After four years in the making, Tumut Shire Council’s Riverina Highlands Building Energy Efficiency Project (RHBEEP) officially opens today. The success of the project was demonstrated by the attendance of a team from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), including the CEO, Mr Oliver Yates, the Federal Member for Riverina, Mr Michael McCormack, the State Member for Wagga Wagga, Mr Daryl Maguire, the Tumut Mayor, Mrs Trina Thomson as well as all staff and contractors involved with the project.
Preliminary works commenced on the $1.18 million heating and cooling upgrade of the Council’s Riverina Highlands Building in early 2012. While the complete project included insulation, lighting upgrades, metering optimisation, solar PV and power factoring, the largest component was the air conditioning upgrade. This involved installing a geoexchange system to replace the existing air cooled central plant that was installed during building construction in the late 1970s.
The preliminary feasibility and concept design, as well as the design and documentation of the geoexchange system was conducted by GeoExchange Australia. In total, 35 boreholes were installed to a depth of 92 m beneath the rear car park and 26 WaterFurnace 7 Series Ground Source Heat Pumps were installed to provide individual zone control.
The success of the project has seen Tumut Shire Council win a series of Local Government awards and resulted in energy savings of 66% and cost savings of over $215 000 per annum. The peak electrical load of the Building at the height of summer is now 75 % less than before works, with up to 40% of this attributable to the geoexchange system.
Comfort levels in the building have also increased.
“People have been astounded at the consistency of the building, you can walk from one room to the other and the temperature stays the same,” Environmental and GIS Officer of Tumut Shire Council and communications officer for the project, Joanne Spicer said.
“It is such an improvement from the previous working conditions which were close to unbearable and all at a significantly cheaper cost.”
“The largest portion of energy that was being consumed by the building was from the heating that was going on inside the building, which was ridiculously high especially when outside temperatures were either especially hot or cold and the use of geothermal energy has eliminated this excessive use and therefore made a clear difference,” Ms Spicer said.
Acknowledged for its environmental innovation, in September 2013 RHBEEP was a finalist in the Local Government Sustainability category of the Local Office of Environment and Heritage Green Globe Awards and early this month was named a finalist in the Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW LG Awards held on April 10, 2014.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Tumut Shire Council for welcoming GeoExchange Australia onto the project and congratulate them for their great work in seeing this project become a reality and success.
Main photo: The team behind the upgrade of the Riverina Highlands Building; Tumut Shire Council environmental officer Jo Spicer, Emma Spinks from CDE energy, Director of GeoExchange Australia Yale Carden and TCS building and development officer Garry Mayes (Source: Tumut & Adelong Times)