Three Tree Lodge to install solar power system to reduce energy costs

SOLAR: Chief executive officer Kate Hurrell, MP Paul Toole and Chair of Three Tree Lodge board, Garry Brown. Picture: CIARA BASTOW.
SOLAR: Chief executive officer Kate Hurrell, MP Paul Toole and Chair of Three Tree Lodge board, Garry Brown. Picture: CIARA BASTOW.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole surprised Three Tree Lodge with $87,473 in funding for an 81KW three-phase grid connected solar power system for the lodge to improve energy efficiency and reduce power costs this week. 

The money will fund the installation of an energy efficient power system at the aged care facility, enabling greater efficiencies in the day-to-day running of the centre, and provide enhanced local accommodation options for the community, including a dementia day service. 

Three Tree Lodge executive officer Kate Hurrell said putting money back into the building was a main priority. 

“The power expenses are expected to reduce which will allow us to refurbish the rest of the building,” she said. 

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“Our biggest cost is wages, followed by power and insurance but we can’t change [wages and insurance], so we need to work on reducing our energy costs.” 

Ways in which the company is trying to reduce power and energy costs include changing every light in the building to LED, using double glazed windows, and blinds instead of curtains. 

The service uses Ozone in its laundry to reduce costs. 

Three Tree Lodge has already received quotes for the panels. It was decided that the main building would have the solar panels as it gets better sunlight, according to Three Tree Lodge board chair Garry Brown. 

“We will be saving 30 per cent on our bills, so that means around $20,000 on bills will be saved,” Mr Brown said. 

It’s a small investment but a necessary one if we want to save money.

Garry Brown

“It’s a small investment but a necessary one if we want to save money.” 

Mr Toole said that cost effective, responsive local services, would enhance the quality of life of Lithgow residents and that projects such as this would support the social fabric of the local community.

Mr Toole said that cost effective, responsive local services, would enhance the quality of life of Lithgow residents and that projects such as this would support the social fabric of the local community.

“There is a large need in Lithgow for services for people living with dementia. Dementia currently affects approximately 50 per cent of the residents at Three Tree Lodge.

“There are very limited local day services, or emergency respite services, for people living with dementia.” 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the roll out of the second round projects takes Stronger Country Communities funding to $300 million. 

“I congratulate Lithgow City Council on its successful application and look forward to these improvements that will make the local region an even more attractive place to work and raise a family,” Mr Barilaro said.