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School library a shining example of Community Fund benefits

Published: 23 Aug 2016 2:27pm

The library at Mundubbera State School has been turned into a sustainable learning space, as just one of last year’s recipients of a grant from Ergon Energy’s Community Fund.

The $5000 grant enabled the school to retrofit efficient lighting devices, including motion and lighting sensing technology, priority lighting circuits, and use natural airflow to keep the library cool without using air-conditioning.

The school was among 12 not-for-profit community groups across regional Queensland to share about $50,000 in total for projects that promote energy efficiency or electrical safety.

And now we are looking for the next round of grant applicants with a change to the criteria making more community projects eligible for funding this year.

Any project that delivers a lasting benefit to the community will be eligible for a grant between $200 and $5000 with $50,000 in total to be shared.

We want regional and rural Queensland not-for-profit groups to develop innovative ideas that benefit them and inspire their local community.

Examples of the sort of projects that could attract funding include those that:

  • Reduce energy consumption, particularly at peak times, possibly by upgrading equipment to more energy efficient models.
  • Use or promote renewable energy alternatives (solar, wind, hydro and biomass).
  • Keep the community safe around electricity, potentially by a wiring safety check, upgrading the switchboard or installing new electrical wiring.
  • Educate and empower people to make informed energy choices and help them manage cost of living pressures.
  • Prepare the community for storm season, for example by preparing storm kits, upgrading first aid equipment or installing a generator with a change-over switch.
  • Provide some kind of lasting community benefit, such as educating children about sustainable gardening, providing emergency equipment or facility upgrades.
  • Help grow regional Queensland or create a more sustainable community.

Twelve community groups from Cairns to Mt Colliery near the NSW border received funding for a diverse range of projects through the Community Fund last year.

Grants were awarded to schools and kindergartens, sporting groups, religious and charity organisations, girl guides, a CWA and a show society.

Most projects have not only improved facilities for members of the groups that successfully applied for grants, but also many other local residents in those areas benefit directly or indirectly.

Meanwhile, the students of Mundubbera State School are enjoying their revamped library and the school is also saving money.

Replacing the old lights with energy efficient lighting, introducing protocols for automatic light switch off and encouraging students to turn off lights will ensure this building uses less electricity.

The school library previously cost the school about 90c an hour for power. By retrofitting the library with LED bulbs and installing motion sensors and lighting sensors, the school will save about $400 a year.

This project built on the many innovative ways the school had already adopted to be more sustainable.

The school separates its waste and keeps all food waste onsite to feed worms and chickens. It recycles cans, plastic bottles, paper and cartridges and has installed seven 5000 gallon tanks to capture rain water.

Importantly, the school encourages students to take the sustaining mindset home to their families where they can continue to make a positive change.

By putting more efficient lights in a building that all students use, the school expects to start a new conversation about decreasing its carbon footprint.

There will be a standing display in the library that measures the daily, weekly and monthly use of power in the library.

Students also have access to the school’s solar net site so they can see the overall benefit from improved efficiencies and usage protocols.

If your community group has an equally worthwhile project that requires funding, then submit an application before 5pm on Monday, September 12.

For more details or to obtain an application form, visit the Ergon Energy website at ergon.com.au/communityfund.

Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072

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