Orange City Council’s approach to sustainability is increasingly focused on new ways of approaching energy. Orange City Council is committed to reducing our use of energy through energy efficiency measures and we have strengthened our commitment to investing in renewable energy, including solar installations at a range of Council facilities.
Something needs to be measured before it can be managed. This is certainly true of the contribution each of us makes to climate change.
Regardless of how our energy is generated, there is a strong case for a much greater awareness of energy efficiency in the way we live, work and enjoy ourselves – all areas of vital importance to Orange City Council. While the design of our built environments, vehicles, gadgets and equipment have a big influence, it is how we use and conserve energy that promises the greatest potential improvements.
What we’re doing
Recent audits of energy use (and efficiency) identified the Civic Centre and the City Council’s water and wastewater treatment plants as big users of energy.
The audits showed there were a range of things the Council could do to improve energy efficiency, including installation of energy-saving features, like:
- variable speed drives at our water filtration plant,
- changing lighting to LEDs at our sewerage treatment plant and
- installing timers on the urns at our office buildings.
During routine maintenance on council buildings when lighting is replaced, energy-saving options such as LEDs are being installed.
What you can do
There are many simple steps that households in Orange can take to save energy and many of them don’t cost a thing (while saving a lot of money in the long term). Here are just a few:
- always ensure you have a full load in the dishwasher or washing machine
- install a water-efficient shower head, take shorter showers and replace electric hot water systems with solar hot water
- replace light bulbs with energy efficient LED lights. They use a fraction of the electricity required for incandescent globes and less energy than compact fluorescents.
- look for ways to only heat or cool areas of your home that your family actually use regularly
- set your heating/cooling a couple of degrees warmer in summer and colder in winter
- reduce drafts by closing vents and installing draft stoppers under doors
- install ceiling insulation (the higher the R-value, the better!).
The NSW government ‘Action Matters’ website is loaded with great energy saving ideas for people at home, in business or in the community. We’re sure that a bit of time spent exploring there will be well worth your time!
Business energy savings
If you run a local business, we recommend you subscribe to and check out recent editions of the NSW Government quarterly Energy Saver e-bulletin for the latest energy efficiency news on seminars, resources, training and support.
Orange City Council is proud to have invested in renewable energy over recent years.
What Orange City Council is doing
The Council-operated Aquatic Centre has installed a large array of solar panels using an innovative funding model. Before that, the Council Works Depot in McLachlan Street had a large array of solar panels installed. This 35-kilowatt system of 140 panels saved more than $5000 in electricity costs in the first quarter, money that will be reinvested in new energy programs across the council.
The Council Works Depot project complements photovoltaic installations at the Community Services Centre (286 Lords Place), childcare centres and Clover Hill function centre that have been delivering energy and cost savings for several years.
We will continue to look for ways to increase our investment in renewable energy and transition from fossil fuel intensive power generation and we welcome suggestions from the community on new opportunities for Orange.
What you can do
The most practical way for the average household, school or business to reduce greenhouse emissions is to purchase accredited renewable energy, or ‘green power’, from your electricity provider. For a few extra dollars per bill, your electricity provider will purchase energy produced from a renewable source on your behalf.
If you’d prefer to go one step further, why not investigate installing solar energy at home or at your workplace.
Generate energy right where you use it
The Australian Government continues to support households to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and hot water systems under the small-scale technology certificates scheme. Retailers usually offer an upfront discount on systems in exchange for these certificates.
If you are considering installing solar panels or solar hot water for your home or business, the following links may be helpful:
Solar is looking good for business
Aside from purchasing accredited renewable energy (Green Power), it is a great investment to consider solar for your business, especially if you are an owner occupier.
You only need to fly over the cities and towns of Australia to see that many businesses are taking up the opportunities offered by commercial-scale solar photovoltaics. For many businesses with high electricity costs, the rapid return on investment in solar can make the decision to do the right thing for the environment a great decision for the bottom line.
The Australian Government has provided small businesses incentives to automatically depreciate up to $20,000 worth of assets. This could mean solar for your office, warehouse or even contribute to investment in solar farms.