Monday, 12 May 2008

Energy and community issues for consideration by Boroondara Council

Lighter Footprints has developed and submitted to Boroondara Council the following suggestions:

Council as an organization
  1. To have as a major aim be ‘carbon neutral’ – (zero net emissions) by 2015 (current 20% reduction by 2020 is extremely weak)
  2. To this end, appoint appropriate consultants with experience in working with other Councils,(e.g. Melbourne, Yarra, Moreland, Alexandria) to assist Council to develop an implementation plan
  3. Advertise this aim, the implementation plan with its specific actions, widely (and proudly) in the community, and report on gains made.
This plan should include for example:
  • Using 100% greenpower for all electricity needs, including street lights
  • Fitting solar panels where possible
  • Consideration of small wind turbine in appropriate setting
  • Undertaking an energy efficiency program focusing on heating, cooling and lighting of buildings, reducing paper use, recycling etc, refrigeration,
  • Reducing water consumption, recycle more water
  • Buying new cars to be hybrids and at least one fully electric as a demonstration
  • Rewarding employees who change from car use to get to work, to walking, biking, train or bus.
  • Establishing a revolving energy fund for funding energy efficiency projects and activities

Council working with its community

  1. Prepare a stated aim to work with the community to reduce carbon emissions and move towards sustainability, across the Boroondara community, consistent with the commitment of Council as an organization.
  2. Focus on households and commercial ratepayers reducing energy use, reducing water use, reducing waste, reducing reliance on petrol, through incentives
  3. Set all Council policies and regulations (including building regs) to consider their implications for overall carbon emissions and reflect Council commitment to reduce them.
  4. Devise new ideas to engage the community in this venture
Some of these should include for example;
  • Encouraging households to reduce energy and water use through a) an audit scheme using trained volunteer auditors to work with households to change practice (Bayside model?) b) a rate rebate scheme for those who successfully point to changes made (like using 100% Greenpower and carbon offsets as well as household reductions)
  • Building on living for the future workshops project with a second round using energy audit and actions for households
  • Providing audits for large energy users, (commercial, industrial, schools etc) and offering incentives to reduce consumption.
  • Providing a green grants scheme for community groups to undertake green projects (like Manningham?)
  • Using incentives to reduce the overall amount of household waste generated, as well as getting putrescibles out of the waste-stream. Assist resistance to junk mail.
  • Developing a section of a park to demonstrate wind-mills and solar panels, with monitors showing energy generated relative to everyday use – light, kettle, fridge, computer
  • Replacing street lighting with fluorescent bulbs
  • Using storm water more effectively
  • Revisiting the tree policy to support holding the remaining tree canopy by incentive not just punishment. Offer cost effective (or free) appropriate trees for garden planting
  • Audit swimming pool heating and consider solar panels
  • Re-assessing the basis for building permits, to ensure high energy standards are upheld (5 and 6 star levels)
These are but a few ways to involve the community in a Council drive to reduce carbon emissions through example , through information, and through encouraging efficiencies in energy use, water use, waste management and tree conservation.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Ligher Footprints at the Feed-in tariff solar rally

Lighter Footprints members Carolyn, Jenny and Peter attended the rally protesting against the Victorian Governments disappointing feed-in tariff legislation.

Jenny and Carolyn at the rally

A "feed in tariff" pays producers of solar power (such as those with solar panels on their roof) are premium price (e.g. six times the retail rate) for their clean energy, and can provide great incentives for solar panel installation and a local clean energy industry.

Unfortunately, the Brumby government's tariff only pays producers for the "net energy" they export to the grid, rather than the "gross energy" they produce to reduce emissions. They have also capped the tariff to systems less than 2kW, for reasons which are unclear.

This means that the feed in tariff will benefit almost nobody! The cap should be removed and the tariff should apply to gross metering.

More photos

For more details see:

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Zero Emissions Clothes Drying Project

Are you using fossil fuel energy to dry your washing? Why not use free sun or wind energy or incidental heat to dry your clothes?

A Lighter Footprints project is currently looking for people in the Boroondara area who are interested in making the change to zero emission clothes drying.
Contact Jenny on (03) 9836 0431 or Anne on (03) 9836 2761