More than 50 people came along to the national launch of the ‘Watts in Your Business’ energy saving walks in Ardmona, Victoria, to learn how to cut electricity costs in their packing sheds and orchards.
The national launch of the walks was hosted in the shed of local fruit grower, Rocky Varapodio, with special guests Senator Bridget McKenzie; Dr Sharman Stone MP; and Jenny Houlihan, Shepparton Mayor.
During her official launch of the event, Senator McKenzie noted the high cost of labour and electricity for fruit growers and how important it was to find solutions – like saving energy – to help make businesses more profitable.
The energy saving walks have since been run in all major fruit-growing regions across Australia. At each event Amanda Booth, Environmental Consultant with KMH Environmental, who undertook energy audits of 30 orchards and packing sheds across Australia, presented her findings.
“Through this program we were able to identify around 10 opportunities per site which would reduce electricity consumption. The average saving after implementing the ‘cost effective’ upgrades was 13 per cent,” Amanda said.
During each walk, participants were shown around the hosts’ packing sheds discussing options to save energy with the service providers present. A whole array of energy-saving options were presented from simple options like sealing air compressor leaks, to installing solar panels on irrigation shed roofs and connecting voltage power optimisation units to electricity supplies.
Amanda also encouraged all growers to discuss their tariffs with their electricity providers to try and get the best deal possible.
Amanda’s presentation, flyers and case studies with detailed information about how to save energy were distributed at the walks and are all available on the APAL website.
‘Watts in Your Business’ is managed by APAL, undertaken with Summerfruit Australia Limited and Cherry Growers Australia Inc., and funded under the Australian Government’s Energy Efficiency Information Grants program. KMH Environmental have completed the audits and are preparing the reports with the assistance of Michael Bellstedt and Ananth Arkal of Minus 40, and Sam Birrell of Netafim.