Climate Change, Energy, Waste and Water
The effect of human-induced global climate change has in recent years emerged as having increasing impacts upon biodiversity, human health and natural resources. It has become paramount for the developed world to act as leaders in the global community to implement sustainable practices, mitigation actions and adaptation strategies to address impacts from a changing climate.
Clean Green Energy Vehicle Fleet Policy
In keeping with the philosophy of working towards a “green” fleet of vehicles, plant and equipment that produces less carbon emissions, in 2008 Council adopted a fleet purchasing policy that considers the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide best practices for a safer, cleaner environment. The fleet purchasing policy incorporates the progressive conversion of Council’s passenger vehicle fleet; considers the implications of conversion of other vehicles, plant and equipment; and promotes an analysis of the net financial and carbon emission impacts. Council will also investigate the practicalities of a collaborative regional approach throughout the South Coast Councils to adopt a group philosophy in purchasing fleet vehicles of a green clean nature.
Shire of Denmark's Green Fleet
In keeping with this policy, the Shire purchased two Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles in July 2015 to replace older fleet vehicles. The vehicles are usually charged at the Shire’s Administration Building, which operates predominately from a 32.5 kW solar panel array. The vehicles can be ‘plugged-in’ or ‘filled-up’, meaning they can be powered by charging the electric motor or run off conventional fuels. They have a regular fuel consumption of just 1.9L/100 km and a full charge takes about 5 hours using an AV 240 V supply. Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe emissions) are also expected to be approximately 40% less than a conventional fueled vehicle. In an effort to help increase the number of electric and hybrid vehicles located in or visiting the South Coast, the Shire of Denmark is offering commuters with electric and hybrid vehicles free use of the new charging station, located at the Shire’s Administration building. The Shire’s new electric vehicle charging point at the Shire Administration building is also now available to commuters to use free-of-charge.
Commuter Car Park
The Shire of Denmark provides a commuter car park to support sustainable car travel outside of the area. Promoting car pooling for people that have to travel to Albany for work or other purposes is a major reason for this facility. Car pooling reduces commuting costs, fatigue and your carbon energy footprint. The average Australian car produces 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year so every journey saved makes a real difference to greenhouse emissions. With increased pressure for parking spaces in town, the commuter car park provides a well located area for car pooling drivers to leave their car when they travel outside of the area. The commuter car park will also free up town car parks for businesses and facilities for locals and tourists alike. The commuter car park is located on South Coast Highway between the Shire Office and Denmark Country Club tennis courts.
The new commuter car park provides a central location for car pooling with colleagues and assists in avoiding numerous pickups and drop offs. Add to this the environmental and financial savings associated with car pooling it makes good sense to utilise this new facility developed by the Shire of Denmark.
In Australia, transport is the fastest growing sector contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and enormous amounts of resources, land and capital are bound up with cars. Therefore, car pooling will help to reduce the costs associated with car travel, which represents one of the biggest monthly expenditures for average families. Car pooling also provides the opportunity for a good chin-wag with a fellow traveller!
Total costs for a standard medium sized vehicle are approximately 70 cents per kilometre. So a return trip to Albany, when car payments and other costs are added, can be in the vicinity of $63 per journey. Most drivers only take into consideration fuel costs that would average at an estimated $15 per journey for a similar sized vehicle.
The Councillors and staff of the Shire of Denmark are actively supporting sustainability initiatives within the local area and this new Commuter Car Park facility takes the Shire in a new direction that is providing transport options for the local and regional community. The Shire encourages businesses in the region to support workers who live in Denmark to car pool, as this will help reduce their need for employee parking and improve their employee’s well-being and performance.
Can’t find a lift? Try the free ‘Share Your Ride’ website.
Energy Consumption and Costs – Performance of the Shire’s Assets
The Shire of Denmark subscribes to Planet Footprint’s environmental scorekeeper service, which works with the Shire and utility providers to collect and report the energy and water performance data for the Shire’s assets. The subscription allows the Shire to proactively manage its energy and water consumption and costs to make quick decisions, identify basic performance problems and opportunities to improve performance. Although not mandated by legislation, the aim is to expand the reporting to include greenhouse gas emissions and setting of targets.
Annual energy performance data (from 2012-2013) can be found in the Shire's Annual reports at http://www.denmark.wa.gov.au/documents/?categoryId=40.
The Shire of Denmark’s Administration Building Has Gone Solar
Energy efficiency measures and a significant upgrade to the existing solar panel at the Shire of Denmark administration building has dramatically reduced the annual operating costs and added to Denmark’s long term sustainability. With costs associated with energy significantly rising and predicted to consistently rise into the future, the motivation was to save money via the new renewable and energy efficiency measures whilst also reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint to address climate change at a local level.
