All the best for the New Year. Some Z-NET highlights from the last few months:
The Z-NET Uralla Home Energy Review Team have started to follow up with homes that have undertaken a review. The feedback is positive – all of the homes contacted so far have taken some positive action to improve either their building fabric or a behaviour to help save energy and make their homes more comfortable. The main barriers to taking action have been the time it takes to investigate different options and lining up trade people to help where needed. Z-NET Uralla has been using the feedback from the Reviews to design community activities – and the focus at the moment is getting cold and leaky windows sorted with draft-proofing strips and good curtains. In fact good curtains are really useful keeping out summer heat too!
So keep a look out for the next curtain making workshops in March/April 2017 – we have had two very successful ones so far. Z-NET Uralla is donating the thermal insulating fabric so that makes the job much less expensive.
In November and December, Z-NET Uralla partnered with OEH to deliver two great workshops. One was on the end of the Gross Feed-in Tariff for solar panels and was attended by over 70 locals, with the Uralla Central School hosting the event and catering for the big crowd. The workshop covered the major issues to be considered – changing from gross to net metering to be able to use your own power during the day, ways to concentrate power use during the day, the role of batteries and the importance of energy efficiency to get total demand down in the first place.
The second workshop was a specialised event on refrigeration for our businesses who have a high energy demand. Twelve local businesses attended and the workshop covered industry trends in refrigeration, how to optimise your system for high performance, and what to consider when installing new equipment. Michael Bellsedt, the engineer who delivered the workshop, was able to visit a number of Uralla sites to look specifically at individual systems and offer advice. Z-NET Uralla is looking at how this support can be extended as business make important decision on refrigeration upgrades.
And lastly we had the launch of “Destination Uralla” at a joint RAB and Z-NET Uralla breakfast at the Bowling Club. In this project (funded by Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner) Z-NET Uralla is working with a broad range of businesses to improve energy efficiency through targeted interventions, investigate the options for renewable energy generation, establish sustainability metrics, and promote and build the business precinct as a Z-NET tourism destination. There has been a great response from businesses with many already undertaking their energy monitoring phase – Teased & Tangled, Alternate Root, White Rose, the Woolroom, Thunder Graphics, New England Brewing Co, and others….
In the coming year we are going to focus on home energy efficiency projects with students at Uralla Central School, as part of their STEM project-based learning. We will also continue exploring ways the community can invest in renewable energy projects.
Many of our residents and businesses are taking up the renewable energy goal by opting in to the bulk buy for solar panels and hot water being run by Farming the Sun.
And last of all – a really big thank you to Uralla Shire Council and the occupants of the Community Centre, where we have now set up a new Z-NET Office at 9 Hill Street, phone number – 0411 804 627, open Thursday and Friday.
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Z-NET Uralla Convenor