Katoomba North Public School (KNPS) is the first school to join the Blue Mountains - Low Carbon Living program, committing to reducing its carbon footprint. Whilst constrains of the public school system make localised change challenging, the KNPS community are determined to make a change. KNPS’s Principal, Cathy Clark, has embarked on a sustainability plan involving the whole school community. Encouraging environmental awareness, providing ongoing educational opportunities, and encouraging community contributions towards developing a wholehearted sustainable living mindset and practices, are key.
Recycling, composting, and reusable cutlery, crockery, mugs and glasses are part of the school’s daily schedule, services, and events including canteen, breakfast club, sporting and community events. The school participates annually in Earth Hour and solar panels reduce energy costs. Students are discouraged from including packaged foods in their lunchboxes and encouraged to refill drink bottles.
For KNPS principal Cathy Clark “It would be fabulous if our school produced zero general waste and our waste management consisted of recycle bins in the classrooms and compost bins for food scraps”.
Local owner of the award winning Rooster Restaurant and Jamison Guesthouse, Ross Delaney has made significant renovations to the heritage-listed building to ensure energy efficiency without compromising the 1890s Edwardian architecture or structure. Double-glazing, time regulated central heating, waste management, LED lighting and energy efficient globes he been installed since joining the LCL Program 2 years ago.
With the roof too steep for solar panels Low Carbon Living - Blue Mountains director John Merson advised Ross switch to a renewable energy provider. After researching the following link, https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/reducing-your-carbon-footprint/articles/green-electricity-review#Table Ross has switched to Powershop – the Melbourne-based Australian retail arm of New Zealand public company, Meridian Energy.
Meridian Energy is Australasia’s largest 100% renewable generator with two massive wind farms in Victoria and South Australia, generating an accumulative 580 GWh of renewable energy annually – enough for 116,000 households and businesses. It is also supported by the National GreenPower program.
Katoomba’s Bendigo Bank is the first Upper Blue Mountains bank to invest in solar panels. The bank is making a conscious effort to reduce its carbon footprint, commit to helping the environment and set an example for other businesses.
“Renewable energy isn’t just an environmental statement, it’s economically smart,” proclaims a billboard mounted on the pavement outside its branch.
Katoomba’s iconic Carrington Hotel has undergone a number of upgrades to reduce its environmental impact. The installation of a co-generation plant has greatly improved energy efficiency, by using waste heat from electricity generation for heating purposes. This offers an estimated 15% reduction in carbon emissions compared to using grid-based electricity.
Lillianfels impressive efforts to reduce energy use include lighting upgrades, changes to cooling and heating controls, and the implementation of a sophisticated energy recovery system. These measures have contributed to a 25% decline in electricity use per customer since 2010. The carbon savings from this drop in energy use equate to over 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year – a 20% saving compared to what emissions would otherwise have been.
Wild Valley Art Park features an impressive range of sustainability features. All electricity is obtained from solar panels, and all water is sourced from rainwater tanks or the on-site dam. Due to this self-sufficiency, Wild Valley’s carbon footprint is estimated to be less than one tenth of what it would be if energy and water were sourced from the NSW electricity grid and water supply.
Silvermere Guest House have reduced their potable water usage by around 40% by implementing a number of innovative water saving initiatives. These include recycling roof and bath water, filtering stormwater through ponds, and minimising garden watering using mulch and grass cuttings. The reduction in water usage has in turn resulted in a significant decline in Silvermere’s carbon dioxide emissions.