Coffs Council goes green

Thanks to NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change's Public Facilities Program, the council has been granted almost $1 million to work on reducing their carbon footprint.

Rigby House is set to become Coffs Harbour's first solar-powered public building, and the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden is set to save thousands of litres of town water with a new reclaimed-water irrigation system.

After identifying Rigby House, which houses the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and the Coffs Harbour City Library, as one of council's highest energy consumers, council decided to act.

"When we looked at ways of reducing Council's carbon emissions, the placing of solar panels on Rigby House was identified as having the potential to save up to 235 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually," Coffs Harbour City Council executive manager, strategy and sustainability, Jeff Green, said. The successful $735,000 grant application means that beginning mid-2009, Rigby House will be fitted with a solar grid feed system that will generate around half of the power needed to run the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, office equipment and lifts.

"In all, we predict that fitting the solar panels will save more than $25,000 a year in direct electrical costs, as well as offering opportunities to sell any excess power created back to the electricity grid," Mr Green said. And another $218,000 has been granted to install a reclaimed water irrigation system at the Botanic Garden.

The project will see a pipeline linked from the Water Reclamation Plant to the Botanic Garden once it is completed, a move that will see about 10 mega litres of town water and $20,000 saved annually.

"(The projects) gives us an excellent opportunity to build links with business and industry around renewable technologies," Mr Green said.


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