Tweed a leading light

MORE than half the homes in Tweed Shire have been fitted with energy-saving light bulbs and water-saving showerheads, according to a report presented to councillors last night.

The savings from replacing old incandescent light bulbs and fitting newer showerheads and tap aerators have reduced energy consumption and hence carbon dioxide emissions as well as reducing demand on the shire's town water supplies, according to council officers.

The council staff said between November 2005 and December 2008, 18,395 households or just over 50 per cent of the homes in the shire, were “retrofitted” with energy- and water-saving products.

The program was conducted in partnership with three NSW Government-accredited companies.

That has reduced demand on the town water supply by approximately 620 megalitres, and carbon dioxide emissions by 17,598 tonnes a year.

Also last night councillors voted to support the setting up of a shire register for approved solar hot water system suppliers.

The council was told the state and federal governments offered rebates to encourage Tweed residents to install solar hot water systems and the council could help by establishing the registers of suppliers.

“Inviting solar suppliers to submit their details to a central register also has the potential to deliver better deals for shire residents due to increase competition while enhancing council's environmental credentials by supporting household greenhouse gas reduction,” staff said in a report.

“With an increase in the Australian Government rebate and the likely scrapping of the NSW rebate on June 30, 2009, now is an opportune time to inform the Tweed community about the cost-effectiveness of going solar before the end of the financial year.”

Council staff said they received about six to eight calls a week from residents enquiring about rebates, and while those questions could be answered, residents also “inevitably want to know about solar suppliers”.

Their report pointed out that currently the Tweed rated as the “third highest” for the number of solar hot water rebates received out of all the 153 local government areas in New South Wales.

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