The Watts Working Better project enabled 11 regional Victorian Councils to collectively achieve one of regional Victoria's biggest greenhouse gas mitigation projects, through an energy efficient street light retrofit program. With millions of streetlights keeping us safe at night in Victoria, our councils continue to do this great work, avoiding emissions by changing old lighting tech over to new.
The $4.96 million Watts Working Better project was launched in 2014 and involved 13,600 street lights being upgraded to energy efficient alternatives by May 2016.
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Since installation, this project has already avoided the emission of 26,904 tonnes of CO2-e, and the partners are very proud that every year they can celebrate another 4,484 tonnes CO2-e NOT emitted by those old inefficient mercury vapour lights.
More than that, hot mercury vapour lights cost a lot more to run than cool energy efficient LED lights. The councils save approximately $900,000 of public money each year through the Watts Working Better project.
Coordinated by the Goulburn Murray Climate Alliance, Watts Working Better involved the partner Councils of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira, Benalla, Strathbogie, Wangaratta, Mansfield, Murrindindi and Mitchell, with Indigo and Towong Shire Councils also coming on board later in the project.
The Watts Working Better project is unique in that it also delivered important community outcomes through its recycling component, whereby almost 98.5 per cent of old lights were diverted from landfill and instead dismantled and recycled. This recycling program relied on the formation of robust partnerships with a number of businesses and organisations including Connect GV and provided people with a disability the opportunity to gain pre-vocational skills and social connection.
See the recycling process
The street light upgrade was completed in a number of stages over several years and involved replacing existing street lights with more energy efficient T5 fluorescent or LED lights. Its success was recognised in 2015 when Watts Working Better received the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award in the Built Environment category.
The project will save an estimated $900,000 annually and $21.6 million across partner Councils over the projected 20-year life of the lights. At this time, Watts Working Better was part of a bigger Victorian greenhouse attack, with Victorian local government actually creating the world's second largest streetlight changeover and greenhouse mitigation, avoiding a cumulative 1.56 million tonnes of CO2-e.
CLICK HERE for the final Watts Working Better summary report