Council meetings at the South Gippsland Shire are virtually ‘paperless’ affairs these days after the adoption of a software program called ‘Council dashboard’ allowed for the distribution of agendas and meeting notes via the Internet. m043514
SOUTH Gippsland Shire Councillors have been getting their Council meeting papers electronically since the end of June this year through a software program called ‘Council dashboard’ which has almost eliminated the reams of paperwork they were once saddled with.
This is a cloud-based technology that allows councillors to flick through the documents online and make notations as they go.
Not only is it a saving on paper but it also allows them to be more mobile without having the lug the weighty agendas, briefings and notes around with them.
At last month’s council meeting, it was noticeable that the council table was almost completely bereft of paper, as councillors and officers swiped and tapped their way through council business.
It’s just one of the many measures the council has adopted in a drive for efficiency and sustainability.
In the office, Council uses 100 per cent recycled photocopy paper and all printers are defaulted to double-sided photocopying.
Copiers are also set to ‘secure printing’ which significantly reduces waste.
Recently the shire changed over to more than 1300 new energy efficient bulbs for lighting up streets across the shire.
The new T5 fluorescent bulbs, which are 60 per cent more efficient, have replaced the old style street lights and have also increased lighting quality, with light being directed toward the ground where it is needed, instead of into the sky.
South Gippsland Shire Council worked in partnership with Bass Coast to ‘bulk buy’ the lights and the installation work. The work was jointly funded by Council and the Commonwealth Government as part of its Community Energy Efficiency Program.
Council’s Sustainability Officer Heidi Hamm said the savings achieved from this approach have resulted in an additional 80 energy saving lights being installed in some heritage areas and approximately 40 old style lights being upgraded across Council’s parks and car parks.
“It will save Council more than $50,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs and reduce our greenhouse emissions by at least 400 tonnes,” she said.
“This project is one of the actions from our 2010 Sustainability Strategy which seeks to reduce our 2009/10 emissions levels by 20 per cent by 2020.”
Council offices in South Gippsland and Bass Coast are also being closely scrutinised for energy efficiency improvements, thanks to a Federal Department of Industry grant of $124,693 secured jointly by the two Councils.
Under the three year ‘Efficient Buildings by the Coast’ program, work has already begun to install efficient lighting, air-conditioning upgrades and equipment timers to slash the total energy consumption of these buildings.
These are just some of the many sustainable initiatives that Council is undertaking to reduce its carbon footprint.