A VITAL building which exists only because of the generosity of the Kangaroo Valley community is now in line for a major improvement in energy efficiency – but once again needs the support of the public.
The Kangaroo Valley Community Centre and Ambulance Station will also become a model for similar projects throughout the Valley, the Shoalhaven and other NSW Ambulance stations.
The project will see a 3kW or larger solar system and LED lighting technology installed to improve the building’s energy efficiency.
As the building will celebrate 10 years in 2014, the project is timely.
It will be the first venture managed by community group Repower Shoalhaven – an initiative launched in May this year to advance renewable energy use in the area.
“This is a bit of a pilot project,” said Repower president Chris Cooper.
“Something we could do next year is a community solar drive and find community groups that provide essential services to the Shoalhaven.”
The project also has the support of the Kangaroo Valley Lions Club, which will manage the finances as well as some administration.
The community is being asked to sponsor a panel, in much the same way pavers were sponsored to raise the money to build originally.
At $400 each, the cost covers the panel itself, the hardware, circuitry, monitoring system and metering costs.
More than 12 and the group will be able to install a larger system.
LED lights can be sponsored for $50.
Mike Gorman, a member of Repower and the Kangaroo Valley community, will install the systems as a donation.
In 2000, Kangaroo Valley looked to be in danger of losing its ambulance officer, as the station was unsuitable.
Lions club members proposed the joint community centre and ambulance station and on May 22, 2004 the complex was opened.
Valley architect David Cox designed the facility.
“The brief … was both ambitious and unique at the time,” he said.
“For the first time an ambulance station was to include broader community health facilities. It was ambitious in the sense that it was to be provided by the community for the community.”
Although many environmentally friendly initiatives were included, solar panels were less efficient and more expensive than now.
LED lighting technology was relatively unheard of.
“My hope is that over time the building continues to adapt as new technology enables new ways to … increase the efficiency of the building,” Mr Cox said.
Anyone who would like to sponsor a panel or light, or who would like more information can phone Cathy and Mike Gorman on 4465 1540, or see www.repowershoalhaven.net.au