Lieder Theatre, Goulburn

The Lieder Theatre have always been aware of their environmental footprint and recycled costumes, props and scenery for productions but after Sustaining Our Towns’ visit discovered their bills could be reduced by 49%. Here’s their story:

Interview with Chrisjohn Hancock

Q: Number of Employees? We are a volunteer community organisation, engaging arts workers on a project basic when funds are available. An Artistic Director is contracted throughout the year.

Q: Describe your business in 1 sentence? The Lieder Theatre Company is the longest running theatre in Australia presenting up to 5 mainstage community shows a year and nurturing and training a thriving Youth Theatre Company.

Q: What kind of measures does your business take currently to be more sustainable? We have always recycled costumes, props and scenery for productions. All the power in the building is turned off at the end of every day.

Q: Sustaining Our Towns recently did an Energy Assessment there, what were the results? The main areas looked at were how to reduce our power bill by replacing our lights, other than stage lights, with low energy LED lights, upgrading two old refrigerators to new energy efficient models and replacing current electric hot water system with a more enery-efficient system

Q: Were there any surprises? Yes because by making a few small changes we are saving 49% of our total annual electricity costs

Q: Has the SOT visit changed your business or staff’s view on sustainability in the workplace? It continues to confirm our commitment to improving our sustainability which will help us become a role model in the community.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add? This Energy Efficient Assessment is the first stage of an exciting partnership created with The Goulburn Group and we thank Sustaining Our Towns for highlighting the importance of sustainability in our community.

Sharon Meere with her new energy efficient fridge at the Town Clock Coffee Shop

Town Clock Coffee Shop, Boorowa

The Town Clock Coffee Shop are already seeing real results from their recent energy efficiency changes in their small business in Boorowa.

Interview with Sharon Meere

Q: Number of Employees? It’s a family run-business of 5 people.

Q: Describe your business in 1 sentence? A coffee shop with friendly staff and a great selection on the menu with lots of gluten free options.

Q: What kind of measures does your business take currently to be more sustainable? Absolutely none! It never occurred to me that we could until Mark Fleming from Sustaining Our Towns came in.

Q: Sustaining Our Towns recently did an Energy Assessment there, what were the results? On the recommendations of the assessment we bought a new fridge and freezer, because they’re bigger we can switch off all 3 of the fridges. We now have an energy-efficient milk fridge and on our last bill we’d already saved $200. It was great, I was really impressed.

Q: Were there any surprises? I was surprised at how much power my old fridge was chewing up AND how much it would cost to buy a new fridge and freezer. It was a lot of money to find, but refrigeration was a major part of my electricity bill. If that comes down, I have to be ahead. I am already seeing the results

Q: Has the Sustaining Our Towns’ visit changed your business or staff’s view on sustainability in the workplace? Yes, it has changed our views and now we are looking to save power whenever we can.

Q: Would you recommend it to other businesses? I would certainly recommend the Business Energy Assessments with Sustaining Our Towns to other businesses.

Bombala IGA, Bombala

Bombala IGA recently had an Energy Assessment with Sustaining Our Towns and highly recommend the assessment particularly to older businesses with older equipment.

Interview with Owners Andrew & Kelly

Q: Number of Employees? 4 full-time & 5 juniors.

Q: Describe your business in 1 sentence? We are a locally-owned small supermarket.

Q: What kind of measures was your business doing to be more sustainable? We were separating all our cardboard out and recycling.

Q: Sustaining Our Towns recently did an Energy Assessment there, what were the results? One of the main outcomes was to recommend changing our freezer unit and how beneficial that change would be for our business in terms of how much energy and money we would be saving. (Currently the business’s energy expenditure is about $26,702 per year with refrigeration burning up 67% of the energy).

Q: Were there any surprises? We were surprised that 1 efficient freezer could save $5000 per year on our electricity bill and that intalling a low-cost strip curtain in the coolroom and freezer could save us almost $300 per year on our bill. We weren’t surprised that the fridge and freezers were the largest consumers in our shop as they run 24/7 so it wasn’t a surprise to us. If we re-did the lighting we were surprised at the amount of money we could be saving.

