Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


    New initiatives in environmental community education

    18/10/2000 10:04 AM

    All Western Australians should ‘make their mark’ for energy efficiency and the environment.

    Energy and Education Minister Colin Barnett made the plea while launching two new community education projects promoting increased energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

    At an assembly and science activities morning at the Noranda Primary School, Mr Barnett congratulated the school for its initiative in installing a 3kW grid-connected solar (photovoltaic) power system.

    He said the system used the sun’s free energy to generate some of the school’s electricity and provided an excellent hands-on learning opportunity for children and parents alike.

    At the same time, Mr Barnett launched Home Energy Information Online - a new web site that provides unbiased information about all aspects of using energy more efficiently at home, including generating electricity using renewable energy.

    Mr Barnett said the site also provided many examples of simple actions everyone could take to reduce the cost and environmental impact of the energy used.

    “We all value the comfort and convenience that energy provides” Mr Barnett said

    “But the production and use of energy has an impact on the environment and contributes to greenhouse emissions, so any reduction in the amount we need to use helps the planet as well as the pocket”.

    Mr Barnett said a strong environmental focus throughout the Noranda Primary School community led to the school applying for funds to install the solar power system, both from the State Government and the Commonwealth Government through its Photovoltaic Rebate Program.

    He said the school was the first community group to receive these funds and the first primary school in Western Australia to install a grid-connected solar power system.

    “The system is expected to generate about 10 per cent of the school’s energy needs,” the Minister said.

    “Any electricity not needed by the school, particularly during school holidays, will be supplied to Western Power through the grid and credited to the school’s account.

    “In a departure from the usual approach of mounting solar panels onto the roof, Noranda Primary School has installed some of its solar panels on a Solar Shade Structure designed and manufactured by Australian company, Enviropower.

    “This bus shelter-like structure will provide some shade as well as position the solar panels for maximum sunlight.”

    Mr Barnett said Murdoch University and the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) were helping the school monitor the energy produced by the solar panels and develop curriculum materials to aid student learning.

    Activities held at the school today to celebrate these new initiatives during Education Week included Science Alive energy shows, an Appliance Sale role play game, solar cooking and electric bicycle demonstrations, and cricket clinics with the support of two Western Warriors team members.

    The launch of Noranda Primary School’s solar power system and Home Energy Information Online coincides with the adoption of a new approach to promoting energy efficiency.

    “Energy is not a tangible commodity like water so it is not enough just to ask people to conserve it,” Mr Barnett said.

    “Energy saving ideas will be offered under the banner of “Greenprint, make your mark”, so any time you hear this slogan, you know you are about to hear of some specific ways you can make your mark for the environment through energy efficiency.”

    Mr Barnett said an energy efficiency campaign, which consistently showed people how to reduce their energy use without compromising quality of life, was planned.

    He said actions ranged from simple every day ones to those that might need some extra up front spending for reduced energy costs over the life of any item.

    Web address for Home Energy Information Online:
    Home Energy Line telephone service: 1300 658 158

    Media contacts:
    Diana Callander - 9222 9699
    Shelley Liddelow - 9420 5672 - Office of Energy