Cate Blanchett Shines on Australia's Second Largest Rooftop Solar Installation

Greening The Wharf photo

Photo: Sydney Theatre Company

Better known for lighting up the stage and screen, Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, (with husband and Co-Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company) has teamed up with Australian federal government, the University of New South Wales and the NSW Government Architect's Office to shine the light in a project known as, Greening the Wharf.

The light in this instance will be sunlight. Or more precisely the capture of it. The Sydney Theatre Company's blog on the matter notes that EnergyAustralia have calculates the 1,900-plus solar panels (and energy efficiency savings) will generate about 614,000 kWh a year -- equivalent of powering 56,000 energy efficient light bulbs for one year. Or equal to the annual power needs of 88 average homes or 2,400 LCD televisions or 1,200 refrigerators or 1,600 computers. Or more directly 70% of the Sydney Theatre Company's (STC) electrical needs.

1,900 solar photovoltaic panels aren't cheap, nor is rainwater harvesting, storage and reticulation system, which will supply 100% of STC's non-potable water requirements. So it's a good thing that $4.57 million AUD has been raised through a public / private partnership to fund the project. The federal government is drawing its contribution from the $15 million Green Precincts Fund which it announced in the 2008-09 Federal Budget, for the funding of a dozen "high-profile demonstration projects that deliver water and energy savings while educating the community about water and energy efficiency."

Aside from showcasing leading technologies the Green Precincts will save significant volumes of greenhouse gas emissions and water. In the case of the Greening the Wharf project these are estimated to be 555 tonnes of CO2 and 1.5 megalitres respectively over a single year.

In addition to the energy and water aspects the STC is also investigating other green initiatives with include diverting 8 tonnes of recyclable drink containers from landfill to recycling. Some of the food waste will be sent off for composting. Public bathrooms will get the latest in water efficient fittings. The Head of Set Construction has been researching international best practice for minimising environmental impact in set construction and the Head of Lighting likewise for new theatre lighting technology.''

walsh bay wharves photo

Photo: Walsh Bay, Sydney

PS. Its called Green The Wharf, because the Sydney Theatre Company is located on a 1920's heritage wharves that overlook Sydney Harbour. Other artistic groups are also headquartered there and they will benefit from the environmental initiatives as well.

STC Greening the Wharf blog
Sydney Theatre Company
Australian Government Green Precincts program
Planet 100
Australian Government Greeningthe Wharf funding
NSW Government Architect's Office
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