Update from our pilot site – Uniting Church Camping, Halls Gap

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 | No Comments
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Update from our pilot site –  Uniting Church Camping, Halls Gap

Our Victorian Leader, Michael Hwang (pictured above, far right, with some of the team from Uniting Church Camping),  recently had the opportunity to revisit one of our NEEN pilot sites, Uniting Church Camping in Halls Gap Victoria. Uniting Church Camping (UCC) provides group accommodation and programs to schools, churches and community groups, hosting  over 20,000 people annually in Victoria. They have been working with us since February 2014, and made real progress towards become more energy efficient.  Michael shares some of this progress below:

It was great to see how the energy efficiency journey had progressed at UCC since I last caught up with them in early 2014, especially in relation to lighting. One of the recommendations from the initial audit was to evaluate the onsite lighting, and since early July 2014 they have upgraded approximately 95% of their lights on their sites of Camp Acacia, Wonderland and Norval. Their goal over time is to replace 100% of their lights with an energy efficient option.

Uniting Church Camping, Halls Gap

Nine hundred and forty two light fittings later, UCC  have reduced their lighting footprint by an impressive 73% and saved over $13,000+ on future electricity bills annually. They have also had additional savings through reduced maintenance costs for the replacements of light fittings. As a real time comparison, the lighting upgrade has potentially resulted in them reducing their overall total energy footprint by over 23% annually, while still delivering a similar level of camping and recreation services.

In the upgrade, UCC replaced incandescent light globes with energy efficiency compact fluorescent lamps, two and four foot fluorescent tubes (18 watts & 36 watts) with an LED equivalent and oyster lamps with an LED equivalent. In time, as part of their ongoing maintenance program, old lighting technology in the security, emergency and exit areas will also replaced with the most energy efficient option.

Wonderland, Halls Gap

Wonderland, Uniting Church Camping

David Tapscott, the Site Manager at UCC, is very satisfied with what has been achieved by the lighting upgrade. He said, “Our local electrician also put the LED’s through their paces and gave them the thumbs up, and so we went ahead with the changeover which was quite smooth given the quantity of lights being replaced”. He went on to say, “We are really happy with the lighting quality, it has made a real difference in making work areas brighter and produced a whiter light. As a youth and recreation site we have a lot of physical activities with the kids, in the past you were always having to replace broken light fittings as they kicked a footy or played cricket but the worst that may now occur, is that they may fall out – no breakage!  The other plus point is the reduced maintenance - previously we annually cleaned and replaced failed light fittings each year, not any more…. I believe they are rated for about 30,000 hours based on our current use, this equates to 25 years before they need to be replaced”.

Another efficient practice that UCC have implemented relates to the way they use their freezers. To ensure quality control around food standards, they are required to monitor the temperature of their freezers regularly.  Previously they reported daily on operating temperatures of all of their freezers by opening the lids to manually read the temperature. Now they have a digital thermometer with the monitor on the outside, minimising the volume loss of the cold air every time it is opened. An additional bonus  - this external thermometer makes the record keeping simpler and more efficient, highlighting variances in temperatures that could mean there are potential issues with the equipment.

I know there is still more work for UCC to do, and they continue to look at the use of Solar for Hot Water Systems, Solar PV generation and educational resources for visitors to the site, however I am so impressed with what they have achieved so far. I look forward to following their progress throughout 2015.

For more information about Uniting Church Camping see their NEEN Case Study.


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