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October, 2017 – Light Years Ahead wins Green Globe Award for resource efficiency

Light Years Ahead wins Green Globe Award for resource efficiency
Light Years Ahead project manager and project coordinator holding Green Globe Award whilst standing next to Awards judge.
WSROC staff accepting the Green Globe Award (left to right): Awards Judge Robin Mellon, Light Years Ahead Project Coordinator Judith Bruinsma, Light Years Ahead Project Manager Michelle Playford.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has picked up a Green Globe Award for its energy-saving street light project, Light Years Ahead.

One of Sydney’s largest energy-reduction projects, Light Years Ahead saw nine local councils come together to replace old mercury vapour street lights with energy efficient LED lights across 136 Western Sydney suburbs.

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “Rising energy costs are being felt by organisations as well as households, and councils are no exception.

“Street lighting accounts for around 55 percent of council power bills, so it was the obvious place to start looking for savings,” he said.

“It quickly became clear that by upgrading street lights, councils would not only save on energy and maintenance bills, but contribute to more environmentally sustainable and resilient communities.

“Between 2014 – 2015, almost 15,000 mercury vapour street lights were upgraded to highly efficient LEDs,” said Cr Bali.

“The upgrades are expected to save councils and their rate payers $20 million in energy bills and prevent 91,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions over the next 20 years.

“This project really was a no-brainer. The new lights use 77 percent less energy, require less maintenance and have a much longer life span – this means less money spent on lighting and more money available for community services and further infrastructure upgrades,” said Cr Bali.

“The community response to this program has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Councils are currently working on a second iteration of the program, that will look at ways to build more efficient, greener communities and future proof our region,” said Cr Bali.

Light Years Ahead was managed by WSROC and jointly funded by the Australian Government and nine Western Sydney councils.

December, 2016 – West recognised for environmental excellence

West recognised for environmental excellence
Western Sydney council award winners at the LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards, 2016.
Western Sydney council award winners at the LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards, 2016.

Western Sydney councils picked up 10 awards at the Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards this month.

Projects spanned a range of categories including asbestos management, climate change action, invasive species management, natural environment protection and waste avoidance and reuse.

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “I am extremely proud to see Western Sydney councils doing so well at a state level.

“Western Sydney was well represented in the climate change action category which saw projects from WSROC, Blacktown and Penrith take top honours.

“I was particularly proud to see the WSROC’s Light Years Ahead program recognised because it represents what councils can achieve when they work together.

“Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Holroyd, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith Councils were all heavily involved in the project which saw nearly 15,000 inefficient mercury vapour street lights changed over to efficient LED lighting.

“So far Light Years Ahead has achieved a 77 per cent saving in electricity costs and it is estimated that over the 20 year life of the lights, councils will save $19.4 million and over 91,000 tonnes of carbon emissions,” he said.

“I would also like to congratulate Brendan Govers (Cumberland) and Trish Heeley (Penrith) who were recognised for their outstanding work and personal commitment to sustainability at their respective councils,” said Cr Bali.

Asbestos Management

WSROC – Asbestos Answers CALD Facebook campaign (winner)

Climate Change Action

WSROC – Light Years Ahead street lighting project (joint winner)

Blacktown City Council – Cool Streets street tree project (joint winner)

Penrith City Council – Cooling the City Strategy (highly commended) 

Invasive Species Management

City of Canterbury Bankstown – Feral rabbit management in urban Bankstown (winner)

Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement

Blue Mountains City Council – Leura Falls catchment improvement project (highly commended)

City of Canterbury – Bankstown – Habitat box program (highly commended)

Waste Avoidance and Reuse

City of Parramatta – R3 program: resource rescue and reuse (winner)

Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability

Brendan Govers, Cumberland Council (winner)

Trish Heeley, Penrith City Council (highly commended)

April 2016 – We’re finished!

Western Sydney councils celebrate end of street lighting project
WSROC President and Project Manager hold sign with galah and speech bubble saying Last Light! They stand next to a street light in front of a house in the daytime
WSROC President Cllr Hadchiti and Project Manager Michelle Playford in Winmalee (Blue Mountains)
Credit: Jay La

The biggest LED street light replacement project in NSW, Light Years Ahead, has come to an end with the last light installed in March.

Crews installed 13,951 LED street lights across Western Sydney – 951 extra lights than originally forecasted. Final reporting is underway and Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), who is coordinating the project, is investigating options for additional lights.

Nine Western Sydney councils have been working on this collaborative street lighting project since 2014. Councils involved in the project are Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hills Shire, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith.

The project is estimated to save the participating councils $20 million and 74,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years. The $20 million savings are significant as street lighting makes up around 55% of councils’ energy costs. The emission savings are equivalent to taking 37,000 cars off the road each year over a 20 year period.

