Wellington Hospital Total Energy Centre

Engineering Plant (eg railway, locomotive, car, plane)


In 1981, Wellington Hospital's Total Energy Centre was the first example in service at a hospital in New Zealand, and when designed it was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The term Total Energy describes a system  which maximises the energy benefits available in fuel. In the case of Wellington Hospital the principal fuel is natural gas, supplemented with diesel fuel oil which is also used as a standby fuel.

The construction of the centre was part of the a large-scale redevelopment of Wellington Hospital's facilities which took place between 1959 and 1976.  

On site the fuel is used to propel a prime mover which generates electricity. Heat is recovered from the engine-jacket cooling-water circuits and used to preheat the lower-temperature hot-water circuits within the complex. High-grade heat is recovered from the engine exhausts and is used as a source of heat for a high-temperature hot-water distribution system.

The centre's feasibility and the necessary equipment could only be assessed after exhaustive evaluation of the likely energy demands of Wellington Hospital. These were assessed using a detailed computer analysis which evaluated the effect of the local climatic conditions on each building proposed for the site as part of the hospital's redevelopment.

After the viability of the scheme was established, tenders were called in December 1975 for the prime movers and associated heat-recovery equipment. The equipment needed to satisfy the assessed energy demand of 8.3 megawatts (MW) daily electrical peak, while refrigeration demand was 10.12 MW and peak winter heating demand 12.31 MW.

Consulting engineers: Kerslake & Partners, and Edwards Clendon & Partners
Contractors: Fletcher Development Construction Ltd and Hawker Siddeley Engineering Pty Ltd

Heritage recognition
IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project

This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this energy centre as part of the development of the nation.

'About Us - History - Pictorial Index - 1950s-1960s,' Capital and Coast District Health Board (www.ccdhb.org,nz)


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Mein Street, Newtown, Wellington

Wellington / Kapiti

Access Info
The Centre can only be externally viewed by the public.

Nature of Engineering
Electrical Power Generation and Distribution


Main engine hall, Wellington Hospital Total Energy Centre, circa 1980. IPENZ, Wellington Hospital Total Energy folio, 1990 plaque project

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Total Energy Centre from Mt Albert, June 2014. IPENZ

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Lat: -41.310068 Long: 174.782792