Power of the sun powers non-profit savings

McEwen Foundation Goulburn Valley Grants
Alexandra, Vic

“Going Green” has meant a reduction in operating costs for a non-profit, allowing savings to be channelled into services for clients – adults with disabilities.

The Dame Pattie Menzies Centre operates out of “The Mount” - an 1880’s solid brick heritage-listed building set on 25 hectares of farm land on the outskirts of Alexandra. In this idyllic setting, dedicated staff and volunteers provide individualised support to around 25 adults with disabilities and their families. Clients are supported to develop to their maximum potential in all areas of their lives and be valued and included in the local community.

With a grant of $15,000 from the FRRR-administered McEwen Foundation Goulburn Valley Grants program, the Dame Pattie Menzies Centre has installed a photovoltaic solar system on the roof of the building to generate electricity and also, through smart management of the grant money, have installed a solar hot water system. Together, the two ‘green’ initiatives are saving the Centre upwards of $600 per quarter – a significant achievement.

"The new power sources are not only saving the Centre money, they are also setting a great example for the Alexandra community to also become more sustainable."

“The result is the Dame Pattie Menzies Centre is almost self-sufficient for lighting, heating, cooling and hot water,” said Rob Chaffe, coordinator of the “Go Green” initiative.

“We have freed up significant funds that have been directed to a new music program conducted by a professional musician. We have also increased our own capacity and capability to work with the impacts of climate change, diminishing supplies of fossil fuels and the cost of energy. It has been a great project all round and one we couldn’t have done without the McEwen funding.”