Endeavour Energy crews began installing LED lights in May 2014 in Werrington County, a suburb of the Penrith local government area. By the mid-March 2016 crews changed 13,951 mercury vapour street lights with the last light installed in Winmalee in the Blue Mountains.

LED lights have been installed in 140 136 suburbs [see references for correction note]. The full list of suburbs included in the project is at our roll-out page. The number of LEDs installed is nearly 11% of the total 126,955 street lights in the nine councils. These new lights join other LED street lights installed by Endeavour Energy outside of the project.

WSROC President, Cllr Tony Hadchiti, said, “It’s a great time for WSROC and our councils. It’s always satisfying to announce a major milestone on project. Light Years Ahead is a great precedent for future LED lighting projects and more generally, for other council-initiated infrastructure upgrades in Western Sydney.”

At the many community events and launches attended by Light Years Ahead staff, residents discussed their energy-saving actions, solar hot water and other systems, and a desire to increase their renewable energy capacity. This anecdotal evidence is reflected in Australian data related to energy consumption and solar technology adoption. Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 4% reduction in the energy consumption of the residential sector [reference footnote 2].  As of October 2015, 17% of Australian homes had solar photovoltaics (PV’s) installed [reference footnote 2].

Cllr Hadchiti stated, “It is clear that our residents support Western Sydney councils’ energy-saving initiatives including this project. Residents have been installing solar in their homes for some years now. They have heard the messages. They are watching their energy usage, upgrading appliances and doing what they can within their own household budgets – whether they are owner-occupiers or tenants.”

He continued, “This project provides an excellent example of how councils can work together with the Australian Government to successfully implement projects that minimise energy consumption and costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver broader benefits to the community.”

Recycling has been a major consideration of the project. Most of the components of the old mercury vapour street lights are being recycled. The plastic street light visors and ‘bodies’ are the major components to be recycled.

Endeavour Energy crews took the components back to a depot in Western Sydney. Once at the depot, the waste was sorted and then packed for transportation to another recycling facility, also in the region. In the second facility the components were loaded to a converter belt with bailing machine (informally known as a crusher). Once crushed, the lights were bound into a cube form, secured and then shipped to another facility overseas. At the next waste facility the crushed components are to be converted into a fine pellet form. These pellets will be sold to businesses who can melt then reshape the substance into acrylic-based products including common household acrylic paint or plastic brochure stands often found on reception desk counters.

The WSROC President noted, “Nine bags, weighing around 630kg per bag, have been sorted, compacted and sent to the next stage of recycling. These eight bags equate to over five and a half tonnes of waste. That’s over 5,040kg diverted from landfill.”

The Light Years Ahead project received funding of $5.3 million from the Australian Government and $2.6 million in funding provided by the nine participating councils. The project formally concludes in May 2016.  

 

References
  1. Energy in Australia 2015 (2016), Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, page 43 – http://www.industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Pages/Energy-in-Australia.aspx
  2. Energy in Australia 2015 (2016), Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, page 49 – http://www.industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Pages/Energy-in-Australia.aspx

Correction:  On 20 April the suburbs affected number was adjusted from 140 suburbs to 136 suburbs. The original figure was an error.

Additional information

Summary of final project statistics:

By the end of March 2016 Endeavour Energy crews had installed 13,951 LEDs across the nine participant councils, which is nearly 11% of the lights earmarked for the project.

The roll out statistics for each of the participating councils is listed below.

  • Blacktown – 2,442 installed, over 2,250 lights earmarked (192 extra lights)
  • Blue Mountains – 662 installed, over 650 earmarked (12 extra)
  • Fairfield – 1,241 installed, over 1,180 lights earmarked (61 extra)
  • Hawkesbury – 562 installed, over 550 lights earmarked (12 extra)
  • Hills Shire – 1,631 installed, over 1,410 lights earmarked (221 extra)
  • Holroyd – 940 installed, over 770 lights earmarked (170 extra)
  • Liverpool – 3,718 installed, over 3,700 earmarked (18 extra)
  • Parramatta – 966 installed, over 920 earmarked (46 extra)
  • Penrith – 1,816 installed, over 1,810 earmarked (6 extra)

 

February 2016 – Roll-out Update

Summary of January 2016 progress statistics
LED street light on left near wall in residential street with car trails streaking through the middle of shot past a street sign
LED street light in Prairewood, Fairfield LGA
Credit: Serge Golikov

The Light Years Ahead LED street light project, which received funding from the Australian Government, continues to pass milestones.

At the end of January 2016 Endeavour Energy crews had installed 11,344 LEDs across the nine participant councils – 754 lights since November 2015. This milestone means 87% have been completed out of the 13,000 lights earmarked for the project.

Two councils, Hill Shire and Holroyd, completed their targets and have been able to install extra LEDs.

The roll-out statistics for each of the participating councils is listed below. The figures are the number of lights installed, the number of lights earmarked for installation through the project, and the percentage completed (a rounded figure to the nearest percent).

