Building product supplier Foamex has rolled out its national energy efficiency roadmap ahead of schedule as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foamex general manager for Victoria and South Australia, Justin Kelsey said the sustainability project began about four years ago.
“Our journey started in 2017 with an energy assessment that shaped our efficiency drive. This in-depth analysis looked at electricity, gas and water and helped identify key areas where we could reduce our emissions and usage to save on energy costs and have less impact on the environment,” Kelsey said.
“The energy assessment provided a blueprint for our energy efficiency in Victoria initially, and we’ve since rolled out various measures nationally. As a result, we changed our electricity supplier to Flow Power because they provide energy from renewable energy sources like wind farms, solar, and more.”
Flow Power partners with major renewable energy projects across the National Energy Market to provide low-cost energy to Australian businesses via long-term virtual generation agreements (VGAs).
Foamex entered into Power Purchase Agreements across Victoria and SA, providing about 4,000 MWh of energy every year from the Clements Gap (SA) and Ferguson (VIC) wind farms as well as the Streaky Bay (SA) and Kiamal (VIC) solar farms.
These agreements are in place until 2025.
“The move to Flow Power means we’re closer to meeting our renewable energy targets as well as saving money,” Kelsey said.
“The next logical step was for us to look at ways for us to generate our own renewable energy by installing solar panels. We had planned to do this later this year, but the incentives offered through the government stimulus meant we brought this forward.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is offering generous instant asset right-off stimulus, increasing the levels from $30,000 to $150,000 and applying the benefit to businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).
“This, coupled with an opportunity to finance the project through the Sustainable Australia Fund and the Maroondah City Council, made it an attractive business proposition,” Kelsey said.
Foamex installed a 99-kilowatt solar system on the roof of its Victorian manufacturing facility in the Melbourne suburb of Bayswater North in early January 2021.
“We anticipate the panels will save approximately 49,300 kg of CO2 emissions per annum, the equivalent of 1,417 planted trees, and we’ll be reviewing their performance over the coming months. We anticipate rolling them out to other facilities across the country,” he said.
“The savings we’ve made from the renewable energy from Flow Power have amounted to 20 to 25 per cent on our annual energy bill, which has enabled us to further invest in our business, looking at ways in which we can replace outdated technology with more energy-efficient sustainable alternatives like the solar panels.”
Foamex has been in business for nearly 40 years and employs over 150 people manufacturing polystyrene products in five states.