Four Pillars distillery now powered by renewable energy

Four Pillars fans can now enjoy their G&T guilt free, knowing the production of their favourite gin is powered by renewable energy.

The award-winning gin producers are making moves towards a greener future with a 65.88 kW solar system installed on the roof at their Healesville distillery. The system, designed by Cherry Energy Solutions, is expected to save the business $12 800 each year, and reduce their emissions by 1600 tCO2-e over the life of the project. That’s the equivalent of powering 185 homes for a year!

The system was financed through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement, a form of government-enabled finance for upgrade works that improve a building’s environmental performance. This is the 7th Environmental Upgrade Agreement in the City of Yarra Ranges, with funding provided by Sustainable Australia Fund.

“It’s an absolute ‘win-win’ for the businesses that have jumped on board,” said Cr Fiona McAllister, Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council.

Sustainable Australia Fund CEO Scott Bocskay said the finance is hugely beneficial for businesses, as it covers 100 per cent of the cost for energy efficiency upgrades without requiring any upfront capital.

“It puts cash back in the pockets of the business owners. With terms of up to 20 years and low interest rates, the repayments are so low that the business is often making money from their upgrades from the very first year,” said Mr Bocskay.

“Environmental Upgrade Finance just makes so much sense for local business. They get to cut their carbon emissions without having to outlay any costs whatsoever, and they even improve the value of their building.”

Four Pillars was established in 2013 by co-founders Cameron McKenzie, Matt Jones and Stuart Gregor. What started with a single copper still has now grown to become a household name and won International Gin Producer of the Year for two years running.

Co-Founder Cameron McKenzie said the new solar system isn’t just about the cost savings.

“Environmentally it’s 100 per cent the right thing to do and we get great feedback from customers who walk through the door,” said Mr McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie said the process of financing and installing the new solar system was easy, transparent and rewarding. 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. This goes for power, water, waste, recycling. We can always improve in these areas, so when it’s made very easy like our solar system, it becomes a no-brainer.”

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