  • Blacktown – 2,075 installed, over 2,250 lights earmarked, 92% complete
  • Blue Mountains – 134 installed, over 650 earmarked, 21% complete
  • Fairfield – 1,010 installed, over 1,180 lights earmarked, 85% complete
  • Hawkesbury – 227 installed, over 550 lights earmarked, 41% complete
  • Hills Shire – 1,615 installed, over 1,410 lights originally earmarked yet council was able to replace 205 more lights, 100% complete
  • Holroyd – 940 installed, over 770 lights originally earmarked yet was able to install 170 more lights, 100% complete
  • Liverpool – 3,137 installed, over 3,700 earmarked, 84% complete
  • Parramatta – 903 installed, over 920 earmarked, 98% complete
  • Penrith – 1,303 installed, over 1,810 earmarked, 72% complete

The roll-out is being noticed and commended by residents, with positive comments received by the project team through the community events program. Recently, the project’s event booth travelled to the Australia Day celebrations in Parramatta Park (read more at the below news item). The next stop is the Hawkesbury Show in April (opens external site).

Australia Day in Parramatta

The crowds came out for Australia Day

Nicole, Michelle, Leanne and Steven stand outside the event booth while holding marketing materials and two street lights
Cllr Issa with the Light Years Ahead project team and Leanne Niblock (Parramatta Reference Group member)
Credit: Jay La
Cllr Issa, Nicole and Michelle stand inside the event booth. Nicole points to house. Cllr Issa holds the house roof. Michelle observes/
Cllr Issa with the Light Years Ahead project team
Credit: Jay La

The Light Years Ahead event booth travelled to the Australia Day celebrations in Parramatta Park on 26 January.

Cllr Steven Issa, Parramatta councillor and Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils Senior Vice President, also visited. Leanne Niblock, one of two project Reference Group Members, joined Cllr Issa to discuss the project’s progress as well as the adjoining Council booths including Liveable Parramatta (opens campaign Facebook) and Cool Parramatta (opens campaign website) teams. 

Michelle and residents inside event booth - Michelle holds a pink binder folder which she shows to a resident
Project Manager Michelle Playford chats with a resident about household lighting
Credit: Jay La

Residents stopped by the event booth and chatted to the Light Years Ahead project staff, Michelle Playford and Nicole Miller. Residents keenly discussed how to save energy in the home and how they have been making changes including LED lighting, blinds and planting for shade, and solar panels. A number of residents enjoyed holding an LED street light.

Nicole chats to two residents outside the light years ahead booth
Media and Communications Officer Nicole Miller chats to residents
Credit: Jay La

We’ve loaded more photos to Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council’s Facebook.

Three event booths side by side with displays (including a tree and map on an easel)and residents mingling
Light Years Ahead and Parramatta City Council event booths
Credit: Jay La

Free home energy audits for Parramatta residents

Free home energy audits for Parramatta residents and businesses

Home assessments

Important update: All reservations for these household audits are now taken. Names are being taken for a waitlist.

Parramatta City Councils is offering free home energy assessments for Parramatta LGA residents.

As part of the 1 hour in-home consultation you will receive:

  • A walk-through of your home
  • An energy bill analysis
  • An action plan for a smarter home
  • A solar PV assessment
  • Obligation-free quotes

Parramatta LGA residents can contact Council’s service provider Positive Charge on phone 1300 236 855. Households who undertake an assessment will receive a set of energy saving light globes.

*Home energy assessments are very limited in number and are offered on a first-come basis.

This information is via the Parramatta City Council website.

Business assessments and workshops

Parramatta businesses can register for free in-business energy assessment, similar to the above program for residents.

The Energy Health Assessments valued over $500 and are available for local Parramatta businesses only. The Energy Health Assessments will:

  • Assess your energy bills
  • Provide tailored advice to help you save energy and money
  • Consider solar panels, LED lighting and other practical measures.

There are also two free information events on 25 February and 15 March at Rydalmere Bowling Club. Registrations are required and more information is on the Parramatta City Council website.

Colouring comp winners

Kids colouring-in competition – winners announced

The Light Years Ahead colouring-in competition winners have been announced. Congratulations to everyone that took time to enter. We received 240 entries and were thrilled with the response. School entries were particularly impressive. Bethel Christian School submitted 80 entries, which were of a very high standard – reflected in the number of prize winners listed below.

Read more, including the names of winners, on our events page.

Night photography

Night photography update – 11 January 2016

As the project has progressed a series of night photography has been undertaken to mark installation milestones. To view a selection of these photos head to the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils’ Flickr albums.

1 Million Women interviews Rita Milostnik

1 Million Women interviews Rita Milostnik
Rita Milostnik sits at her office computer and desk holding an LED street light on her lap and smiles at the camera
Rita Milostnik at work at Holroyd City Council – holding an LED street light
Credit: Jay La

The organisation 1 Million Women interviewed Holroyd City Council’s Rita Milostnik. Read about Rita’s role and general reflection upon the project.

