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Case Study - Narooma Library

Background

In 2013, Council began a sustainability project to target energy use in 50 community buildings.

The process involved generating an energy report and doing some simple 'on the spot' retrofits. The report highlighted potential works that Council could do to reduce operational costs further.

The project aims to reduce CO2 by 365 tonnes and water use by 3,395 kL per year.

Narooma Library is one of the buildings included in the project. It has:

  • Operating hours: five and a half days per week
  • Building area: 1,487m2
  • Weekly site visitors: 1023

Actions

There have been three major components to decreasing the library's energy use. We have:

  • carried out a major lighting upgrade in 2011/12, and installed 88 T5 tubes and 16 LED down lights
  • encouraged the library staff to change their behaviour relating to energy use
  • completed an energy audit and retrofit 2013/14 including:
    • upgrading lighting by replacing eleven 50 watt halogen down lights with 35 watt versions
    • upgrading lighting by replacing fourteen T8 fluorescent tubes with 2-foot fluorescent tubes
    • installing lagging insulation on hot water pipes and a valve cosy device on the hot water system. A valve cosy fits over an electric hot water valve to stop heat escaping, saving around $50 a year.
    • installing 11 flow restrictors on taps, cutting a typical flow rate of 16-21 litres per minute down to 2-5 litres per minute, which is adequate for hand-washing.

The Narooma Library staff have made an active effort every day to turn lights off and keep air conditioning to a minimum. This has helped reduce energy use, and the Library staff are pleased with the result, Library Manager Diane Lihou says that 'all my efforts [to minimise air conditioning and lighting in unused areas] have been rewarded.'

Personal behaviours combined with technology can make a real difference to energy use. This example highlights some actions taken by staff that have directly reduced the running costs of the building.

valve narooma youth cafe

Photo left: This 'Valve cosy' installed on the Library's hot water system saves about $50 per year.

Photo right: Air-conditioning in Youth Cafe.

Outcomes

Narooma Library's energy use has been steadily decreasing since 2010. This is the result of a number of energy upgrades over this period.

This reduced energy use provides significant savings in operating costs and in the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere:

  • In 2010/2011 the building used 43,113kWh. 
  • Today, the library is using 29,696 kWh a year, which is a 13,000kWh difference from 2010/11.
  • If the library was using the same energy today as it was in 2010/11, it would cost an extra $3,700 a year based on today's energy costs. 

The total upgrades, including all parts and labour, cost around $2,250. The simple payback from energy savings is less than two years.

Where to next?

We are currently installing a 10kW solar array that is expected to save an extra $3,500 a year in energy costs.

For more information please contact our Environmental Officer on 02 4474 1000