Sustainable Building Practices for Community Centres
Incorporating sustainable energy and water systems for projects aimed at providing ongoing community education, provision of sustainability demonstrations and workshops at key community precincts, and the opportunity to advise the community on sustainable living options and funding opportunities, is a key benefit of upgrading community centres, becoming a hub for information around sustainability and a sustainable site to hold environmental/sustainability meetings/information sessions/expos/workshops etc. Installing solar power systems on community centers is a fantastic way of reducing energy costs and also sets an example to the community about investing in long lasting clean energy infrastructure that is a rewarding financial investment, reduces atmospheric pollution and provides electricity security in cases of emergency or main grid failure. Solar or wind power can also be coupled with battery storage and energy management systems, to provide 24 hour energy independence. By using the sun to power public facilities and community centers, we are directly influencing local constituents about the virtues of renewable energy.
Eco Living Sustainable Project, HP Barr Reserve Community Centre, Wangaratta
In 2008, the community of the Rural City of Wangaratta participated in the development of a 2030 Vision. The community showed a clear awareness of the impacts of climate change and inappropriate resource use and a desire to achieve sustainable living. This was carried into the Council Plan as action 4.1.1 to “provide access to information on sustainable building development, waste disposal, energy and water use within the community”. This capacity building program will assist the community to understand options to increase sustainable living particularly sustainable use of water and power.
The HP Barr Reserve Community Centre was chosen as the project can enhance existing sustainable building features in a high profile and high use community facility and will be a part of the Eco Living Precinct at the HP Barr Reserve.
The HP Barr Community Centre will be a centre of education for sustainability and will act as a demonstration of what can be done in households in the Rural City of Wangaratta to become more sustainable. The HP Barr Community Centre will provide a platform for learning, training and behavior change.
The Barr Reserve is a high visitation area and will be retrofitted demonstrating a range of sustainable building practices and gardening options to the Wangaratta community including:
- Installation and use of solar hot water and the use of the passive solar design of the building
- Installation and use of PV cells for solar energy
- Use of storm water tanks for toilet plumbing
- The creation of a sustainable garden to minimise water use and an enclosed food garden
- Recycling and organics composting facilities
- Real time energy and water use displays within the centre
- Interpretative signage to explain features of household sustainability
As well as the retrofit of the Community Centre, sustainability displays and signage will be featured in the Indoor Sports and Aquatic Centre
Aside from the Eco Living Precinct, an Eco Living Education Trailer will be developed, mirroring the features of the centre in an interactive display. The Eco Living trailer will be a port of information which is transportable to community groups, rural communities, education organisations and other external groups which may not have access to the Eco Living Precinct.