St Kilda town Hall is set for an energy makeover

City of Port Phillip is recruiting an engineer with expertise in retrofits to step up reduction in mains grid energy use as part of a major program that that council claims will see it reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2015/16, with the ultimate aim net zero emissions by 2020.

A key part of the program for the new recruit will be St Kilda Town Hall, one of the council’s most energy-hungry assets.

City of Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said the program methodology is a two year process – with audits and project specifications developed in the first year, followed by project implementation, internally funded by Council’s environmental retrofit fund.

“Council departments have worked together to identify opportunities, resolve operational issues and implement measures to improve the environmental performance of [Council] buildings,” Ms Stevens said.

The council commissioned energy efficiency implementation plans for two of its largest energy-using buildings, St Kilda Town Hall and Port Melbourne Town Hall In 2012/13 and the that will now aim to reduce grid-imported energy use by up to 40 per cent in each building.

The initial stages of the project through 2013/14 saw electricity use reduced at the Port Melbourne Town Hall by 17 per cent, and an 11 per cent reduction at St Kilda Town Hall. This was achieved through basic energy avoidance and energy efficiency measures carried out by the council’s fund and complementary actions implemented by building maintenance, building users and the office green team, the mayor said.

The new engineering recruit will implement the next stage of works for St Kilda Town Hall primarily with a focus on re-commissioning the heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems, optimising equipment run-time schedules, delivering server room efficiencies and basic measures, such as installing insulation and weather sealing.

A solar photovoltaics array to be installed on the hall later this year is expected to help exceed the 40 per cent reduction target.

Ms Stevens said she anticipates the 2014/15 Environmentprogram will overall help cut electricity demand by around 400,000kWh, reduce annual GHG emissions by 530 tonnes and save Council around $130,000 in utility costs. The program is expected to have a payback period of 3.7 years.

Since a baseline greenhouse gas inventory in 1996/1997, the council has reduced its total GHG emissions by 40 per cent, she said. In 2013/14, 49 per cent of council’s GHGs were due to electricity and gas use in council buildings, and 46 per cent due to street lights.

Part of the work has been collaboration with electricity network providers for energy efficient street lighting upgrades.

The most recent program is expected to avoid 22,000 tonnes of GHG emissions over the next 20 years while delivering $5.8 million in savings over the period with an eight-year payback period. At the same time the new lighting will provide better illumination in terms of colour and visibility, with lower glare.

“Greenhouse gas emissions will profoundly change the planet and climate within the next 20-30 years,” Ms Stevens said.

“Port Phillip Council has proven its commitment to tracking and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by changing the way Council uses energy to achieve ambitious targets, such as attaining and sustaining zero net emissions by 2020.

  • Applications for the retrofit engineer position close this week, for further details see here.