Boobook (Ecological Consulting & Ecotours) based in Roma, Outback Queensland, supports Earth Hour’s #SwitchForNature campaign by implementing actions that encourages renewable resource use within our work place.
Possibly one of our biggest energy saving projects has been the installation of solar panels at our main business premises. For us the decision was easy as it was about using renewable energy rather than non-renewable resources over economics, although there are benefits economically as well. We installed a 10KW system on our roof, which is the biggest we could accommodate. This generally covers more than our office power usage each day (providing the sun is out). As the tariff from our provider (we only have the one choice of provider in Western Queensland) is charged at a much greater rate (about three times more) then the rate we receive through the Queensland Solar Scheme we only see about a two third reduction in our invoice. If purely looking at the economics though, while it will take us about 8 to 10 years for the system to pay for itself, we are returning about an 8% to 12% return on our investment each year, which is much better than having the money in the bank.
Our town water supply comes from the Artesian Basin through water bores. We made the conscious decision to include water tanks and use the water from these tanks in the office and gardens when we renovated and before we moved into our current office space. While not drought proof (we have run out of tank water during extended severe dry periods) this means we use less bore water. We all (people and plants) love the taste of the rain water much better too.
There are also all the small things that we do that add up to much bigger support for renewable resource use. For example, our team uses reusable water bottles when in the field and, on our tours (pre-covid) we also used washable cups, mugs, plates and cutlery. As a result of Covid however we have had to divert to using pre-packaged individual meals to take out bush and disposable mugs. While we try to use recyclable or biodegradable products as much as possible being compliant with Covid guidelines does generate more waste.
Where possible, and now that our local Council has initiated recycling services such as the “Containers for Change program”, we encourage all our staff to bring their recyclable containers from home, regularly dropping these to the Container for Change Program, donating all proceeds to the not-for-profit charitable Maranoa Wildlife Caring and Education Centre.
One of the things that doesn’t work too well (yet) in the remote areas we travel and traverse is renewable energy vehicles. We require the reliability and robustness of current conventional vehicles – vehicles which can carry extra fuel and that don’t have to plug in to recharge. There are currently few recharge sites in western Queensland. I am personally keen though to try the electric scooter to travel to work each day when in the office in town as it looks fun (or a push bike would do just as well – better exercise). I just have to work out how to cart the items I often carry with me on these smaller modes of transport.
Every day in all our work as Boobook ecologists and eco-guides we are consistently contributing to conservation, biodiversity and the wellbeing of our wonderful country.
Established in 2000 by Craig and Meryl Eddie, Boobook is a nationally recognised industry leader providing on-ground benefits to the environment through the delivery of high-quality ecological services along with informative and engaging tours. By working and journeying with us, our clients form a deeper appreciation of the natural environment, taking inspired action that contributes to enhanced on-ground outcomes and overall greater good.