The Big Solar Switch campaign aims to be Australia’s largest switch to solar power. The campaign will unlock the massive potential of not-for-profit and community organisations by helping them to go solar.
This initiative has been developed by MEFL and Community Buying Group exclusively for Australia’s 55,000 registered charities and 600,000 community organisations. It uses the strength of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost and barriers of installing solar PV systems. The package includes a ‘best value’ guarantee which includes negotiated rates for the sector, extended warranties, expert advice and links to funding.
Santa manages to deliver presents all over the world and his only carbon footprint is a little bit of reindeer flatulence. However in most homes Christmas creates a lot more waste and landfill than any other time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
MEFL’s Program Co-ordinator Jason Cox has put together a few tips for a Christmas that has maximum happiness and minimum waste.
If you live in Moreland you have everything you need at your fingertips from food to presents. You’ll reduce your travel and your stress levels. See the Moreland City Council website for info on local shopping areas.
I’ve been volunteering at MEFL since March, working on Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution program, helping with admin and community events. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the tasks that I do fit into a bigger picture and are valuable to MEFL’s business strategy.
MEFL is a great place, full of down-to-earth people who enjoy having a laugh but are super-passionate about their jobs.
Community groups in the City of Moreland are saving money and carbon emissions through an innovative solar pilot program.
As part of the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy, Positive Charge has been working with Moreland City Council to pilot an innovative funding mechanism that enables community groups who rent their premises from Council to install solar panels.
Currently households with solar panels receive a flat rate of only 5c per kilowatt-hour for electricity they feed in to the grid. The Victorian Essential Services Commission is currently reviewing the feed-in tariff system. The Commission has proposed that feed-in tariffs should reflect the broader economic, environmental and social benefits of solar.
Under the proposed new system, feed-in tariffs would no longer be a fixed flat rate but would vary depending on the time of day (i.e. peak, shoulder, and off-peak periods). Tariffs would include a Critical Peak Payment and a payment for Avoided Greenhouse Gas Emissions. These changes could add up to a doubling of the feed-in tariff from next year, perhaps even more. Whether or not the proposed new tariff system is adopted next year will be a political decision.
Thanks to all those who came to our stall on Sunday – we had a fabulous day (as did Sunny the Solar Bear).
Actions and barriers
We put up a poster with lots of energy-saving actions and invited visitors to put a star on the ones they plan to do. It was great to see so many people signing up to take action to help Moreland get on track for its fair share of the carbon budget (see the poster below).
MEFL played a key role in the delivery of Merri Community Health Services CEEP grant through being their technical advisors throughout the project. The CEEP grant (Community Energy Efficiency Program, delivered by the federal Department of Primary Industries) facilitated the installation of a new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system, new ducting and new lighting infrastructure.
The project was delivered in conjunction with some building envelope modifications, and overall resulted in a dramatic improvement in the energy efficiency to the site (almost 30% reduction in energy consumption) in addition to improved comfort for staff and patients. The overall figures show a $5,878 reduction in energy costs, with a 16,219 kWh/year in energy savings for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and 14,080 kWh/year in savings on lighting.
We liaised between all of the stakeholders including architects, installers and MCHS staff to ensure that the energy efficiency and occupant amenity delivered through the project was as high as possible. MEFL also delivered a range of engagements to improve awareness and understanding of the impacts of the upgrade and sustainability in general, through workshops, briefing sessions and documentation such as pamphlets and website content.
To state the obvious: Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef is a beautiful place to spend the weekend. At the end of May, MEFL CEO Paul Murfitt participated in ‘Camp Earth Hour’; a workshop on Heron Island which brought together community representatives from around Australia to build on the “Lights Out for the Reef” campaign from earlier this year.
The workshop was the next stage in the rollout of a new look Earth Hour which will involve year-round community action on climate change. MEFL is one of the community groups working with Earth Hour to (re)build climate change as a major political issue, through community action and alliance building.
Climate change is already making hot days hotter and heatwaves longer and more frequent. Heatwaves pose a risk to the health of everyone, especially the elderly and chronically ill, and increase the demand for health care services. Arecent analysis of the vulnerability of urban populations to extreme heat events found that most of Moreland and particularly Coburg, Coburg North, Hadfield and Glenroy have extremely high vulnerability to heat-related illness and morbidity. This largely reflects the presence of urban heat island effects, higher numbers of older residents, people with disabilities and migrant communities as well as increasing urban density.
MEFL has been active on this issue before, partnering with Merri Community Health Services in 2011 to conduct research and provide free retrofits and advice to vulnerable housholds.