marcus most is around larger commercial system design. With Apricus Eco-Energy this is about identifying the practical, sustainable solutions for domestic hot water. “It’s very exciting to be told by an architect or developer: We have this many people using this building and need hot water, what is the most sustainable way of doing it?

For Marcus it’s important that people feel comfortable asking this type of question. “They don’t need to understand the minutiae of the technology, but they need confidence that we will deliver an appropriate solution.”

Apricus delivers projects at all scales, from individual homes to megawatt scale industrial installations. With all necessary skills in-house, the process greatly simplifies the transition to sustainable technologies for architects, designers, and builders. Apricus is responsible for the complex modeling, design and specification of the complete systems so they can be easily and readily installed by the site trades.

A recent example is Summer Gardens, a high-end apartment development in Takapuna that is targeting Homestar. Apricus designed a centralized solar hot water system to reduce the use of fossil fuels by 70%. Centralized solar hot water is a very sustainable choice. Although, it won’t suit all situations, the Summer Gardens design demonstrates the efficiencies of centralized hot water systems.

Another approach is distributed hot water cylinders, each with a Reclaim Energy CO2 heat pump. This approach doesn’t require the building management to bill for hot water and means all plant is individually owned and maintained. The small, outdoor heat pump compressors can be wall or balcony mounted, meaning the system is both practical and efficient. This is the system commonly used in high density living in Japan, the developer of CO2 heat pump technology.

Apricus have in-house expertise and capacity to design, specify and supply complex hot water systems at any scale. The driver is sustainable outcomes, not profit. And it’s not just Marcus, but the whole board of Apricus are involved in other not-for-profits and social enterprises.

They are passionate about sustainable solutions for reducing the energy needed for hot water. The solar thermal systems and hot water heat pumps are suitable for all climates in New Zealand. Both systems will help a building receive a Homestar or Green Star rating.

Marcus Baker, managing director at Apricus Eco-Energy

Get in touch with Apricus Eco-Energy to develop a unique design for your project