In December 2012, Great Southern Solar, a local Denmark business, was awarded a contract to expand the existing solar panel array from 6 to 32.5 Kilowatts. The intended outcome from this expansion was to remove the administration building’s dependence on the regional electricity grid through generating 117 Kilowatt hours of energy per day through the solar system. It is also intended to provide a backup for the computer servers in the building via the battery energy storage system.
Implementing recommendations from an energy audit undertaken for the administration building also meaningfully added to carbon and energy efficiency benefits from the solar panel expansion. There are significant energy and financial savings that can be realised through identifying and acting upon simple, immediately achievable actions. The old adage of getting at ‘the low hanging fruit’ first and foremost gives great results. Acting upon the low hanging fruit can realise, on average, an easily achievable 10- 20% energy efficiency gain for most organisations and homes, with minimal financial investment.
Simple energy efficiency improvement measures implemented within the administration building have included replacing old lighting with LED technology as a part of ongoing maintenance, and increasing roof cavity insulation to improve thermal performance of the building with minimal investment. Another key measure was to set the cooling temperature of the air conditioning to 23 degrees that will significantly reduce energy requirements over summer.
Questions Frequently Asked About the Administration Building’s Solar PV Panels
How many new solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were added to the Administration building?
What is the total number of panels now at the Administration building?
140 (30 were installed in 2009).
How much power is generated by the new integrated system?
32.5 kW in bright sunshine (upgraded from 6kW)
What is the estimated savings in electricity charges?
Approximately $13,500 per year (this figure will increase as electricity charges per unit increase).
What is the cost of a Panel upgrade?
How long did the actual construction of the expanded solar PV take?
How effective is a solar system in terms of value for money?
The return on the investment is equivalent to 15% interest, which means that there is return on capital investment of 100% over 6 years for the Administration building upgrade.
What are the benefits of installing a solar PV energy system?
Reduced costs of running the Shire Administration building, reduced carbon footprint, limiting the impact of future electricity price rises and access cheaper grid power.
How does a solar PV system work / operate?
Sunlight hitting the panels is converted into electricity which is in turn converted into 240 volt AC by a bank of inverters ready for use by the Shire.
Why did the Shire of Denmark choose to expand its Solar PV system?
It was a good financial investment and demonstrated the Shire’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Are solar systems effective during winter?
Yes, the system will produce about half of the summer peak in winter. This is due to the premium technology solar panels that have been used in the system.
What is the projected output of energy from the new solar PV system?
Allowing for Denmark weather patterns, the average energy output is predicted to be 117 units/day.
Will the system produce more power than the Shire uses?
The system will produce excess power on the weekends due to lower consumption by the building when vacant. This power is fed back to the Western Power network.
Why does the solar power output vary so much?
The power output is dependent upon level of sunlight intensity, ambient temperature and even high level cloud. The average output takes all this variation into account.
Is the system producing as much as expected?
The system has been operating since December 2012 and produces an average of 112 units/day. This is very close to the output expected.
Switch the Future energy saving tips
Sustainability in the home resources
Australian Government guide to building, buying or renovating environmentally sustainable homes
Climate change in Australia
The health impacts of climate change
ICLEI Water Campaign
The Shire of Denmark is a member of the WA Water CampaignTM provided by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Oceania. This performance-based milestone program provides a framework aimed to motivate local government to work toward the sustainable management of our water resources.
Rainwater Tanks and Greywater Re-use Systems Policy
In February 2010, Council adopted a Town Planning Scheme Policy Number 40: Rainwater Tanks and Greywater Re-use Systems. The Shire of Denmark developed this policy to encourage landowners, developers and builders to incorporate rainwater tanks and greywater re-use systems within residential areas. This will achieve a number of environmental benefits including:
- Reduced risk of water restrictions in the future;
- Increased local awareness of water scarcity and usage;
- Promoting the responsible use of water supplies and reducing the demand on the Water Corporation supply network;
- Encouraging waterwise developments through recycling of greywater and other initiatives; and,
- Promoting an overall increased level of sustainability within residential areas.
Water Consumption and Costs - Performance of the Shire's Assets
Annual water performance data (from 2012-2013) can be found in the Shire's Annual Reports at http://www.denmark.wa.gov.au/documents/?CategoryId=40 .
Water Corporation-endorsed Residential Greywater Ready Plumbing Guidelines
WASTE AND RECYCLING
Recycling – make your efforts count!
Are you recycling correctly?
Let’s recycle better and decrease our recycling contamination rate by:
Reusing plastic bags and putting recyclables in your bin loose. Don’t put plastic bags in your recycling bin or bag your recyclables before placing in the bin.
