Sustainability in Council
Council’s internal environmental sustainability team, also known as the ‘Green Futures’ Team is working on a number of projects to reduce the organisation’s ecological footprint.
An Environmental Sustainability Action Plan has been developed and includes:
- promoting awareness of environmental sustainability
- reducing the paper usage of Council
- changing the office paper we use to a recycled option
- improving the office recycling system
- saving energy by encouraging staff to turn of lights and computers
- reducing waste through a reusable coffee cup and shopping bag program and looking at options to discontinue the purchase of single serve tea, coffee and sugar.
Solar Lighting and Power
Council has decided to investigate the opportunity to use solar streetlighting whenever replacement or major repairs are needed to lights on Council owned land.
The Works Depot is the third highest electricity consuming Council facility (behind the Kurri Kurri Aquatic Centre and Administration Centre). The Depot site was considered to be the most feasible for the installation of solar panels as it provides security, correct solar orientation, appropriate roof design and available roof area. The installation comprises 80 x 250 watt panels producing 2,328 kWh/month, with a value of around $33,000 fully installed and was completed and comissioned in June 2013.
The Depot’s average power usage is 14,000 kWh/month costing approximately $3,000. The solar system is designed to reduce electricity costs by around $7,200 per year and has a payback period of less than six years.
The savings have been calculated by costing the electricity we didn’t purchase (i.e. that was generated by the system and used on site during the day) based on this year’s electricity rates (because they are higher this year than last year). It is interesting to see how the generation is increasing as we move through spring into summer. Unlike home solar power systems Council makes no income from excess power generated by the system with the feed-in tariff for commercial systems being on a third that of our the rate we purchase it at.