Inventory illustrates cuts in energy, emissions
Energy efficiency measures have saved Cairns Regional Council in the order of $260,000 in energy costs in the last financial year, according to a greenhouse gas inventory report tabled this week.
The report provides data on Council’s energy use and greenhouse emissions output and illustrates the significant savings that have occurred during the past five years.
Mayor Bob Manning said increased energy efficiency was the most effective way to combat rising electricity costs.
“If it wasn’t for an overall 4 per cent cut in electricity usage, our bill for the year would have been much greater,” Cr Manning said.
“We are needing to factor in rising costs to our budget and by finding new avenues to reduce consumption, we are managing to keep those increases to a minimum.
“Our next goal is to reduce energy consumption in both of our major administration buildings, as well as the Martyn Street depot and Smithfield pool.
“Upgraded lighting would more than half the current lighting energy consumption and result in considerable cost savings – in the vicinity of $100,000 a year or more.”
The retrofitting of energy-efficient lighting will utilise a $300,000 grant provided to Council through the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program.
The grant will be matched with dollar-for-dollar funding by Council, which was one of just 63 successful grant applicants from a total 298.
Cr Manning said Council was well on its way to achieving its long-term goal of a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020.
“This report shows us that Council’s emissions have reduced by 26 per cent since 2007-08,” Cr Manning said.
“Almost half of Council’s emissions are from electricity consumption and the plans that are in place to significantly reduce our electricity use will in turn save ratepayers money.”
In the 2011-12 financial year, Council facilities and operations produced 70,140 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This compares to 86,197 tonnes the previous financial year and 95,208 in 2007-08.
The 18 per cent reduction in emissions in the 2011-12 financial year was achieved through a combination of behavioural changes, improved technology and the abatement of methane at Portsmith landfill facility.
“We are not talking about quick-fixes; we are in the process of effecting real, long-term change in the way Council operates,” Cr Manning said.