More Solar Energy On The Cards For Victoria’s Whitehorse City Council 

Whitehorse City Council - solar energy

Whitehorse City Council is implementing a $2 million energy performance contract (EPC) across eight of its sites in an effort to improve energy efficiency.

The Whitehorse City Council local government area is a major commercial and residential municipality situated around 15 km from Melbourne’s CBD. The area is home to more than 168,000 people and among its suburbs are Surrey Hills, Box Hill and Nunawading.

The EPC upgrades, which may include installation of solar panels, LED lighting upgrades or upgrades to heating and cooling equipment, are to occur at the following centres.

  • Aqualink Box Hill
  • Sportlink
  • Box Hill Town Hall
  • Box Hill Community Arts Centre
  • Eley Park Community Centre
  • Whitehorse Civic Centre
  • Whitehorse Operations Centre
  • Whitehorse Recycling and Waste Centre.

The project will enable council to save an estimated $277,966 on electricity costs annually and result in emissions reduction of 1,343 tonnes  each year.

“The energy efficiency measures in this EPC will have an overall financial payback period of less than 7 years, after which Council would maintain the benefit of ongoing operational cost savings due mainly to lower energy consumption,” said Whitehorse Mayor, Councillor Sharon Ellis.

According to Council, energy performance contracts are increasingly being utilised in government and the private sector to achieve fixed price guaranteed outcomes, with the savings verified using an internationally approved measurement and verification protocol.

Council’s Carbon Neutral Target

In March last year, Whitehorse City Council committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2022.

Some of its efforts towards emissions reductions to date include the installation of solar power systems on 32 of its buildings with a collective capacity of more than 230kW. Council has also switched over more than 8,000 street lights to LED technology since 2013, which has reduced street light electricity use by around 64% and slashed related emissions by over 5,386.5 tonnes per year.

Council also has a number of electric vehicles in its fleet. Recently added was a fully electric Renault Kangoo van that will be used for cleaning services throughout the municipality.

Council’s current mains electricity supply contract involves only non-renewable energy and expires on June 30 next year. In July this year, Council voted to join  the Victorian Greenhouse Alliance’s Local Government Power Purchase Agreement (LGPPA) joint tender seeking a supply contract for renewable energy. Up to 67% of Council’s current total electricity consumption could be supplied under such an agreement for a period of up to 10 years.

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