Q: Has the Sustaining Our Towns’ visit changed your business or staff’s view on sustainability in the workplace? There are a couple of things we remind the staff of now – keeping the cool room and fridge doors closed whilst they fill the trolleys as well as turning off power switches and heaters when not in those areas.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add? From our point of view it was great, we could see benefits coming out of the report, the process worked really well. It was very helpful to see the short-term costs and long-term benefits broken down. We did change the freezer straight up as a result of the report.  There’s lots we would still like to do. We’d like to upgrade our refrigeration – dairy and meats – in the future when we have the capital.

Q: Would you recommend it to other businesses? Absolutely – particularly older businesses with older equipment. We carry a lot of old machinery and refrigeration. It’s interesting to see what the cost is versus what it will save you.

The Oaks Ranch and Country Club

Mossy Point

Oaks Ranch Managers Karen McLellan and Andrew Duggan

When The Oaks Ranch at Mossy Point had an Energy Assessment recently with Sustaining Our Towns, they discovered that our advice and support was beneficial for their guests as well as their business.

Interview with Manager Karen McLellan

Q: Number of Employees? 3 full time, 2 part-time and casual staff for functions.

Q: Describe your business in 1 sentence? Bed and Breakfast accommodation, golf and horseriding on a 300 acre ranch just minutes from the ocean.

Q: What kind of measures does your business take currently to be more sustainable? We have been here for just over a year and have made simple but important sustainability changes including implementing recycling (there was none before), turning off switches, fixing some water leaks and installing energy efficient light bulbs.

Q: Sustaining Our Towns recently did an Energy Assessment there, what were the results? The assessment helped us to prioritise what needs to be done in the short-term, medium term and long-term as well as recommending changes which hadn’t even crossed our minds. Sustaining Our Towns’ support has also helped us to raise awareness with our guests about our sustainability initiatives and what they can do to preserve our beautiful natural pristine environment. Sustaining Our Towns’ Business Program Officer Mark Fleming helped write a letter for our Guest Compendium which is something we wouldn’t have had time for normally but helps to educate our guests further.

Q: Were there any surprises? We were surprised at what a big difference it made to make small changes – such as installing a strip curtain in our coolroom door could assist with large energy savings. The report also recommended changing our hot dryer over to a gas-heated model which has the potential of making massive savings.

Q: Has SOT’s visit changed your business or staff’s view on sustainability in the workplace? It’s made everyone aware of the different aspects of what we do. To be able to show your guests how to respect the environment as well as enjoying it and reflecting on what they’re doing is just wonderful. Our guests experience nature all around them at the ranch and can now see how all of our behaviour impacts on nature – so it all links up.

Mariner Park Lodge Tura Beach

When Tura Beach’s Mariner Park Lodge had an Energy Assessment recently with Sustaining Our Towns, they were surprised to find they could be saving $40,000 on their annual electricity bill.

Interview with Rosemary Oates (Aged Care Business Manager)

Q: Number of Employees? 65.

Q: Describe your business in 1 sentence? We provide care & support for 66 older residents who have varying degrees of dependency.

Q: What kind of measures does your business take currently to be more sustainable? We switch off lights where possible and we recycle. Our independent units are solar-powered and have small rainwater tanks. We contract out our heavy laundry – which has reduced our water & chemical usage significantly. We also try to conserve energy in particular with air-conditioning.

Q: Sustaining Our Towns recently did an Energy Assessment there, what were the results? The assessment showed that we weren’t energy sustainable and had no control of heat and shading. We knew there were problems but the report showed us how to move forward and how we can do things better.

Q: Were there any surprises? We were surprised at the magnitude of how much energy and money we could save. Our currently electricity costs are over $135,423 per  year (723.7 tonnes of CO2) and this report shows us how we can save over $42,000 per annum. Sustaining Our Towns’ advice was invaluable & showed us how easily we could make a change. Their key recommendations were replacing the hot water system in the laundry; converting the boiler hot water system to gas and installing more energy efficient reverse cycle air-conditioning.

Q: Has SOT’s visit changed your business or staff’s view on sustainability in the workplace? Yes! It’s really changed our staff’s view on sustainability –they are all enthused by the process and looking at what they can do already on a daily basis. If everyone does their little bit it can have a big impact on the environment and the future.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add? Sustaining Our Towns’ visit was a wonderful exercise in allowing us to get to the important areas and see what can be achieved. It’s not just trendy, it’s very practical and has helped us to look at what we’re doing in our business and how we can do it better.

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