Castlemaine’s Historic School of Mines to Shine Again with Energy Efficiency Makeover

The Castlemaine School of Mines, one of the town's oldest heritage buildings, will be transformed into a leading light once more with a $2.6 million re-fit to create a highly energy efficient local government and community hub.

The Castlemaine School of Mines, one of the town's oldest heritage buildings, will be transformed into a leading light once more with a $2.6 million re-fit to create a highly energy efficient local government and community hub.

"This building was a trades school for men and women in the district during Victoria's Gold Rush era. This re-fit will ensure the building is still utilised by the whole community and its rich history preserved for decades to come," said Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

"The Gillard Government is contributing to the building upgrade which will include a range of measures to cut energy use, slashing electricity bills by 40% for lighting alone.

"This will also reduce carbon pollution from the building by 65 tonnes a year," said Mr Dreyfus who visited the site today with Mayor Michael Redden, Low Carbon Australia CEO, Meg McDonald and local sustainability groups.

Other work to improve the building's sustainability includes improved ventilation and air-conditioning, ceiling insulation, sunscreens to control solar heat gain, installation of skylights and systems to allow rainwater harvesting for use in toilets.

"The building will be headquarters for council staff and provide a ‘one-stop-shop' for the community. It will also serve as a living example to residents about ways to improve energy efficiency," said Mount Alexander Shire Council CEO, Phil Rowland.

"The upgrade, due to be completed in mid-2013, is helping protect the past while leading the way to a more sustainable, low carbon future," said Meg McDonald, CEO of Low Carbon Australia, which has helped finance the upgrade.

The Gillard Government is supporting energy efficiency projects across Australia with more than $1.5 billion worth of grants funded by the carbon price, and through Low Carbon Australia which offers financing assistance.

"These projects demonstrate how communities and businesses can invest in smarter ways to use energy, making buildings and homes much cheaper to run and more environmentally sustainable. This is a central part of the Gillard Government's Clean Energy Future plan" said Mr Dreyfus.