Howe Automotive in Daylesford has been working on energy efficiency and waste reduction measures for over 15 years. Employees 8 people, they service all types of vehicles including petrol cars, electric cars, vintage vehicles, trucks, and farming equipment. For Howe Automotive, sustainability goes hand in hand with occupational health and safety as a core element of the business and a core capacity of the staff.
Around 15 years ago, Albert Lamb the owner, upgraded the workshop lights to LEDs and was able to reduce the energy usage from 95kWh to 70kWh per day. This was further complemented by 38kW of solar PV that generates 210kWh in the peak of summer. Further reductions in usage have been achieved through reducing air leaks in the buildings, reducing the air pressure in the compressors from 120 to 90 pounds, and reducing the timings of the hoists. Heating the workshop is done through an imported waste oil heater that takes the 40-60 litres of used oil per day and burns the waste oil and leaves a small amount of soot as a by-product. All tools, where possible run off electricity and batteries which have additional OH&S benefits of removing chords from the shop. Even vehicle emissions are calculated on a per-car basis and efficiency measures applied where possible – across NOx, hydrocarbons, and CO2.
Recycling is also pivotal to the business and three years of applying pressure on suppliers to ensure they also consider waste in the supply chain has resulted in a 50% reduction in waste over the years. Separate bins deal with recycling streams and used parts are actively recycled.
Albert is future focussed and understands well the long journey to have a zero-net emissions business and is looking at developing a training centre, adding more solar and electric car charging stations in the future. He stated “ Once you start it just grows.”