Delivering a healthy working Basin for Australia: Melbourne, Victoria
Program: Green Precincts Fund
Funding recipient: Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) Community Environment Park
Water for the Future funding: $1,150,011
Project commencement: October 2009
Project completion: December 2011
An environmental park in the heart of Melbourne is aiming to show the local community it’s possible to live with less water and energy.
The Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) in Brunswick has received $1,150,011 from the Australian Government’s Green Precincts Fund to raise awareness about energy and water efficiency while engaging the community.
The money will be used to address water conservation, water management issues and demonstrate new ways of not only saving energy but producing energy from renewable sources.
CERES vegetable garden
CERES’ team leader, Noel Blencowe, said the bulk of the funding has gone towards upgrading some of the Park’s community buildings.
“The new Community Centre was built from scratch and is state-of-the-art in terms of water and energy efficiency, using double glazing and insulation,” Noel said.
“We are aiming to be carbon neutral by 2012. We want to collect as much water and energy on site and then use it as efficiently as possible.” He said the buildings are getting widespread use, with the community centre often booked out.
“People love it because it uses as little energy as possible, while still offering an array of first class facilities,” Noel said.
“The on-site restaurant is also ‘greener’ than many restaurants in Melbourne. It has organic food which is cooked in the most environmental way.”
All up, there are 24 different projects; six water projects, 14 energy projects and four relating to education and behavioural change.
The water projects include water collection, water savings, greywater treatment, tank to toilets and tank to garden systems. While the energy projects will see the installation of a four kilowatt wind turbine, photovoltaic solar panels, a solar thermal energy generator, an electric vehicle charging station, and biogas barbeques.
Noel said with 350,000 people visiting the park each year, the practical initiatives allow them to gain a better understanding of how to make these changes in their own lives.
“They get to see the energy and water efficiency measures in action. They see the wind generator and the electric vehicle driving around which means they’re exposed to those things straight away,” he said.
“The Aquaponics project, where manure from the fish tank is pumped onto a vegetable bed shows people it’s possible to grow food in a confined space, which is perfect in a city area.”
Noel said there has been a lot of interest from the government and private sector in the work that is being done at the environmental park. Adding new energy and water displays to the park is fundamental in helping business cope with a ‘green’ future.
“We took one of the electric vehicles to our local mechanic and he said he wouldn’t touch it because it’s got 240V in it!” Noel said.
“That immediately started discussions about what vehicles are going to look like in the future and whether mechanics might need new skills to be able to service them.”
“It’s about kick-starting people into new ways of thinking and building business opportunities around them.”
CERES garden (G. Roberts)
CERES aquaponics system (J. Tan)