Otago University Dental Facility

  • Reduced energy use by 75%
  • 6  x Apricus ETC30 solar collectors
  • 1,450 litres of hot water per day


High performance solar system slashes energy use at new Otago University dental facility.

The University of Otago is working towards their aspiration to be a recognised centre of excellence for sustainability, in practice and research, with an Apricus solar hot water system on the new Manukau dental facility.

The Faculty of Dentistry is a Jasmax designed, state-of-the-art dental facility next to the Manukau Super Clinic on Great South Road, Auckland that opened in 2021.  The building includes a number of environmentally sustainable features, including an Apricus Energy solar hot water system.

“Hot water is a very significant energy demand in any medical facility and this building will use 1,450 litres of hot water per day, requiring 247,000kWh of energy every year” says Marcus Baker, Apricus Energy.  “Beca asked us to design and project manage a system that would minimise this energy consumption.  The system installed reduces this energy use by 73% over the year, delivering a significant saving and reduction in associated carbon emissions. This is achieved with only six Apricus ETC30 collectors, using 40m² of roof.”

Apricus worked closely with Jasmax and the construction team to overcome a number of challenges to implement the system whilst meeting the University of Otago H&S policy of a permanent ban on roof access once the scaffolding was removed.

“This situation is helped by the Apricus control system being fully integrated with the Building Management System, providing live notifications if there is a fault and performance reporting over time,” says Marcus Baker.

Staff and students at the facility will provide dental services to patients from Manukau and surrounding areas.  The Counties Manukau dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic will follow the long-standing social contract model operated successfully in Dunedin, where patients receive treatment provided by students under supervision at a highly-accessible cost, he says.

Up to 48 final-year dental students will be assigned to the Counties Manukau facility at any one time.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says by making a real difference to people’s lives and a community’s health and wellbeing, the University will be living its strategic commitment to providing for the national good and improving lives.

Other benefits of the project include strengthening relationships and partnerships with Māori and Pacific communities based on mutually beneficial goals incorporating patient care, research and education, and providing increased opportunities for North Island based oral healthcare professionals to to access continuing education.