Council to cut carbon footprint

FIVE Lismore City Council buildings will be fitted out with a number of energy and water-saving devices costing $250,000.

The council’s manager of assets and support services, Scott Turner, said solar panels, solar hot water, insulation and water tanks would be installed in the buildings under the State Government’s Climate Change Fund.

“It’s about making buildings more sustainable, but part of it is allowing council to reduce costs in electricity, water usage, and heating and cooling,” he said.

The council is one of 18 organisations which will share in a $6.8 million Government handout designed to reduce water usage and energy- related carbon emissions.

In addition, Lismore’s St Vincent’s Private Hospital’s Friends Long Day Care Centre received $25,190 to install a range of energy and water-saving devices.

Announcing the grants, State Climate Change Minister Frank Sartor said they would help meet the Government’s target of achieving 20 per cent renewable energy consumption by 2020, achieve 4000 GWh of annual electricity savings by 2014, increase annual water recycling by 70 billion litres, and save 145 billion litres of water by 2015.

Mr Turner said while there were no estimates of how much the works in Lismore would contribute to the water and energy savings, every bit helped.

“A lot of people have installed solar panels and water tanks in their homes,” he said. “While individual savings might be small, it adds up to a lot.”

The proportion of Australian households using water-saving devices has doubled between 1994 and 2007, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report released yesterday.

The report said while Australians were using less water due to the drought, households were using more energy. It found only about 10 per cent of households had installed solar hot water and about half of NSW houses had insulation.

Still, industry is doing its bit.

The transport and construction sectors experienced the largest drop in energy intensity – energy used per unit of economic output – down 49 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively, over the 30 years to 2006/07.

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