Hi Everyone,

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.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ZNetUralla

Sandra Eady
Z-NET Uralla Convenor

Hi Everyone,

Time for an update for all our great supporters. Life for Z-NET Uralla has been pretty busy!

Some highlights from the last few months:

The Z-NET Uralla Home Energy Review Team have now completed nearly 30 free home energy reviews, helping people identify what the next steps are to improving the thermal performance of their homes and reducing energy use. Trish Rasmussen () is leading this effort and now has four great Z-NET volunteers to help her. This is a great community activity and if you would like to volunteer some time you would be very welcome, as demand continues for these reviews. In fact you might like one for your own home!

One thing that has come from the Home Energy Reviews, is the many innovative solutions people have for window coverings and draft proofing. So we are going to showcase these at some DIY workshops, the first one being the planned for Saturday 8 October 2016.

We had 100 -150 people visit five Uralla homes as part of the SLA Armidale Sustainable House Tour in July. It was great to see people so generously open up their homes and share ideas on how to stay warm and cosy in winter and generate renewable energy (even to the point of going off-grid!).

The Z-NET Uralla Case Study Homes have been yielding a wealth of information on thermal comfort and how much energy is being expended to keep homes warm over the last two winter months. Peter Low and our partners from ICT International have been busy installing and taking readings from temperature sensors, wood box weighing and gas bottle weighing sensors, plus energy meters. This gives a really comprehensive picture of how well homes of various construction and levels of insulation are performing. Many thanks to our wonderful Case Study Home owners who are generously providing their houses for data collection. Keep an eye on our website for the results once they are analysed over the next few months.

At the request of Stephanie McCaffrey from council, Peter Low has also been out and about with his thermal imaging camera; many Council employees would have recently seen him doing the rounds of most of the Council buildings, sleuthing out the cold spots, drafts and heat leaks that need attention.

We have also started our work with local businesses with Teased &Tangled being the first, with an energy use assessment, some draft stopping installations, and ideas to reduce winter heat loss from Ella’s hairdressing salon. If you are a local business who would like to participate please get in touch with Steve () and there are a couple of spots still available for a free workshop (two half days on 13 and 29 Sept at UNE) on how to integrate solar and batteries in your business. These are filling fast so contact Steve pronto if you are interested.

Community events coming up:

  • a free workshop, in conjunction with Office for Environment and Heritage, on the potential of battery storage for businesses (two half days 13 and 29 Sept; contact );
  • the long awaited information session for those who are swapping over from the Gross Feed-In Tariff (keep an eye on our web and Facebook pages for the date! Pre-register with Steve at );
  • curtain and draft proofing workshop on 8 October for beginners and the more experienced with expert advice on choice of curtains, construction and design, contact Trish ().

Our website is currently getting a revamp and we are searching for local photos of solar panels, the town street scape, rural landscapes with trees, fire wood, and warm cosy fires. If you have some good photos and are happy to share them with us, please shoot through high resolution images to Teresa French ().

And last of all – a really big thank you to Jim Sinclair for giving us a home in the old Bank of NSW since March. Jim has now found some great new tenants (who can afford to pay rent!) so we have moved out. We are yet to find another home but you can keep in touch though our website and Facebook page, and we now have a phone number – 0411 804 627

Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Sandra Eady
Z-NET Uralla Convenor

Hi Everyone,

The weeks have flown since our public meeting in early March when we formally set up Z-NET Uralla! You can read about who makes up our Executive Committee here.

Some great progress has been made. We have been welcomed under the umbrella of the Uralla Neighbourhood Centre. Thanks to the Board and Staff at the Neighbourhood Centre, in particular Catherine Gallaher and Jo Fletcher, for their guidance and advice.

And due to the generosity of Jim Sinclair, we have set up home in the old Bank of NSW (next to Michael’s Café). The Z-NET Uralla office will be open every Friday from 10am to 4pm, so please call in and say “Hi”.

Adam Marshall announced funding support from the Office of Environment and Heritage so we have resources now to start rolling out some great programs.

Keep checking our website (www.zneturalla.org.au) for upcoming information about free home energy assessments, solar bulk buy projects, DIY ceiling insulation workshops, and initiatives to help our businesses to both save energy and generate renewable energy.

Don’t hold back – put your hand up for programs that you would like to join, and let your friends know. You can register your interest here.

We are also really pleased to introduce the Z-NET Uralla Coordinator, Steve Griffith, who will work with Z-NET over the next seven months to help roll out activities for our community. Steve comes with a strong background of building vibrant community organisations, being a past Executive Director of Sport UNE and running the Healthy Highlanders program in Guyra.

Steve will be in the Z-NET Uralla office every Friday (10am to 4pm) as our community resource, so if you have a question about solar feed-in tariffs, how to reduce your power bill, or how to track down sustainably harvested firewood, call in and have a chat. If you would like to make an appointment just email Steve on

Z-NET Uralla has been busy listening to local businesses over the last few weeks to find out how we can best support them to become more energy efficient and generate renewable energy. Just last week we lodged a grant proposal for support to help meet some of their needs. We will keep you posted on the outcome, but regardless, we now have a good idea of how to deploy our resources in the best way to support local businesses.

Likewise, we want to hear from you about your home and what you would like to improve to stay warmer, save electricity and harness renewable energy. Fill in the form here and return it to the Z-NET Uralla Office, Uralla Council Office, or email to . We will use this information to guide us in setting up programs that best fit your needs.

We had a great day in the Alma Park for Youth Week with lots of kids generating energy on the Z-NET bike to charge their mobile phones. Next we will be at Kingstown for the Lazy Sunday Cycle on 1 May. We still need some volunteers for the Z-NET Uralla stand, so please come and join us for a half day at a great community event.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Sandra Eady
Z-NET Uralla Convenor

  • Phone Number: 0411 804 627

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