The ongoing cost of energy is increasingly affecting households and businesses, but for not-for-profit organisations such as UnitingCare Queensland, rising multi-million dollar power costs are placing further strain on the much-needed services they provide across the state.
UnitingCare Queensland is fighting back and has taken a unique approach to managing its energy efficiency and reducing its overhead costs and is set to share its experiences with other businesses during the Cleantech Effect 2017 on August 23.
UnitingCare Queensland sustainability manager Judene Andrews said the company’s energy costs had been rising to an unsustainable level and it needed to find a solution.
“As the largest community service and health provider in Queensland, our energy bills are a significant portion of our operating costs, costing our business millions of dollars a year and rising,” Ms Andrews said.
“As a not-for-profit, the burden of rising costs is not sustainable so we started to think about what we could do to reduce our costs, but with competing priorities in hospitals, crisis counselling and child protection services, the decision about where to focus the energy conservation measures was a difficult one.
“When we started to investigate the available options, we needed to determine if this was just about getting a return on investment or were there other business drivers needing to be considered.
“To answer this, we developed a sustainability matrix and a set of criteria to determine which properties and services we would target which resulted in seven properties initially being the focus of our activities.
“We’ve progressed with implementing a number of energy efficient changes, including installing LED lighting, investigating power factor correction actions and a range of other measures which has resulted in some really positive outcomes, including some we didn’t expect.
“In actual fact, some of the simple changes to LED lighting has led to improvements in staff happiness at work and therefore improved morale in the workplace and increased productivity.
“It’s amazing how some changes that are designed to simply reduce costs have had such significant impacts in other parts of our business.
“I’m looking forward to sharing our story and the positive outcomes that have occurred at the Cleantech Effect 2017 and hope our story helps other businesses to be smart about managing their energy costs.”
Economic Development and Innovation Portfolio Cr Steve Robinson said the Cleantech Effect 2017 would include speakers covering a wide range of topics and as the only cleantech conference of its kind in Australia, it’s sure to be an event not to be missed.
“Case studies such as UnitingCare’s provide a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to learn how to be smart about their energy use and reducing their ongoing costs using sustainable technologies,” Cr Robinson said.
“With a wide range of speakers and topics being discussed during the event, I would strongly encourage all businesses to register.”
Tickets are limited. Don’t miss your chance to secure your seat at www.cleantecheffect.com.
Cleantech Effect 2017 will be held at the Lake Kawana Community Centre on Wednesday August 23 from noon to 5.30pm, with networking drinks from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.