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Scouts Australia to install solar panels on every Scout Hall in Australia

Posted by admin on January 21st, 2011

After the success of the 100 Year Water Tank Project Scouts Australia has now requested the Federal Government fund them for the installation of solar panels  on every Scout Hall in Australia. If they get the funds for this project then they will become the first National Scout Organisation in the world to have Scout Halls and campsites that are self-sufficient in both water and energy.

They have a test website www.sunskool.com/school/1stbadenpowell.aspx at 1st Baden Powell Park Scout Group in Mt Eliza, Victoria, that shows all the details of collecting power consumption and carbon emission reduction data. This data is being collected via a website that has been established to monitor a similar project being undertaken in schools.

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First Steps to a Safe Climate

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2010

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 15:48

On Friday, 3rd of September the Victorian Parliament ratified a new Climate Change Act. At the heart of the Act is a target for Victoria to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2020 (on 2000 levels). Now we all know that the science tells us that stronger  targets than this are going to be necessary to limit climate change, and we’ll continue to campaign for scientific targets. However last Friday Victoria’s greenhouse target was to reduce the state’s emissions by 60% by 2050.

That was an unlegislated target of the ALP Government. Now we have a stronger, nearer term, legislated target which has been supported by all parties in Parliament. It is also an unconditional target, which means that regardless of what happens nationally with emissions trading, Victoria’s target stands. That’s a significant step in the right direction, and a sign that our parliament is beginning to reflect community consensus on the need for climate action in Victoria.

Congratulations to the ALP Government for introducing the Bill, and the Greens and Coalition for supporting it. We were particularly pleased that the Coalition supported the Bill given the federal Liberals and Nationals chaos on the issue. We now have both the ALP and the Coalition in Victoria holding much stronger policy positions than their Federal counterparts.

What’s more achieveing the 20% reductions target will require some significant policy effort. Left unchecked Victoria’s emissions are anticipated to climb to 130 million tonnes per year by 2020, but our 20% target requires that emissions are cut to 96 million tonnes annually by 2020. That’s a cut of 3.4 million tonnes every year for the next decade or 34 million tonnes annually by 2020.

The recently released Climate Change White Paper outlined a number of policies that would lead to some emissions reductions, (e.g. replacing one quarter of Hazelwood and doubling the state’s energy efficiency target), but not in the order of 3.4 million tonnes per year. So now we’ve got the legislative mandate for new climate policies to cut pollution.

As you may know, Environment Victoria has two big ideas that they think all political parties should adopt. First, replace the whole of Hazelwood power station could deliver emissions reductions of 14.5 million tonnes per year by the end of 2012. Second, retrofitting one million Victorian homes for energy and water efficiency could deliver another 2.7 million tonnes of annual abatement while protecting Victorian households against rising utility bills, water shortages and extreme weather.

The passage of the Climate Change Act shows that the Victorian Parliament can rise to the challenge of climate change, regardless of federal inaction. The state election is 12 weeks away. Let’s hope that the policies we need to achieve our new target are seized upon and delivered.

Source: Environment Victoria.

Reducing Emissions to Create 3.7 million Jobs

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2010

Monday, 20 September 2010 11:32

The Australian Conservation Foundation and ACTU have released a report called Creating Jobs – Cutting Pollution that concludes that Australia can create 3.7 million jobs across Australia by taking strong action now to reduce carbon emissions.

The report calls for a price on carbon, investment in renewable energy, in public transport and more efficient vehicle fleets, and a national energy efficiency strategy for both commercial and residential buildings.

Last month Melbourne-based research organisation Beyond Zero Emissions published a study showing Australia could, if we chose, make the switch to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 using existing solar, wind and biofuel technology.

These are just the latest in a flurry of studies showing that we can move to a low-carbon, clean tech future. All that is needed now is some political leadership.

Source: Eco Directory Blog.

New Green Roof Grows Up in Melbourne

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2010

hursday, 21 October 2010 10:05

Melbourne’s skyline is now a little greener with the completion of the world’s first fully functional, competition-designed, retrofitted green roof, located at 131 Queen Street. City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, officially opened the green roof on Thursday 15 July alongside members of Growing Up, an initiative of eight young business leaders taking part in the Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Group.

