Other Sustainability Initiatives
Northern Grampians Shire Council is currently, or has recently concluded, other sustainability initiatives.
Grampians Gate Caravan Park
The first is an energy efficiency project which has replaced of an oil boiler and inefficient electric storage hot water systems with solar powered (natural gas-boosted) hot water systems at the Grampians Gate Caravan Park where Northern Grampians Shire Council has responsibility for managing and maintaining some of the assets including this infrastructure.
Funding of $26,000 from the Australian Government’s Local Government Energy Efficiency Program has resulted in lower operating costs for the Park’s operators and saved Councils Building Maintenance budget considerable capital cost.
Installation of Solar Photo-voltaics
Council is also currently negotiating the installation of solar photo-voltaics panels on the rooftops of 6 Council properties. These include:
- Stawell Town Hall
- St Arnaud Town Hall and Office Complex
- Stawell Library
- Stawell Depot
- St Arnaud Depot
- Stawell Leisure Complex
Business cases have been prepared through AGL Commercial and site assessments completed. Heritage and planning considerations have also been met.
The cost of installation has been estimated at $219,500, providing an annual saving of $43,700. This a simple return on investment of 18% with a payback of 5.5 years.
If it wishes, Council has a number of financing options which would be paid through the savings and have the effect of making the installations cost neutral.
Council actively monitors and evaluates the cost and consumption of its electricity, gas and water through internal processes and asset reporting provided by an external agency, Planet Footprint.
This allows Council to identify anomalies, excess usage and incorrect billing information that it can respond to and reduce or correct.
A review of water meters, consumption and site users recently identified over $30,000 worth of savings to Council.
Other Sustainable Living Officer contributions
Apart from the specific projects the Sustainable Living Project Officer is required to deliver, having funding for the position means that Council is able to seek additional advice and expertise on a number of issues and topics. These include:
- native vegetation management and retention
- potentially contaminated land
- land capability and suitability (e.g. review on aspects of the Western Stawell Business Precinct Development Plan, submission to the Western Victoria Land Assessment Study)
- Municipal Health and Well-being Plan (e.g. on climate risk)
Key outcomes for Council and the community include:
- Environmental sustainability
- Energy and resource efficiency
- Community resilience (health and well-being)
- Development/maintenance of networks and partnerships
- Enhanced reputation of Council as an environmental steward
- Contribution to Council Plan 2013-17.