Town camp energy efficiency project has broader impact on residents

The installation of energy efficient measures in 61 Alice Springs Town Camp homes has had broader social and economic impacts than just saving energy.

The results are highlighted in a new Alice Solar City report released today, as the project prepares to finish on 30 June 2013.

Employment opportunities and improved health have been an added benefit of the partnership between Tangentyere Council and Alice Solar City.

Alice Solar City contributed $760,000 towards the $2.4M energy efficiency upgrade program at the Town Camps, which included the installation of low energy lighting, canvas curtains, insulation, door seals, timer controls for solar hot water systems and stoves, and the installation of evaporative air-conditioners and radiant heaters with timers.

“The project saw the installation of targeted measures to make the homes warmer in winter, cooler in summer and cheaper to run”, says Alice Solar City General Manager Sam Latz.

“Temperatures inside the homes were measured before and after the project and were found to decrease by an average of 4 degrees in summer and increase by 2-4 degrees in winter.”

“This is a particularly important outcome for the health of the old and young generations who reside in the Town Camps.”

A survey of the residents found good acceptance of the changes, but that energy savings were difficult to measure given that many of the houses did not have electric air conditioning or heating prior to the upgrades.

In 2008 when the partnership launched, the then executive director of Tangentyere Council William Tilmouth also expressed his hopes that the upgrade program would provide some much-needed employment for a small group of Town Campers.

Tangentyere Council initially employed 12 Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) trainee works and 3 builder/ trainers, with further trainees employed later.

Of the 24 staff employed, 20 completed their Certificate II and went on to gain further full-time employment with Territory Alliance on the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP).

Alice Solar City contributed a total of $150,000 towards the training component of the housing upgrades.