A group of high school students in the Riverina are the first in the country to take part in a groundbreaking energy efficiency project that could see households shave hundreds off their power bills.
Junee Community Power Inc in conjunction with Junee High School held their official launch for the Empowering Junee project on Thursday morning.
The project will see grade nine and 10 students from Junee High use impressive infrared camera technology to identify leaks in the town’s homes and buildings so they can make them air-tight in a bid to cut down on energy usage.
The program is based on a CSIRO trial, which took place in Adelaide, that saw households save an average of $400 on their power bills in just the first year after spending only $200 sealing any leaks.
Junee Community Power’s chairman and former Junee High School teacher Dennis Lambert said the project’s official launch came with a big announcement.
“NSW Environment and Heritage is giving $15,000 of research funding to Junee Community Power, and that will allow our students to seal the air leaks they find in buildings,” Mr Lambert said.
“Without that grant, we would have been able to test for the leaks, but we wouldn’t have been able to go ahead and seal them – it’s crucial to the whole project.”
Mr Lambert said that, as far as he and his team were aware, this was the first time Australian students had led the way in such a project.
“This is a research project that's going to show us if what the CSIRO found in Adelaide can work in a community using students and community members to make a town more energy efficient,” he said.
“We think this is a first and what we’re seeing in the very early results so far is that it should be something that’s very easy to take everywhere.
“We’re really looking forward to trying to get this across the Riverina, where energy disconnection rates are such an issue in our communities.”
According to a recent St Vincent’s report, Junee has the fifth highest rate of power disconnections in the whole state.
So far, the students have already practised testing and sealing leaks in a room at Junee High School and at the Junee Senior Citizens hall.