The Royal Australia Mint may soon produce clean energy as well as money, with an investigation underway into the feasibility of the 50 year-old heritage-nominated building hosting one of Canberra’s largest solar PV arrays.
The mint’s managers have asked energy companies to look into the logistics of installing and operating solar cells on the Canberra property’s 900-square-metre roof, and to submit initial design proposals next month.
Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid says the agency has been considering the project for more than two years as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions and cut electricity costs, reports the Canberra Times.
As producers of one of the world’s most traded commodities, mints rate high among the more energy intensive manufacturers, for whom rising electricity prices and increasingly stringent environmental standards are starting to pinch.
In 2011, the UK’s Royal Mint became one of the first organisations in the world to achieve certification for the International Standard for Energy Management, as the result of efforts to increase the efficiency of its South Wales factory.
As part of the process, the organisation was also required to undertake continual energy reviews to assess current and planned use, as well as the energy sources it uses.
According to a report published last year, Australia’s Royal Mint is one of the federal government’s most energy-intensive workplaces, despite efforts to cut its electricity use by about 13 per cent last financial year.
“If the (rooftop solar) project was to go ahead,” said McDiarmid, “there would be ongoing financial benefits for both the mint and the supplier.”
“The mint is working with the building landlord to ascertain that the system would not detract from the building’s vista and ensure that the structural integrity of the building would not be compromised,” he said.
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