24 April 2014 — Finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped Tumut Shire Council cut electricity costs in its administration building – the Riverina Highlands Building – by 66 per cent.

The Riverina Highlands Building Energy Efficiency Project officially opened today [Thursday], and involved a $2.1 million upgrade of the building, which houses the council, Rural Fire Service, NSW Forestry, and Probation and Parole.

Tumut Shire Council, which is located in the Snowy Mountains in NSW, used CEFC finance to cover the upfront cost of replacing a 34-year-old airconditioning system with a ground source heat pump system and to install T5 fluorescent lights. The council also installed a 30-kilowatt solar PV array and ceiling insulation.

An audit by CDE Energy of the new equipment six months after its installation proved the council had exceeded savings expectations.

Electricity cost saving of 66 per cent are expected, as well as a reduction in annual maintenance of up to $75,000 a year.

CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates said Tumut was just one example of how the organisation was helping local governments save money on energy, and cutting carbon emissions.

“At Tumut we provided $1.18 million towards improvements to the Riverina Highlands Building that will ensure it remains a vital hub for its local community, with reduced operating costs for the council and other tenants,” Mr Yates said.

Other council projects that have received CEFC finance include:

  • Wagga Wagga City Council, NSW, which replaced lighting and lighting systems at its Civic Centre, Civic Theatre and airport to reduce energy consumption by about eight per cent, while a cogeneration plant at its Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre is expected to half the centre’s annual energy costs
  • Mount Alexander Shire Council, Victoria, which is expecting to cut the energy bill of the heritage-listed former School of Mines building in Castlemaine following a lighting upgrade as part of more extensive building improvements
  • Baw Baw Shire Council, Victoria, which is expecting to save more than $160,000 a year on street lighting energy costs following replacement of 2660 mercury vapour street lights with energy efficient lamps
  • Richmond Valley Council, NSW, which reduced its energy usage by 34 per cent through a street lighting upgrade involving 1000 lamps
  • Kingborough Council, Tasmania, which replaced lighting in its Civic Centre, reducing the building’s lighting energy use by 75 per cent
  • Great Lakes Council, NSW, which is saving about 12 per cent on its energy use following more than 20 individual upgrade activities focusing on lighting, water heating and insulation at Forster’s local aquatic centre and council administration centre
  • Central Goldfields Shire Council, Victoria, which is saving more than $22,000 a year on energy bills following upgrades to three buildings involving lighting, HVAC, insulation and solar PV installation