Rita is one of two Holroyd City Council Reference Group members working on the Light Years Ahead project. 

1 Million Women’s mission statement is to “empower millions of women and girls to live a low-carbon life.”

Light Years Ahead helps Bandaged Bear and Lights for Kids

Light Years Ahead helps Bandaged Bear and Lights for Kids
WSROC President presents Bandaged Bear with Energy Saver Pack next to Christmas tree while Bear hold up his paw
WSROC President presents Bandaged Bear with Energy Saver Pack

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) President, Cllr Tony Hadchiti, visited The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to present Bandaged Bear with 12 of our Light Years Ahead Energy Saver Packs. The packs, worth over $200 each, are just some of the prizes up for grabs for people raising money through the Lights for Kids appeal for the children’s hospitals.

Check out www.lightsforkids.org.au to find your local Christmas lights and help make the festive season brighter for sick children.

Bandaged Bear on left hugs WSROC President on right in front of Christmas tree
Bandaged Bear gives the President a hug

December 2015 – Roll-out Update

Summary of November progress statistics
LED street lights in twilight on suburban street
Credit: Serge Golikov

At the end of November 2015 Endeavour Energy crews had installed 10,590 LEDs across the nine participant councils, which is more than 81% of the lights earmarked for the project.

Two councils, Hill Shire and Holroyd, completed their targets and were able to install extra LEDs.

The roll out statistics for each of the participating councils is listed below. The figures are the number of lights installed, the number of lights earmarked for installation through the project, and the percentage completed (a rounded figure to the nearest percent).

  • Blacktown – 1,957 installed, over 2,250 lights earmarked, 87% complete
  • Blue Mountains – 134 installed, over 650 earmarked, 21% complete
  • Fairfield – 963 installed, over 1,180 lights earmarked, 82% complete
  • Hawkesbury – 175 installed, over 550 lights earmarked, 32% complete
  • Hills Shire – 1,574 installed, over 1,410 lights originally earmarked yet council was able to replace 164 more lights, 100% complete
  • Holroyd – 940 installed, over 770 lights originally earmarked yet was able to install 170 more lights, 100% complete
  • Liverpool – 3,086 installed, over 3,700 earmarked, 83% complete
  • Parramatta – 903 installed, over 920 earmarked, 98% complete
  • Penrith – 858 installed, over 1,810 earmarked, 47% complete

November 2015 – Roll-out Update

LED street light halfway mark
LED street light at twilight with pink and grey clouds behind with rising moon
Credit: Serge Golikov

At the end of October, crews had installed 8,188 LED street lights, approximately 63% of the 13,000 earmarked for replacement on the Light Years Ahead project. Six of the nine councils involved in the project have already installed half of their allocation of LEDs.

The project is estimated to save participating councils $20 million and 74,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years.

The Light Years Ahead project is coordinated by Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC).

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti noted, “This important halfway milestone is time to celebrate. We are proud to be adding to the growing number of LED street lighting projects.”

“It’s not just Western Sydney looking at street lighting and the benefits of LEDs. WSROC has received calls and emails from other states and territories, to see how we’ve gone about it. We are happy to share our insights and looking at where to next.”

“Infrastructure projects of this size don’t just happen. Council staff involved in the project include General Managers, engineers, public domain managers, sustainability and finance staff. The mayors and councillors have been active in promotion and each person has been crucial for Light Years Ahead.”

Street lighting accounts for around 55% of councils’ total energy costs. The project is one of many LED street light projects underway in Australia and overseas.

WSROC has been crucial in negotiations with Endeavour Energy, who owns the street lights covered by the project.

“Rather than nine councils separately speaking with Endeavour Energy, WSROC is streamlining these conversations on behalf of our councils,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“We have negotiated the best prices and worked through options for the LEDs, for installation costs and for the removal and recycling of the old mercury vapour lights. Nine councils give this project a powerful voice which proved to be a very efficient way to approach major street lighting upgrades.”

The Light Years Ahead project received funding of $5.3 million from the Australian Government and $2.6 million in funding provided by the nine participating councils and WSROC. Installation is expected to be completed by March 2016 with wrap up reporting and analysis to follow. The project concludes in May 2016.

Summary of October progress statistics

At the end of October 2015 Endeavour Energy crews had installed 8,188 LEDs across the nine participant councils, which is approximately 63% of the lights earmarked for the project.

The roll out statistics for each of the participating councils is listed below. The figures are the number of lights installed, the number of lights earmarked for installation through the project, and the percentage completed (a rounded figure to the nearest percent).

