Climate Change & Energy Efficiency
COUNCIL CONTINUES PROGRESS ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Town Hall energy efficiency project
A key project in Council’s effort to reduce energy consumption is a retrofit of the Town Hall in Oatlands. The Town Hall was built in the 1880s when energy efficiency was not a consideration. High ceilings, large windows and numerous drafts means there was plenty to work with. The energy efficiency upgrade was part funded through the Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) and is now complete.
The following video highlights the specific measures undertaken and achievements under the CEEP project:
Specific actions at the Town Hall that have helped improve energy efficiency are:
- Rebuilding public access foyers for draft proofing;
- Installation of poly-glass false ceilings where appropriate to improve heating efficiency;
- Fitting of Perspex units internally to office windows to reduce heat;
- Draft proofing of fireplaces;
- Upgrades to the energy efficiency of heaters;
- Installation of ceiling insulation and sarking where appropriate; and
- Installation of sensor-operated lighting in toilets and kitchen.
Spreading the message
There is potential for wider adoption of the techniques used in the energy efficiency upgrade to the Town Hall, particularly due to the large local, regional and statewide representation of colonial sandstone and heritage buildings. Hence, the Centre for Heritage at Oatlands is using the retrofitted Town Hall as a case study in a course entitled Energy Efficiency and Comfort in Heritage Buildings. The course is pitched at builders, energy efficiency professionals and anyone interested in upgrading their own home to improve comfort and to reduce outlay on energy costs.
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Many long-term residents of the Midlands have anecdotes to share about how the climate of the region has changed. Many of the anecdotes are related to seasons becoming unpredictable and droughts becoming more severe. Long-term weather data does show that rainfall in the region has been declining and that temperatures have risen since 1950 at a rate of about 0.1 °C per decade.
In terms of the future, Tasmania is fortunate to have the highest resolution climate modeling conducted in Australia. The recently completed Climate Futures Tasmania project provides a sound knowledge base for profiling Tasmania's climate out to 2100 at a resolution that can inform risk management decisions at a local level. In a nutshell, by 2100, the Midlands is likely to experience extended heat waves, more extreme temperatures, rainfall in heavier events interspersed with longer dry periods, and more frequent flooding.
The future climate profile prepared by Climate Futures Tasmania for the Midlands, including implications for agriculture, is provided in the linked document Midlands Climate Profile . A summary climate profile is provided in the linked document Summary of Midlands Climate Profile (56 kb)
Southern Midlands Council's climate change response is occurring in two primary fields 'mitigation' and 'adaptation'. Council's climate change Adaptation Plan will be completed in March 2012. The Adaptation Plan is being built on a 'risk management' framework and will propose prioritised adaptation actions for each of council's business areas.
Council's approach to climate change mitigation is covered in its Climate Change Action Plan. This Action Plan covers council's contribution to wider the broader community effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2009 council has conducted a number of programs across the whole community to assist residents in reducing their energy consumption and to prepare for predicted warmer, drier conditions in the future. These programs have included: community purchase of photovoltaic panels; information and assistance in acquiring solar hot water systems; resources for reducing household energy consumption; and promotion to farmers of effective ways to cope with a drying environment. Council is also auditing its own fuel and energy consumption and is now implementing a program to reduce its energy usage.
GET INVOLVED - LOTS OF SMALL ACTIONS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Personal and community action to address the threat of climate change can often seem frustratingly slow given the urgency of the threat. Slowness or reluctance to take personal action on climate change can be for a number of reasons including:
- Being unsure of the facts on climate change. There is often not a clear and consistent channel of information from scientists to the community. Facts can often be lost in translation through the media cycle or conflicting political agendas.
- Complacency - a sense that the problem is elsewhere or some time in the future and that others will solve the problem anyway.
- Fear of change - the scale of the problem and its potential local effects can be overwhelming. This can lead to a sense of denial that there is a problem.
- Powerlessness - feeling that personal actions are unimportant, insignificant or will make no difference.
Part of Southern Midlands Council's approach to climate change is to address the barriers people may have to taking action by providing information through community meetings, supporting residents in energy efficiency projects, and offering incentives to begin the process of change.
Despite these initiatives, how do we track how we are progressing as a community and how do we engage more people in taking action? The 'One Person Can' project can help. By logging on to the web site and taking the 'One Person Can' survey we can get a better picture of how many people across the Southern Midlands, across the State or across the country are getting involved in a broad range of actions, small and large, to tackle climate change.
The 'One Person Can' project highlights that individual actions, no matter how small, can amount to something collectively significant and importantly foster a sense that you are not acting in isolation.
COUNCIL'S CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION PLAN
Council's Climate Change Action Plan - Currently being updated.
COMMUNITY ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT
Southern Midlands Council received a grant from the State Government's 'Climate Connect' Program in March 2011. The project has now been completed and a full project report of all the community initiatives will be posted in early August.
HOME ENERGY AUDIT TOOLKIT
Council has a Home Energy Audit Toolkit that may be hired for free from Council. The Toolkit provides you with the tools and user friendly information that can help you save money on your power bills by reducing your home's energy use. The 'PowerMate' tool that comes with the kit can be used in conjunction with any electrical appliance in your home to track its energy consumption and usage costs. Contact Graham Green if you wish to hire the Toolkit - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 6254 5048.
PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR FARMERS
IMPROVING SOIL HEALTH AND INCREASING SOIL MOISTURE IN A DRYING ENVIRONMENT
Southern Midlands Council has been involved in assisting farmers with regeneratorative agricultural techniques, specifically pasture cropping, and has successfully hosted trials of pasture cropping techniques with farmers in the area.
Pasture Cropping is an innovative land management technique where cropping and grazing are combined into a single technique with each enterprise enhancing the other economically and environmentally. Pasture Cropping has been successfully adopted in parts of Australia since 1992. The technique is gaining increasing political support and was recently featured on 'Landline'. Click on the link below to access a report that covers pasture cropping and other techniques to improve soil health.
CLIMATE INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE MIDLANDS
CLIMATE CHANGE INFORMATION FOR MIDLANDS RESIDENTS
An important aspect of Council's climate strategy is to inform the community about the implications of climate change for the region and to offer ways in which the community may cope and adapt to the changes that are likely. Council's climate change information package may be accessed through the link below.
CLIMATE CHANGE THE BIGGER PICTURE
In terms of the bigger picture, the following report, written by Peter Boyer, provides background to the science of climate change, broader impacts, economic implications and everyday solutions. Click the link to access the report.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONTACT
To organise a personal consultation in regard to climate change or renewable energy options, please contact
03 6254 5048
0422 936 027