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Powerful changes reap real rewards

Business Management

rethink sustainability

In our changing climate, what do energy efficiency and sustainability mean for Australian apple and pear businesses and what are the opportunities to be had from the core of our business thinking and goal setting?

Australian apple and pear growers are undoubtedly already skilled at efficiently using land to maximise productivity and are well-positioned to continue growing good quality fruit for generations to come. However, with increasing costs of energy and limited access to natural resources such as water, it’s important to look beyond productivity per hectare at more effective and efficient ways of managing all our business inputs, to ensure future food production and job security are sustainable into the future.

Melbourne-based business consultancy ReThink Sustainability will examine some key sustainability ideas and opportunities for industry at the inaugural Future Business workshop in October, and look at how you can harness them for your business. With a passion for adapting, innovating and advancing technology in a sustainable world, former weatherman Rob Gell and colleague Justin McFarlane created the organisation two years ago recognising an opportunity to assist Australian businesses cut through the complexity of myriad interlinked opportunities to achieve economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

The key topics to be discussed during the workshop are: energy efficiency, water management and understanding risk.

Generating energy savings

The cost of energy is always high on the agenda of business owners with many growing, packing and cool storage businesses currently looking at renewable energy opportunities, such as installing solar panels to save money. But it’s confusing to know where to start, who to trust and whether you’ll receive a return on investment.

A great example of how the guys at ReThink Sustainability have assisted a food production business is with the family-owned Milawa Cheese Company in Victoria.

“It was important for us to understand exactly how the changes have impacted energy usage so we installed electricity monitoring devices from CarbonTracker to the site before and after the Milawa energy equipment overhaul,” Justin said.

ReThink Sustainability assisted in securing a $250,000 loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation through a private finance company Verdia. “The energy savings gained at Milawa Cheese Company could have repaid their $250,000 loan over three years but they opted to repay it over 10 years freeing up the cash flow for other purposes,” Justin said.

Production: 100 tonnes of handmade cheese annually

Leading Edge Energy, a ReThink Sustainability affiliate, provided the initial audit for Milawa Cheese Company. They specialise in commercial energy cost reductions and offer energy brokerage, consumption management, monitoring and storage solutions to commercial energy customers.

  • Installation of 100kWh solar system.
  • Replace 110 old lights with LED lights, this immediately reduced energy costs by 10-12 per cent.
  • Cool room refrigeration systems were fitted with variable speed drives, saving 18-40 per cent energy over a 12-month period.
  • Skylights were installed.
  • Replaced old boiler with a new, energy efficient one to run the pasteuriser.

Leading Edge Energy, a ReThink Sustainability affiliate, provided the initial audit for Milawa Cheese Company. They specialise in commercial energy cost reductions and offer energy brokerage, consumption management, monitoring and storage solutions to commercial energy customers.

“Of all the energy assessments they’ve conducted, there’s only been one business who Leading Edge Energy have not been able to find a better price for,” Justin said.

Apple and pear growing and production businesses, even those who have recently installed solar panels, can use their free, no obligation energy assessment service to see whether any savings can be made.

Future Business workshop

Register now if you’d like to be part of the Powerful changes secure cost savings workshop. Participants will learn practical ways to take control of their business’ energy usage and cost while optimising the systems they’re currently using.

Thursday, 14 November

7.45am-11:00am

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Lindsay Hassett Room

Cost: APAL member: $55 | Non-member $88

Special offer: Save $30 if you book for both the Grower R&D Update (Wednesday, 13) and the Future Business workshop.

Book Now

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