  • Blacktown – 1,418 installed, over 2,250 lights earmarked, 63% complete
  • Blue Mountains – 99 installed, over 650 earmarked, 15% complete
  • Fairfield – 920 installed, over 1,180 lights earmarked, 78% complete
  • Hawkesbury – 91 installed, over 550 lights earmarked, 17% complete
  • Hills Shire – 934 installed, over 1,410 lights earmarked, 66% complete
  • Holroyd – 456 installed, over 770 lights earmarked, 59% complete
  • Liverpool – 2,824 installed, over 3,700 earmarked, 76% complete
  • Parramatta – 591 installed, over 920 earmarked, 64% complete
  • Penrith – 855 installed, over 1,810 earmarked, 47% complete

October 2015 – Roll-out Update

Rollin’ out the street lights
LED street light installer in cherry picker bucket using drill in opened LED street light
LED street light installer, Peter Lawlor (Electrical Fitter Mechanic Streetlighting, Endeavour Energy)
Credit: Endeavour Energy

Progress

The Light Years Ahead LED street lighting project is making steady progress. The roll-out is on track. Crews are working hard in the field while project staff meet reporting milestones.

Endeavour Energy crews are replacing the earmarked 80 watt mercury vapour street lights with the new, energy-efficient 18 watt LEDs.

At the end of September 2015 Endeavour Energy crews had installed 5,744 LEDs across the nine participant councils, which is approximately 44% of the lights earmarked for the project.

The roll-out statistics for each of the participating councils is listed below. The figures are the number of lights installed, the number of lights earmarked for installation through the project, and the percentage completed (a rounded figure). All figures are as of 30 September 2015.

  • Blacktown – 547 installed, over 2,250 lights earmarked, 24% complete
  • Blue Mountains – 36 installed, over 650 earmarked, 6% complete
  • Fairfield – 686 installed, over 1,180 lights earmarked, 58% complete
  • Hawkesbury – 87 installed, over 550 lights earmarked, 16% complete
  • Hills Shire – 763 installed, over 1,410 lights earmarked, 54% complete
  • Holroyd – 326 installed, over 770 lights earmarked, 42% complete
  • Liverpool – 2,336 installed, over 3,700 earmarked, 63% complete
  • Parramatta – 320 installed, over 920 earmarked, 35% complete
  • Penrith – 643 installed, over 1,810 earmarked, 36% complete

Background

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) is coordinating the project on behalf on nine Western Sydney local councils. The project team is pleased with the works and continue to complete substantial reporting back to council staff, executives and the Australian Government (this activity received funding from the Australian Government, along with the nine councils).

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti notes, “This is the biggest street lighting project ever embarked upon by Western Sydney councils. It’s the biggest in terms of group procurement and the biggest in terms of a public lighting infrastructure project in our region. It’s a major achievement we’re proud of.”

“Our project team have been travelling to community events around Western Sydney spreading word about Light Years Ahead. They tell me they’ve received a very positive response from residents.”

“Some residents have noticed the new lights while others have spotted our local media stories. Residents are interested in comparing the lights, before and after – to see the impact of the switch in their own street.”

LED street light at night shining on footpath of suburban street at night
LED street lights installed in Werrington County in May 2015
Credit: Endeavour Energy

Cllr Hadchiti continued, “Residents expect councils to find energy and emissions savings. They absolutely expect it. This is proof we are delivering upon that expectation and our Western Sydney councils will continue to look at our energy usage and CO2 footprint.”

Installation process and resident impact

Disruption to residents is minimised throughout the installation process. To date, Endeavour Energy crews and council staff have received very few enquiries and complaints about the installation.

Crews undertake installations during daylight hours, mostly during working hours when most residents are away from the home. Disruption to residents is limited, there is no power disruptions to homes.

Installer in cherry picker bucket in evening in cherry picker holding old street light under switched on LED street light that has been fitted
Installer (Peter Lawlor) holds a mercury vapour street light under and LED street light
Credit: Endeavour Energy

The average LED street light installation takes 5 – 10 minutes per light. The work is undertaken by a crew of two installers who arrive in an Endeavour Energy truck. The truck is fitted with a crane. One crew member supervises in the cabin and monitors safety and traffic. The installer crew member stands in the ‘cherry picker’ bucket, secured by a safety harness. The street light pole remains in place – it’s only the street light head, called a luminaire, which is replaced. The installer removes the mercury vapour light, makes wiring adjustments and replaces it with a new LED.

Once the new LEDs are turned on residents will most likely notice the slightly ‘crisper’ look to the light, compared to the mercury vapour lights. The new lights are more directional than the predecessors – light beams shine directly to the streets on a narrower angle, rather than unnecessarily spilling into some residents’ yards.

Three installers look at map near cherry picker at night
Endeavour Energy crew reviewing roll out maps. Left to right – Joe Mifsud (Electricity Worker Streetlighting), Peter Lawlor (Electrical Fitter Mechanic Streetlighting) and Waide Elliott (Streetlight Manager)
Credit: Endeavour Energy

Recycling

The old lights are taken back to the Endeavour Energy depots across Western Sydney. The lights are pulled apart in order to recycle as many components as possible.

