Hornsby Shire Council

Background

Hornsby Shire Council, located in the northern region of Sydney, is responsible for over 330 facilities, which together typically consume 10 GWh of electricity and 175,000 kL of water annually. Also known as the Bushland Shire in reference to its traditional natural surroundings that occupy 70% of the Shire, it’s no wonder then that the Council has a strong focus on the environment and sustainability. In recent years significant investment has been made in energy efficiency programs and renewable power generation such as solar PV, wind and cogeneration in order to reduce the Shire’s energy footprint and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

A challenging reduction target

During 2010 the Council set an ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 30% below 1995/96 levels by 2020 as part of their Sustainable Energy Strategy. In order to track their progress the Council needed to monitor energy and water consumed at all the facilities in their property portfolio.

The Council had previously been reporting on energy and carbon primarily relying on manual data entry using Excel. This process was dependent on billing data from their various suppliers, which at best arrived monthly, or at worst yearly, depending on the supplier. Additionally, like most councils, Hornsby have a plethora of suppliers, covering areas such as carbon offsets, electricity, gas and transport fuels to name a few. As a result, the reporting process was cumbersome, time consuming and prone to error.

Capturing and monitoring resource data

To help capture and monitor the Council’s energy and water consumption across all of these facilities they have been utilising Greensense View® sustainability and energy monitoring software since the beginning of 2014.

Julie Ryland, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for the Shire, explains that the initial objective of the project was all about reducing manual data entry and improving data quality:

“The primary focus was to use Greensense View to log and track all resource consumption from our facilities to help streamline the existing, labour intensive reporting process.”

Beyond reporting

After the software was commissioned however, Council began using Greensense View® for more than simply reporting GHG emissions. “Greensense View has given us the opportunity to specialise things, instead of a bill coming in, getting paid and filed, Greensense View brings it to the forefront of people’s minds showing us that there are savings opportunities”, says Ryland.

“Greensense View allows us to interrogate the data easily and quickly and validate billing information as we have data coming in from a wide variety of sources, so it’s nice to have that data captured in the one location, which then allows us to conduct trend analysis on how we use those resources.”

Driving energy efficiency in real time

The council has recently begun using Greensense View to identify operational energy and water issues in real time, as they occur. Ryland explains, “where there is real-time monitoring such as at the admin building, we’ve realised there are a number of opportunities to improve performance, such as why do we have a large electrical baseload, or why are we using so much water at 2am!? Greensense View helps answer those questions and then take the necessary action to ensure we improve over time”.

Creating a smart alert for Hornsby Shire Council
Creating an alert to detect out of hours water use at the Admin Building. Note the overnight use on Sunday Jan 16th into Monday Jan 18th.

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