THE Sisters of Mercy at the Rahamim Ecological Learning Centre will take a step closer to becoming a green technology showcase after receiving $205,205 in funding from the State Government.
Rahamim will build a stormwater harvesting system as part of a major water and energy efficiency upgrade, thanks to the large investment from the state's Climate Change Fund.
The project will involve landscaping to slow water run-off and a chain of ponds, wetlands and reed beds to capture, treat and store rainwater for reuse.
Inside the 100-year-old building, ceiling insulation, solar hot water and solar panels will be installed to help save 885,000 litres of water and 15 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission a year.
“Rahamim staff are committed to living by example, so all projects and activities must be accessible to the wider population,” Rahamim’s Sr Patricia Powell said yesterday.
“This project will be staged over two years and showcase how you can retrofit old houses and choose simple practises to save water and electricity.”
A sustainability education officer will also be appointed to inform visitors and the wider community about the project and how they can also improve water and energy efficiency at home.
“We are a learning centre and share information with people who are willing to listen,” she said.
“Rahamim is positioning itself as ‘the best’ facility west of the Blue Mountains to learn about living sustainably. Visitors to the site will learn better from being able to see sustainability in action, not just being told about it.”
The initiative was one of 18 demonstration projects announced yesterday by Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor.
Member of Bathurst Gerard Martin said the funding would allow the Sisters of Mercy to transform their facility into an environmentally sound land mark.
“As well as saving energy, carbon pollution and money on bills, the project will demonstrate to visitors the potential to achieve major savings and reduce carbon pollution through simple efficiency measures,” Mr Martin said.