Australia invests millions in green projects

Workers at an Australian environmental centre will be slipping their shrimps on a biogas barbecue thanks to multi-million dollar government investment in showcase green projects.

The Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) in Melbourne will get $1.15 million (£565,000) for energy saving technologies, the government has announced.

Environment minister, Peter Garrett, said: “With more than 450,000 people visiting the Centre each year, these exciting new additions will showcase the latest in energy efficiency and renewable energy technology.

“They will also get people thinking about the changes they can make around their own homes.”

CERES is one of two projects in the state of Victoria to share in $2.5 million (£1.2 m) of funding from the government’s Green Precincts Fund, it revealed last Tuesday (July 14).

The funding will allow the community environmental park to put in place its Zero Emission by 2012 project.

This includes the installation of wind turbines, solar panels, a solar thermal energy generator, electric-vehicle charging stations and even a biogas barbecue.

New water conservation features such as rainwater harvesting and an on-site water treatment will allow water reuse on centre gardens, together these should save around 620,000 litres a year.

The Green Precincts Fund is billed as an initiative to prepare the country for a future with less water and to encourage communities to manage water and energy use better.

Climate change and water minister, senator Penny Wong, said: “As we work to tackle the effects of climate change and drought in Australia, projects such as this will be increasingly important to demonstrate the value of retrofitting existing buildings to save water.”

Meanwhile, nearby Manningham City Council gets $1.5 million (£737,000) for its Doncaster Hill Green Civic Precinct project.

The money will go towards developing a sustainability education hub and installing energy efficiency technology in a new state-of-the-art multi-purpose community centre in which it will be housed.

Plans include a wind turbine, solar panels, a solar thermal system and co-generation plant to use the heat produced in power generation.

Water saving devices should save around eight million litres of water a year, according to the government.

Mr Garrett said the project “will be a great demonstration project for both the people of Manningham and the wider community.”

Together the two projects are expected to save some 2,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – equal to taking 743 cars off the road.

More Green Precincts Fund recipients will be announced in coming weeks.

David Gibbs

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