Those who doubted our ability to lower our carbon footprint – and there are plenty of them – are in for another promising reality check.
Oak Flats Bowling and Recreation Club, located 90 minutes south of Sydney, has claimed the title of being named Australia’s first carbon- neutral club.
How you may ask? By doing what research has been telling us, start with the smallest of changes.
The CEO of Oaks Flats, Matt Ohara, started cutting out unsustainable products to reduce the amount of waste being produced by the club.
This included a more sustainable way of serving beer; serving it only on tap meant the cardboard waste being brought in by stocking bottled beer had been completely eliminated.
Installing a synthetic bowling green on the lawns cut down the water usage and maintenance cost, and switching to energy efficient lights, and using rainwater for the toilets have all reduced the clubs carbon footprint, and have cut its water usage by 45 percent.
They didn’t stop there, keeping to their commitment, they calculated greenhouse gas emissions of 1207.99 tones for 2011/2012 by counting every kilometer travelled, every beer poured and every schnitzel prepared.
They then made the decision of purchasing carbon offsets; bringing its emissions down to zero. Low Carbon Australia, which administers the Carbon Neutral Program on behalf of the Australian Government, certified the club against the National Carbon Offset Standard.
Ohara said that they haven’t finished yet. Continuing in making changes around the club; from the smallest in recycling paper hand towels, using biodegradable straws, establishing a worm garden to even bigger, swapping on older air-conditioner to a new efficient chiller will result in even bigger differences to their footprint, and save 14% to their electricity usage.
The club has purchased a portfolio of offsets that includes the protection of native forests through re-forestry initiatives, wind turbine generators and capturing coal mine methane escaping from an abandoned coal mine and using this to generate energy.
Club members were asked to make a voluntary $1 carbon offset payment with their membership to help pay for the offsets. Making the community involved in the achievements of this club.
The club is already a two time winner of the ‘Keep Australia Beautiful (sustainable clubs award) and winner of three 2012 ClubsNSW awards.
“Our sustainability initiatives haven’t just been good for the environment, they’ve contributed to significant financial savings, a more efficient club, and a more engaged workforce,” OHare said.
The Low Carbon Australia’s Carbon Neutral Program is a voluntary scheme for Australian organisations seeking carbon neutrality for their whole organisation, part of their organisation, an event, product or service. Low Carbon Australia Limited provides financial solutions and advice to Australian business, government and the wider community to encourage action on energy efficiency.