Follow the roll-out

Follow the continuing roll-out here, on the Light Years Ahead website, on WSROC social media and in the project e-newsletter (view past e-news editions or sign up).

October 2015 – Conference Presentation

Lighting conference shines a light on energy savings
Conference attendees mingle during a break in meeting room
Conference attendees take a break

The Light Years Ahead Project Manager, Michelle Playford, presented and delivered a workshop at the Energy Efficiency in Local Government Conference in Sydney on 15-17 September 2015.

The theme of the conference was “Leveraging innovative energy efficiency to build a sustainable Council future”.

Headshot of Michelle Playford
Light Years Ahead’s Project Manager, Michelle Playford
Credit: Jay La

Over 160 delegates attended from across Australia with the conference aimed at individuals including Chief Financial Officers, General Managers, Directors of Infrastructure, and councils officers working in roles related to community energy and sustainability.

Michelle’s presentation and workshop covered an overview of the Light Years Ahead project – a project coordinated by Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) replacing approximately 13,000 street lights with LED street lights in nine local councils. Presentation sections included:  

  • Light Years Ahead: practical steps to make the switch to LEDs
  • Driving efficiencies in utility owned street lighting
  • How to build a robust business case for lighting
  • How to build relationships with utilities and other councils to benefit from collaborative efficiencies
  • How to efficiently and effectively implement the change through planning and communication

This activity received funding from the Australian Government.

For the workshop session Michelle was joined by two co-presenters – a consultant Paul Brown from Ironbark Sustainability and street lighting supplier Tony Lambrechtsen from Gerard Lighting. The co-presenters shared their insights from a consultancy and supplier perspective and examples of energy efficiency projects across Australia.

During the workshop Michelle also discussed the complex and vast stakeholder communications and information management required throughout the project. Key stakeholders include:

  • Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) – who coordinates the project and hired the project team
  • Nine participant local councils and dozens of staff – Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hills Shire, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith
  • Endeavour Energy – who owns, maintains and installs the lights in the project region
  • The Australian Government – including reporting and ministerial officers
  • Consultants and other specialist suppliers – including Ironbark Sustainability, graphic designers and evaluation consultants

Attendees gave very positive feedback during and after the presentation. There were many questions saved for each of the breaks and a number of conversations will continue in the coming months.

Tweets from the event mentioning Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) or Light Years Ahead are pictured below via Storify. Accessibility note – To view these tweets on Twitter search for WSROC and the keywords “Light Years Ahead” between 15-17 September 2015.

The Project Manager and Media and Communications Officer, Nicole Miller, continue to look for ways to share insights learned from Light Years Ahead. Reports, protocols and negotiations developed during the project will be helpful for all three tiers of government – local, state and federal. The data, model and recommendations will provide insights for any public sector staff planning future street lighting and energy-efficiency infrastructure projects – whether in Greater Western Sydney or beyond the region.

To find out more about the project and to speak directly to Michelle Playford (Project Manager, Light Years Ahead at Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) call 02 9671 4333 and dial extension 106 or email info@lightyearsahead.com.au.

September 2015 – Launches continue and events

Spring has sprung, events season has begun

WSROC President and Hills Shire Mayor holding street lights in front of event booth
WSROC President & Hills Shire Mayor
Credit: Jay La

Main photo caption – Pictured (left to right): Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President) and Dr Michelle Byrne (Hills Shire Mayor). Cllr Hadchiti holds an 80 watt mercury vapour street light and the Mayor holds an 18 watt LED street light. Both stand in front of the event booth at the Orange Blossom Festival.  

The Light Years Ahead project team have been busy in September with the community events season beginning. Since the start of the month the team have attended three large council-run events across Western Sydney. Event staff have estimated more than 250 residents have stopped by to chat to staff about the project and home energy usage.

All three events have showcased the events kit developed for the project which items including a:

  • Model house with removable roof – to demonstrate the impact residents can have on heating and cooling, furnishings, gardens and awnings.
  • Common household lighting display – samples of LED and carbon fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, halogen and LED downlights, and energy estimates of yearly running costs.
  • Draught tunnel – demonstrating the impact of door and window seals on reducing draughts.
  • Thermal conductivity display – demonstrating the difference in heat conductivity through a range of building materials such as plain glass, double-glazed and tinted glass, timber and aluminium.
Penrith event

The first September event was Penrith City Council’s Bicentenary of Penrith Festival, held in one of the City’s newest estates called Thornton, near Penrith train station. Crowds explored the oval and celebrated the past 200 years. It was a fitting event to attend as Penrith turned on its first street lights 125 years ago. Residents were keen to discuss the model street lights on display as well as household lighting, heating and cooling solutions.

Three staff hold two street lights in front of event booth
WSROC and Penrith City Council staff
Credit: Jay La

Photo caption – Pictured (left to right): Nicole Miller (Media and Communications Officer, WSROC), Murray Halls (Public Domain Coordinator, Penrith City Council) and Michelle Playford (Project Manager, WSROC). 