Cardboard, cartons and pizza boxes can be recycled, but put waxed cardboard in your domestic waste bin and make sure pizza boxes are not soiled with food.
Removing lids from aerosol cans and glass and plastic containers before recycling. Lids should be placed in your domestic waste bin.
Rinsing dirty recyclables.
Garden waste should be composted or put in your domestic waste bin – not in your recycling.
Battery and Light Bulb Recycling
Help keep batteries and light bulbs OUT of landfill and OUT of your kerbside recycling bin.
As landfill, they can leach toxic heavy metals into soil and water and lithium batteries can become dangerous if damaged or over-heated. Batteries and light bulbs in your recycling bin can contaminate your other recyclables.
Most of the materials which make up batteries and light bulbs can be recycled into other products. Old batteries can become new batteries and light bulbs can be broken down to make insulation and mercury.
The Shire of Denmark offers residents FREE drop-off locations for batteries and light bulbs at the Shire Administration building and the McIntosh Road Transfer Station. So, bring in your household batteries and light bulbs next time you stop by.
If you need further information on household recycling, contact the Shire on phone 9848 0300.
Click here for the Shire’s waste and recycling program and available services.
Responsible Cafes is an initiative of the award-winning not-for-profit group Responsible Runners, and is one of Australia’s most innovative, popular and fastest-growing programs actively engaging cafes to improve sustainability. The free program equips cafes with a model for incentivising reuse by encouraging cafes to offer a discount to customers with a reusable takeaway cup. In this way, participating cafes promote responsible decisions and publicise their commitment to sustainability. Over 150 cafes, councils and universities are currently participating, with the hope to grow the movement towards reuse even further.
Over 1 billion disposable takeaway coffee cups are used every year in Australia, many of which are poorly recyclable and rarely compostable. A great majority of disposable cups and lids end up in landfill or as litter, and can take decades to break down in the environment, contributing to land and marine pollution. Reusable cups are the most sustainable option.
How it Works
- Participating Cafes offer a discount (usually 20-50¢) or other incentive to customers with a reusable takeaway cup, promoting responsible decisions and sustainable practises.
- Participating Cafes will receive attractive vintage-style posters customised for Denmark to display in their premises. The poster includes a space for you to fill in the appropriate discount. Participating Cafes are encouraged to also promote their participation through their own media, such as websites and Facebook page.
- The Shire of Denmark has helped fund the set-up fee for the posters as part of our commitment to promoting sustainability. There is no additional cost for business owners and if you already offer an incentive to customers you are still welcome to join us.
- The Shire of Denmark and Responsible Runners will also help promote the program through various forms of print and digital media, including the Shire’s website and Facebook page and Responsible Café’s interactive map on their website.
Support Denmark’s Responsible Cafes - A list of participating cafes will be updated as required and can be found here .
Do you own or run a café or coffee van and would like to participate? Registration forms can be found here .
More information can be found on the Responsible Cafes website (see link below) or by contacting the Shire’s Sustainability Service on ph. 08 9848 0313.
Plastic Bag Recycling
The Shire of Denmark offers collection points for the recycling of soft plastics like plastic bags, bread bags and biscuit packaging, which are not yet able to be collected as part of the Shire’s kerbside recycling. The bags are collected and used in the manufacture of plastic products, like outdoor furniture, as part of the nation-wide REDcycle Program.
The Shire joined the REDcycle program to offer residents the opportunity to gather together their soft plastic packaging and take them to collection points located at the Shire’s Administration office and Recreation Centre. Similar REDcycle plastic bag collection points are already located at more than 630 supermarkets around Australia. The collected plastics are then sent by the Shire to the RED Group’s facility for initial processing, then delivered to Australian manufacturer Replas, where it is used as the resource to manufacture new recycled plastic products such as sturdy outdoor furniture used in schools, parks and public spaces. One of these table settings can be found at the Shire’s Boat Harbour Reserve.
Australians throw away about 7,150 plastic bags per minute, and this figure doesn’t include the large number of pasta bags, frozen vegetable bags and sachets consumers bring home from the supermarket every time they shop. Given most of these soft plastics cannot be collected by many Councils as part of kerbside recycling, they typically end up in landfill.
Since the launch of the REDcycle Program in 2011, RED Group has collected more than 200 million pieces of plastic that now will never end up in landfill, on our beaches or in our waterways.
Plastic bags are collected from collection points throughout Australia. Collection points are now located at the Shire’s Administration office and Recreation Centre.
Plastic bags are processed by the RED Group.
Replas turns the processed plastic into usable products, thus diverting waste from landfill. Production of this park bench requires the equivalent of 12,500 plastic bags and pieces of soft plastic packaging.
Recycling Near You
Plastic Free July