Foster Community Energy Project

Manna Gum Community House has joined forces with the Foster Swimming Pool to partner in the Foster Community Energy Project.

Our two facilities were selected by Communities Making Energy Together (COMmet) in 2016 to be a part of a community-owned pilot project for South Gippsland Shire that would provide significant benefits to the Foster and District Community.

Project planning was facilitated by COMmet in late 2016 during a funded workshop that assisted MGCH and the Foster Pool to clarify their objectives and assess technical and financial feasibility. The aim of the project is to install sustainable, renewable energy infrastructure on both facilities to reduce overheads and increase viability.

For Manna Gum Community House the project is a 4.5kW solar panel system.

At the Foster Swimming Pool the project is a 40m x 5m steel structure to support up to 200m2 of additional reticulated solar matting to be built on the northern side of the Foster Pool grounds. This structure will also provide additional shaded area for pool patrons.

For the Foster Pool this would treble the area of solar matting heating for the main pool and would provide a more consistent water temperature within the desired 28C -29C range. The Foster Swimming Pool Committee would like to achieve an energy neutral heating system for the main pool in order to optimise usage of the pool by the broadest possible demographic in the Foster community. Reliable warm water temperature will mean the pool will be suitable for primary school lessons all the way through to retired aqua aerobics programs for a longer period over the summer months.

The project has been successful in obtaining several grants: –

Powershop’s Your Community Energy Fund– $10,000

Gardiner Foundation Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) – $5,000.

South Gippsland Shire Council Community Grants Program – $10,000.

In November 2017 the Energy Innovation Co-op announced that the Foster Pool would be the first project to receive a $20,000 loan from the Southern CORE (Community Owned Renewable Energy) Fund. This is a no-interest loan specifically set up to enable community groups to install energy efficient measures onto their facilities that they manage and pay power bills for. It will enable the Foster Pool to complete their solar matting project in time for the upcoming 2017-2018 pool season.

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