Energy Freedom project
In 2014 Earth CERC started our Energy Freedom project at Murundaka Cohousing Community. Our goals were to:
1. Reduce energy use across all properties,
2. Reduce the cost of our energy bills and,
3. Switch to 100% renewable energy.
Our first step was analysis. We worked with CEHL and energy experts ‘Energy For The People’ to analyse how we were using energy. We reduced costs by having our own members do data collection and project management – we are lucky to have skills in these areas!
Our analysis showed that we should install an Energy Management System and change our lights to LEDs. We’ve started this and also just installed a 17kW ‘grid connected’ solar panel system. These upgrades have resulted in:
1. We use 25% less energy,
2. Our bills are about 50% less,
3. We produce 100% of our electricity needs with solar panels.
When finished, our Energy Management System will also give us the ability to use electricity when it’s cheap.
We pulled together money to buy our new equipment with a Solar Festival Fundraiser held at Murundaka and micro-loans that will be paid back over the next 5 years.
In the future we will remove all our gas cooking and hot-water boilers and replace those with electric so we can be fossil fuel free. We’re also exploring share-owned electric vehicles and battery power storage. We’re keen to share what we’ve learnt with other co-ops so stay tuned for upcoming events and info.