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When Rinnai New Zealand opened its doors in 1974 gas heaters were powered by coke and coal, Christchurch hosted the 10th Commonwealth Games and we went to Rinnai if we wanted a portable stove. How times have changed. The company now has a turnover close to $50m and leads the way in product development and energy efficiency in the gas industry.

“The discovery and development of the Maui gas field fundamentally changed the gas industry with natural gas becoming a serious energy source for homes and businesses,” says Ray Ferner, managing director of Rinnai New Zealand.

Ferner sees a bright future ahead for the company: “Gas has an excellent future in New Zealand. Heating and cooking requirements for homes can be efficiently and effectively provided for by gas, and using the fuel directly in the home is the most effective use of this natural resource.”

With global concerns for energy at a peak – both ecologically and economically – efficiency is a trend that Rinnai expects will continue to gain momentum. “The concerns over global energy use and climate change will drive better performance from all energy related categories,” says Ferner, adding that “Rinnai is focused on being eco-friendly. Our research and development functions develop appliances that lead the world in energy-efficient outcomes.”

Rinnai’s two latest fireplaces, for example, are best of class for efficiency worldwide. The company also has a range of condensing water heaters that are 10 per cent more efficient than a standard solution.

“Current focus on the environment and efficiency in general is not a temporary fad. Huge resources across the world are being directed at developing better environmental outcomes, which will see developments and innovations that redefine the way we do things. It will be interesting to watch and to be a part of this,” says Ferner.

“Boosting the solar power system with an efficient gas booster is the most effective water heating system bar none and we see great opportunity for this to grow,” he adds.

There is agreement under the Kyoto Protocol not only to create greater energy efficiencies, but also to seek out and utilise alternative energy sources. Rinnai embraces this and is working to create user-friendly and planet-friendly gas appliances.

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