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News in brief

Newport upgrade underway

Work has begun on the upgrade to Barrenjoey Road in Newport including footpath widening, tree planting, new street furniture and a landscaped median strip. The work will continue until its completion in early December and residents should allow extra time for travel through Newport due to

changed traffic conditions. For more details on the upgrade visit www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au

Robertson Road will be transformed into a pedestrian plaza as part of the Newport upgrade

Voting in elections this September

Coastal environment Centre goes solar!

Mayor David James at the Coastal Environment Centre while solar panels are installed

Council elections will be held on Saturday 13 September and those eligible to vote must get their details on the electoral roll by 4 August 2008. Enrolment forms are available from any post office and must be returned to the State Electoral Office. For more info about Council elections visit www.elections.nsw.gov.au

Pittwater Council’s Coastal Environment Centre at Narrabeen has installed seven solar panels after successfully applying for a federal government rebate of nearly $8000.

The panels will supply the Centre with around 30% of its energy needs and save approximately $500 on annual power bills.

The latest on Currawong

Pittwater Council and community representatives have presented their arguments against the proposed Eco Villages development of more than 20 new houses at Currawong to the independent panel set up by Planning Minister Frank Sartor. The Council also supported the heritage listing of the entire Currawong site in line with the recommendation of the NSW Heritage Council to the panel.

The independent panel concluded a series of public hearings in June and is assessing the development on behalf of the state government. It is now preparing a recommendation on approval or refusal of the proposal for the NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor.

That sinking feeling

180 delegates at a recent Pittwater Council conference have called for state government action on rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Mayor David James who chaired the conference said coastal councils in NSW needed a statewide standard measurement to adopt for future planning controls in beachside and flood-prone areas. “We will now work through the Sydney Coastal Councils Group to lobby the state government for more action on this issue.”

pittwater.nsw.gov.au

Home sweet sustainable home

ever dreamt of making your home environmentally friendly and cheaper to run as well? Two local residents share their experiences.

The house that Graeme & Barbara built

About 8 years ago, Graeme and Barbara Jessup conceived the idea of a building a totally sustainable home. After inheriting a block of land in Mona Vale, the couple set about designing the house with the assistance of architect John Choi. As Barbara explains, ‘we wanted to put into practice a long-held dream.’

The house was completed in March this year and fulfils all the design principles for sustainable living. It’s oriented to the north to take advantage of all-year-round sun, has cross-ventilation and no air-conditioning. Louvered windows can be adjusted for ventilation according to the season and the home is built on a concrete slab which warms in winter and cools in summer. A set of six solar panels power and heat the home and so far the Jessups say they haven’t had to use a gas booster for their hot water or energy needs.

A garden filled with carefully selected native plants contains a 15,000 litre rainwater tank and even has a solar-powered recycled water feature. Barbara Jessup says she and her husband are delighted with their new home. “It’s beautifully designed and although it hasn’t been cheap to build, the fact that we are saving so much on our energy, water and heating bills is very satisfying.”

Barbara and Graeme recently joined a sustainability program coordinated by Warringah and Pittwater Councils to spread the word on sustainable living. Visit www.choiropiha.com to find out more about how the Jessups’ house was designed.

The Jessups’ house uses cross-ventilation and louvered windows instead of air conditioning

Let the sun shine

TAFE teacher and local resident Bill Holland converted his home to run on solar power – and is now on a mission to persuade others to do the same. Bill and his family first became interested in solar power a few years ago. Son Amnon took up the challenge initially, converting his bedroom to run his PC and other appliances off a solar panel and a car battery.

In 2005 Bill and wife Chrissy decided to take the plunge and completely power their home using solar panels. Says Bill, “the whole house is grid-connect, which means we get reimbursed on our energy bills and we haven’t had to pay for electricity for more than 16 months. Our electricity bills used to be $700 a quarter.”

According to Bill, 28 solar panels were installed at a cost of $32,000, minus the previous government rebate of $8000. However, he says costs have dropped since then. “If you did the same system now, it would cost you $26,000. And if you only have a one or two person household, you could power your home on a 1 kilowatt system which would cost $12,000 and could be paid off in five years.”

Bill says he’s disappointed and perplexed by the federal government’s recent decision to axe the $8000 rebate for high-income households but is hopeful the decision won’t put people off solar power. “Once the panels are installed they’re virtually maintenance free and the savings on energy bills can be really dramatic.”

Bill has also negotiated a deal where a panel supplier will install a 1kw system for $4500 after the Commonwealth $8000 rebate and in addition donate a panel to Pittwater High School’s solar panel project. To find out more email Bill at wfholland@optusnet.com.au

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