Taking inspiration from progressive cities such as Chicago, New York and London, and aiming to make Melbourne more sustainable, the Growing Up project was launched in March 2009 offering Melbourne CBD building owners an opportunity to win a free green roof, designed and retrofitted for their building. The building at 131 Queen Street and winning design by BNET Architecture best exemplified the environmental and amenity benefits, as declared by the chair of the judging panel and Victorian Government Architect, Geoffrey London.

Growing Up spokesperson Tiffany Crawford said the project has produced a best-practice example of how public and private organisations can partner with industry, business and research institutions to create innovative solutions to sustainability issues. “Green roofs are more than just a response to climate change though; they offer many and varied benefits including creating green relief in our urban landscape. We found that the chance to win a green roof was compelling for many building owners given their environmental, economic, social and aesthetic advantages including reduced heating and cooling costs.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle agreed that 131 Queen Street was an excellent example of government, private building owners and businesses working together for a more sustainable future. “We are proud to support the Growing Up Project and the unveiling of this green roof and also the owners Corporation, who are one of the leadership signatories to our 1200 buildings program, aimed at retrofitting commercial buildings in Melbourne.” the Lord mayor said.

“Roof tops make up 17 per cent of total land area in the city. This project will capture the imagination of Melburnians, proving that nature can coexist with the built environment. This green roof is a practical example of the benefits of environmental sustainability and gives the owners, tenants and visitors to 131 Queen Street a whole new space in which to meet.”

The General Manager Water Ways, Melbourne Water, Chris Chesterfield, was an early supporter of the Growing Up initiative. “A roof such as this one provides significant benefits, not least of which is capturing rainfall and reducing the pressure of stormwater run-off on our infrastructure. This is a key reason why we are keen to test its effectiveness in inner-city Melbourne,” Mr Chesterfield said.

Construction of the project has relied on funding from key partners including Melbourne Water, Sustainability Victoria, City of Melbourne, Australia Post and VicUrban. Industry partners quickly realised the benefits of the project and were instrumental to its success, volunteering substantial in-kind time and products to realise Growing Up’s vision, including Better Projects Pty Ltd, Green Roof Technologies, WeBlow, Debco, the Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria, and Polyseal.

The scale of the Growing Up project has been considerable, involving transporting soil by blowing it up 12 stories and planting over 1300 plants. Green roofs are a relatively new concept in Australia and so the green roof includes a dedicated research area to facilitate further research by scientists from Melbourne University about plant species and the technology most suitable for Melbourne’s unique climate.

Ken Hitchcock from Green Roof Technologies, a key project partner, believes green roofs provide more than the chance to combat climate change in our warming cities. “Green roofs offer attractive spaces for employees and residents to enjoy,” Mr hitchcock said. “I applaud the vision of Growing Up and the Committee for Melbourne for initiating and supporting the green roof movement and was thrilled to be a part of this ground breaking project which had brought different components of the industry together.”

Winners of the design competition, BNET Architecture, aimed to showcase the environmental, social and economic benefits of green roofs through the creation of an oasis within the city. “We wanted to create an area for the building occupants that is both connected to and protected from its surrounds. The design revolves around a central landscape hill, bound by edges of seating and planting, and inhabitants are surrounded by greenery along a continuous experience of the roof. Traditional garden structures, such as a folly, gazebo and terracing create diversity along the journey,” said architect. Merran Porjazoski.

Growing Up are urging Victoria’s government, corporate, education and community sectors to follow its lead and help transform Melbourne into Australia’s first green roof city. Ms Crawford explained that “The growing up project was always about more than one green roof – it is about asking Melbourne to rethink the use of its roof-tops. We are so proud to have worked with our sponsors, project partners and the owners at 131 Queen Street to deliver this unique and beautiful space for the building occupants. It is our hope that Melbourne will now be inspired to take oin our challenge and literally “grow up”.

Source: Green Roofs.

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