The sun may well be powering four of Shoalhaven City Council’s largest buildings in upcoming years.
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On Tuesday at a council meeting, all councillors voted in favour of Mayor Amanda Findley’s recommendation to report on financials of potential renewable energy projects in the Shoalhaven.
Council, through general manager Russ Pigg, will investigate the economic feasibility of installing solar panels to power Shoalhaven Regional Arts Centre, Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Nowra Library and council’s administration building in Nowra.
Mr Pigg will report on how a funding model could provide for the solar projects with minimal disruption to council’s long-term financial plan and report how Darebin City Council’s Solar Savers scheme could be applied in the Shoalhaven.
“We just need a circuit breaker to be able to get on with these projects,” Cr Findley said.
“I am forever hopeful Mr Dunshea (council’s finance director) can find a way around it (financial hurdles) so we can drive down costs and do things in a better way.”
Cr John Wells said solarisation of buildings would continue council’s strong track record on sustainability and referred to the SEC’s innovative design.
“When mayor (Greg) Watson chaired the project control group for that building, an extraordinary amount of time was put into the design of that building and it is quite a unique and groundbreaking building in Australia,” Cr Wells said.
“Buildings traditionally have a concrete exoskeleton, we fill them with insulation and lighting to keep the inside cool. The SEC is built the other way around. It was insulation in reverse. Theory is, if you keep the concrete cool, you can save energy. Architects calculated the design of the building alone is saving 64 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. I’m really pleased to see us solarising and achieving even more savings for the city.”
Cr Andrew Guile hit back at critics who said council had dropped the ball on climate change for scrapping the Sustainable Futures Committee.
“We’ve heard council’s taken backward steps in terms of sustainability and climate change,” he said.
“It couldn't be further from the truth. This motion, which looks like getting broad support, is testament to the fact each one of us is committed to sustainability.”
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