Small changes yield big results

Article image - Small changes yield big results Meander Valley Councilís Project Officer Craig Plaisted and Mayor Craig Perkins inspect one of the newly insulated hot water services, part of the energy efficiency upgrades at Councilís Westbury offices.

Meander Valley Council has implemented simple energy saving measures at three of its highest energy consuming facilities.

Council received funding of $151,000 from the Australian Government in 2014 to help deliver its $226,000 building energy efficiency project.

The three buildings selected—the Council Offices in Westbury, as well as, the Visitor Information Centre, and the Community Complex in Deloraine—consume 85 percent of the total energy of Council-owned buildings.

The upgrades have so far reduced energy use over the six months to 1 April 2015 by 26 percent overall and as much as 47 percent at the Community Complex, when compared to the two previous years.

“Not only are we seeing a significant reduction in energy use at our buildings—visitors and staff are benefiting from more comfortable conditions,” Mayor Craig Perkins said.

“Council is constantly looking for ways to become more efficient and reduce costs to ensure that its buildings are sustainable and affordable.”

The work included improvements to heating, hot water, insulation, draft proofing, lighting and more. Local contractors and businesses were engaged and have benefited from the project.

Changes in energy use patterns have been assessed using two years of historic energy data, onsite energy audits before and after the upgrades, as well as real-time energy monitoring.

The project outcomes have been shared with local residents, through a series of education workshops to help them identify simple ways to save money and improve the comfort in their homes and businesses.

“It is really clear that you can make a difference to your energy use through simple changes to lighting, insulation, draft proofing, hot water and other measures.

“We’ve learned some valuable lessons during this process and we are excited to be able to share them with our community.”

An ‘efficiency fund’ will be established to use savings on future efficiency upgrades and achieve even more savings; creating an ongoing benefit to Council and community.