Sector: Food & Beverage Manufacturing

Address: 2A Lilydale Rd, Healesville VIC 3777

Environmental upgrade: 65.88 kW solar system

Key drivers: Reduce reliance on electricity grid and increase sustainable energy production

 

Problem

Award-winning gin producers Four Pillars have created a Healesville destination with their boutique distillery. G&T lovers off all types flock to the area to try their wide variety of gins created on site. 

According to Co-Founder Cameron McKenzie, the energy needed to run the production stills can be a challenge not just for the business, but for the houses and businesses around them 

“When the production stills are heating up no one in the street can cook a piece of toast, says Cameron.   

It wasn’t just reducing the load on the electricity grid that made solar panels an easy decision. The savings on their energy bill were as irresistible as a cool drink on a hot summer’s day.  

 

Solution

The team at Four Pillars worked with trusted installation partner Cherry Energy Solutions to install a 65.88 kW solar system at their Healesville distillery. They selected black framed panels to better suit the style of the building.

“Cherry Energy Solutions worked with Four Pillars to provide an award winning renewable energy project that complemented the aesthetics of the site,” says Paul Morrissy, Major Projects Manager at Cherry Energy Solutions. “Four Pillars are now energy efficient, CO2 efficient and tax efficient.”

 

Process

Four Pillars chose to access an Environmental Upgrade Agreement to fund their solar system rather than use cash or another type of business loan 

Unlike other business loans, Environmental Upgrade Finance combines low interest and long terms (in this case, 10 years) which means savings can exceed repayments in the very first year.  

Four Pillars entered into an agreement with Yarra Ranges Council and Sustainable Australia Fund to access finance without requiring any upfront cash or capital.  

“It was fast, easy and made great sense,” says Cameron. “We don’t notice the repayments as they come through on our rates notice.”

Yarra Ranges council have been active in helping businesses unlock this innovative form of finance to unlock savings while reducing their carbon footprint.

“An absolute ‘win-win’ for the businesses that have jumped on board,” says Cr Fiona McAllister, Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council. “All have spoken of how simple the process was, which is great.”

 

Outcome

The upgrades are expected to save the business over $12,800 each year and reduce their emissions by 1,600 tCO2-e over the life of the project. That’s the equivalent of powering 185 homes for a year. 

“Environmentally its 100% the right thing to do and we get great feedback from customers who walk through the door,” says Cameron. 

But the team aren’t content to stop there. Four Pillars are currently planning a $6 million expansion, designed by sustainable design firm Breathe Architecture. They plan to incorporate more solar power and other waste reduction initiatives in the new gin hub. 

“If there’s an option anywhere in the business to be more sustainable, we’ll always try,” says Cameron. “This goes for power, water, waste, recyclingWe can always improve in these areas, so when it’s made very easy like our solar system, it becomes a no-brainer.” 

Four Pillars Gin Distillery

“We found the process easy, transparent and rewarding. Like all growing businesses we have various loans and finance arrangements for building works and equipment, this was the easiest and fastest project we have ever worked on.” 

– Cameron McKenzie, Co-Founder, Four Pillars Gin

 

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