Light Years Ahead event booth at Penrith
Light Years Ahead event booth
Credit: Jay La
Holroyd event

The second event was Holroyd City Council’s PetFest event on Sunday 13 September. It was another glorious spring day to celebrate Holroyd City’s furry residents – dogs, cats, parrots, birds, guinea pigs and many more. Residents were again intrigued by the street lights and household energy-saving props. A number of ‘best in show’ prizes were awarded Light Years Ahead Energy Saver Packs awarded to the Grand Champion and Best Party Trick winner, Bentley (pictured below with his trainer Heather Addie). These packs include over $200 worth of energy-saving goodies.

Dog trainer lies on the ground with legs lifted in the air while dog balances on soles of feet
Heather Addie and Bentley show off Best Party Trick

Photo caption – Pictured : Heather Addie and dog, Bentley, show Bentley’s winning party trick. 

Group shot of Heather, dog and team
Grand Champion Bentley, trainer Heather and team celebrate

Photo caption – Pictured : Heather Addie and dog, Bentley, celebrate the award of Grand Champion with fellow dog trainers. 

Hills Shire event

The third event was Hills Shire Council’s Orange Blossom Festival. Crowds braved the cloudy weather before an afternoon downpour. The newly appointed Mayor of the Hills Shire (Dr Michelle Byrne) joined the WSROC President (Cllr Tony Hadchiti) and visited the event booth. The Mayor received a demonstration. Project staff updated her on the discussions with residents – noting the high number of residents who have reviewed their lighting, heating and cooling measures, and energy usage in their homes. Children showed off a great understanding of energy-savings, while proud parents looked on.

WSROC staff talk to the Hills Mayor next to a household lighting display with light bulbs
WSROC staff chat to the Mayor about household lighting
Credit: Jay La

Photo caption – Pictured (left to right): Michelle Playford (Project Manager, WSROC), Dr Michelle Byrne (Hills Shire Mayor), Nicole Miller (Media and Communications Officer, WSROC) and Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President).

WSROC staff member, President and Hills Mayor look at model house sitting on event booth table
WSROC staff, President and Hills Shire Mayor discuss the model house
Credit: Jay La

Photo caption – Pictured (left to right): Nicole Miller (Media and Communications Officer, WSROC), Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President) and Dr Michelle Byrne (Hills Shire Mayor). 

Resident feedback on both the event kit props and street lighting roll out has been overwhelmingly positive. A number of residents have commended WSROC and the nine participating councils on their initiative. Residents in all three council areas have welcomed in-depth discussions around energy-saving measures they have applied and their to-do-list to continue to reduce energy bills. They have shared their experience and tips including; updating curtains, blinds and pelmets*; tree-planting decisions for shade and heat protection; installation of solar panels and solar hot water systems; installation of films to windows to reduce heat; and ‘whirly birds’ roof ventilation.

To find out which events the project team travel to next, go to the website – www.lightyearsahead.com.au. The website includes energy-saving tips for residents and a number of government resources.

Parents may be interested in the children’s colouring-in competition, also found on the events page of the website, with entries closing on 22 November. Children are asked to colour-in and to write their best two energy-saving tips. There are categories for children aged 5-7 years, 8–10 years and 11– 12 years old.

To follow the action of our Light Years Ahead project team as they travel to events across Western Sydney, head to WSROC’s Facebook – www.facebook.com/WSROC.

Disclaimer and acknowledgement

This activity received funding from the Australian Government.

The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.

References

*Definition of a pelmet – A pelmet is a long, narrow cover that can be mounted to the top of curtains and blinds and mounted to the wall. They reduce heated or cooled air being lost – breaking up the flow of air passing over the furnishings and escaping through gaps in window frames. Pelmets are often covered in fabric and match curtains. There are a number of do-it-yourself pelmet projects that can be found through web search engines.

August 2015 – Project launches kick off

11 August 2015

Light Years Ahead rolling out

Attendees of the project launch in front of banners and holding two street lights
Attendees of project launch in Penrith.
Photo credit: Jay La

Main photo caption – Pictured (left to right): Mayor of Hawkesbury (Cllr Kim Ford), Fiona Scott MP (Federal Member for Lindsay), Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President), Cllr Greg Cummings (Mayor of Holroyd), Louise Markus MP (Federal Member for Macquarie), Karen Andrews MP (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science) and Clr Ross Fowler OAM (Mayor of Penrith). 

It’s been an exciting past few months for the Light Years Ahead street lighting project. Official launch events are well underway.

Project and council staff have celebrated as installers continue to fit LED street lights in more than 100 Western Sydney suburbs. By the end of July 1,802 LED street lights have been installed.

