Wingecarribee Shire Council is gearing up to tackle two unique records as it prepares to celebrate Earth Hour on Saturday 30 March in conjunction with the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens.
Michael Rhydderch from Council’s Environment and Sustainability team explained how locals could join in the fun.
“Every year millions of people across the globe come together to join in Earth Hour festivities to show that they care about our planet,” he said.
“This year we thought we’d use the event to highlight the importance of renewable energy for a sustainable future by staging two record attempts,” he said.
The first is the Guinness World Record attempt for the largest display of solar lanterns.
“The team from the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens will lay out 1,200 solar lanterns in the shape of a giant footprint which will then be photographed from the air,” Michael said.
The second record attempt however requires greater community input.
“We need as many people as possible to come along on the night and bring their own solar lantern to make another giant footprint,” Michael said. “However this footprint will be created by people power!”
“Attendees needn’t worry if they don’t have their own solar lantern as we’ll provide one free of charge at the venue that they can take home with them at the end of the night.”
Earth Hour is a worldwide environmental movement held annually whereby individuals, businesses and communities are encouraged to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour in late March. This year hundreds of millions of people across more than 7,000 cities in over 180 countries are expected to take part in the celebrations.
“This free event is a celebration of renewable power and demonstrates how it can make a significant difference to the health of our environment,” Mr Rhydderch said.
In addition to the world record attempt the evening will also feature live music, a children’s lantern making workshop, the University of Wollongong’s futuristic sustainable home, displays from local renewable energy providers and a discussion led by guest speaker Greg Mullins, Councillor for the Climate Council and former NSW Fire & Rescue Commissioner.
Refreshments will also be available but guests are free to bring a picnic and enjoy the festivities in the Gardens.
To assist in coordination for the evening’s festivities, participants are asked to register online at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/earthhour. Bookings for the Children’s Lantern Making Workshops are essential and can also be booked via the website.
The Shire’s Earth Hour celebrations will be held from 5.15pm on Saturday 30 March 2019 at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens, located on the corner of Kangaloon and Old South Roads, Bowral.
For more information, including registration details, visit Council’s website at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/earthhour.
Wingecarribee Shire Council wishes to advise that installation of a 344 panel solar power system will commence at Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre from Thursday 27 April 2017.
The Centre will remain open to visitors throughout the installation work.
Patrons may experience some inconvenience in the car park and surrounds as panels are delivered and intermittent noise as installers work on the roof of the building.
Council apologises for any inconvenience and thanks patrons in advance for their cooperation.
The project is scheduled to be completed within two weeks. All timeframes are subject to weather conditions.
Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre is located at 8 Kirkham Street in Moss Vale.
For further information contact Therese Smart Council’s Environment and Health Systems Coordinator on 4868 0748.
Council’s Resource Recovery Centre is set to save big on electricity costs with the commissioning this week of a 100 panel solar power system.
The electricity generated by the 25 kilowatt roof-mounted solar system will be used to power the majority of the day time energy needs of the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) with some electricity expected to be fed back into the power grid when the facility is closed.
The RRC solar power system brings Council’s total solar capacity to over 100 kilowatts of solar PV.
“In just four years we’ve added solar panel systems to our cattle saleyards, the refurbished Southern Highlands Welcome Centre, Bowral Library, the Mittagong Rural Fire Service Building and now our Resource Recovery Centre,” said Council’s Environment and Health Systems Coordinator in charge of the project, Therese Smart.
“In total we’re now generating approximately 455 kilowatts in renewable energy from our solar installations every day.
“That’s the equivalent of $30,000 a year in power savings or the same amount of energy required to run 23 average Australian homes per year!” Ms Smart said.
Ms Smart explained the choice of installation sites.
“We deliberately looked at Council facilities that operate predominantly during the daytime,” she said. “This ensures we make the most of the solar energy that’s generated.”
“We then also had to consider which sites had the available roof space that could accommodate such large-scale solar installations.”
Council anticipates that its current solar power capture projects will recoup all costs within six years.
Council’s Bowral Library is set to save big on electricity costs with the commissioning this week of a 119 panel solar power system.
The electricity generated by the roof-mounted solar system will be used to power the majority of the day time energy needs of the library with some electricity expected to be fed back into the power grid when the facility is closed.
Council’s Environment and Health Systems Coordinator in charge of the project, Therese Smart, said the choice of renewable energy system was carefully considered prior to the installation.
“Not only did we have to take into account the available roof space for the solar panels and the energy needs of the library, but we also had to consider the local heritage aesthetics,” she said.
“Because the library is situated in Bowral’s heritage precinct, we had to ensure the panels lay flat so as not to impact on any neighbours.
“But on completion, we were more than happy with the final result and our modelling suggests the installation will provide considerable savings,” Ms Smart said.
It is anticipated that the 29.75 kilowatt solar panel system will save the library around $8000 per year in electricity costs and reduce carbon emissions by 38 tonnes per annum.
The installation of the solar panels follows Council’s lighting upgrade of the facility in 2013. In February of last year, 63 older style fluorescent tubes and globes were replaced with energy efficient products. This project alone is saving Bowral Library approximately $1900 a year in electricity costs.
Mittagong Library underwent a similar retrofit in 2012 which has seen its electricity costs drop by approximately $450 per year.
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As part of its push to save energy, Wingecarribee Shire Council has just installed a solar power system on the roof of the Southern Highlands Information Centre (SHIC) in Mittagong.
Council estimates the installation of the 9kw solar power system will save the organisation around $2,700 per year and subsequently reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint by approximately 13 tonnes each year.
“The Information Centre is the perfect site for this solar installation as it operates seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year,” said Barry Arthur, Council’s Manager of Environment and Sustainability.
“This means that the majority of the solar energy generated by the installation will be used on site by the SHIC.”
Mr Arthur further explained the benefits of the scheme.
“The system installed takes full advantage of renewable energy,” he said. “Because we’re using the energy directly on site from where we captured it, the money saved in reduced power costs is actually much higher than what Council would receive from the power company if we supplied the energy back into the electricity grid.”
Steve Rosa, Acting Group Manager of Tourism, Economic Development and Events said the introduction of the solar panels builds on the work already undertaken to develop the Information Centre as a leading edge Information Hub.
“The installation of the solar panels compliments our new branding of Destination Southern Highlands as a must-see environmentally sensitive region,” he said. “Apart from making great economic sense, it’s also an endorsement of our organisation’s sustainability aspirations.”
Further solar panel installations are being investigated on Council facilities including the soon to be opened Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre.
For more information on the SHIC solar power system, or future Council energy programs, contact Council’s Environment and Health Systems Coordinator on phone 4868 0888.