All of project launch

Light Years Ahead was officially launched on Friday 22 May 2015 in a celebratory event hosted by Penrith City Council. Unfortunately wet weather stopped guests from watching a live installation of an LED street light in a residential street of Werrington County. Instead, attendees kept dry at Council and watched a photo presentation of installation shots taken the day before.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews MP, officially opened the project. Other special attendees included three mayors (Mayors of Penrith, Hawkesbury and Holroyd), three MPs (Fiona Scott MP, Louise Markus MP and Prue Car MP), and key council staff from the nine participant councils – see the main story photo for some of the attendees.

Media coverage before and after the event was impressive. Coverage included articles in the Sydney Morning Herald (opens external site), Sustainability Matters (opens external site) and a range of Western Sydney local media. Louise Markus MP kindly mentioned the project in Parliament and the Australian Government website (opens an external site) includes a transcript and video of the address. For media coverage from the other launches go to the News & Media section.

Parramatta City launch

Following the Penrith launch was Parramatta City – an event was held on Thursday 9 July in the Rydalmere Operations Centre, a facility owned by Council. Attendees included Dr Geoff Lee MP, State Member for Parramatta, Cllr Bob Dwyer, Cllr John Hugh, council staff and community representatives interested in sustainability including Pingala.

WSROC President at lectern addresses event attendees with banners behind him
WSROC President opens the event
Credit: Jay La Photographer
Parramatta launch attendees hold street lights in front of banners and trees
Guests of the Parramatta City launch.
Photo credit: Jay La

Pictured (left to right): Keren Lavery (UWS), Nic Pasternatsky (Acting CEO, WSROC), Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President), Cllr John Hugh (Parramatta City Council), Cllr Bob Dwyer (Parramatta City Council), Dr Geoff Lee MP (State Member for Parramatta), Leanne Niblock (Parramatta City Council) and Patrick La (Parramatta City Council).

Blacktown City launch

The winter weather intervened again for Blacktown City Council’s launch day on Monday 13 July. A photo shoot was held in Cllr Stephen Bali’s office (the Mayor of Blacktown). The Mayor and WSROC’s President (pictured below) showed local media an older mercury vapour light and an example of a new LED street light.

WSROC President and Mayor of Blacktown hold two street lights
WSROC President and Mayor of Blacktown, Cllr Stephen Bali
Photo credit: Jay La
Fairfield City launch

Fairfield City launched on 30 July with a photo shoot outside Council and in a nearby suburban street. Local media joined the shoot and snapped key staff with examples of lights and a map of Fairfield.

Council staff Mayor and WSROC President hold map and two street lights
Fairfield City celebrates its launch
Credit: Jay La

Pictured (left to right): Zahid Hassan (Asset Manager – Civil & Built), Alan Young (General Manager), Frank Carbone (Mayor of Fairfield) and Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President).

Mayor council staff and WSROC President hold street lights and brochures in residential street
Fairfield Mayor, staff and WSROC President hit the streets

Pictured (left to right): Frank Carbone (Mayor of Fairfield City), Zahid Hassan (Asset Manager – Civil & Built, Fairfield City) and Cllr Tony Hadchiti (WSROC President).

Hawkesbury City launch

Hawkesbury City launched Light Years Ahead on 4 August with an event during Local Government Week at Bligh Park Community Centre. Attendees celebrated the Light Years Ahead project, the opening of a new community garden at the Centre and the program Composting Revolution. Louise Markus MP (Federal Member for Macquarie) and Councillor Jill Reardon were joined by Jeff Organ (Director of Infrastructure Services), council staff and residents.

Four attendees hold LED and mercury vapour street lights in front of project banners
Guests hold new LED light and old mercury vapour light
Credit: Jay La Photographer

Pictured (left to right): Louise Markus MP (Federal Member for Macquarie), Catherine Murphy (Bligh Park Community Centre Manager), Councillor Jill Reardon (Hawkesbury City Council) and Jeff Organ (Director of Infrastructure Services, Hawkesbury City Council).

Light Years Ahead Energy Saver Packs were won by three residents at the project stall (pictured below). These packs will also be offered as prizes at upcoming events in the coming months. They are valued at over $200 and include items such as energy efficient light globes, a door snake, power board, thermometer, shower timer and shower head. For your change to win a pack at an event, go to the Events Page of the website.

Winners of prizes stand near their packs next to councillor and in front of banners
Winners of Energy Saver Packs at the Hawkesbury City launch event
Credit: Jay La Photographer

Pictured (left to right): Diana Schmitz, Councillor Jill Reardon (Hawkesbury City Council), Brenda Reeves Smith and Marie Howes.

Up next

Next launches are Liverpool on 18 August, Holroyd on 24 August, with events to follow for the Blue Mountains and Hills Shire councils.
WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said, “We’re in a really exciting phase. The roll out has well and truly begun. The installers are working hard. Our council staff are working hard. We’re very proud of this project and it’s very satisfying that we are well underway.”

More photos

To see other event photos head to the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils’ Facebook page or Instagram.