Rana Environmental is a sustainability consultancy offering a broad range of services to commercial and industrial clients, as well as government entities and not-for-profit organisations across NSW.
Rana Environmental is focussed upon improving the sustainability performance of businesses and organisations via the application of resource efficiency measures targeting energy and water consumption, waste generation and material design. The inherent objective of such projects and initiatives is to reduce operational costs, create a point of difference in the market place, engage staff and ultimately embed sustainability as a core business management strategy. Viewed in this context, Rana Environmental is less about solving problems but rather creating opportunities and long-term business resilience.
In recent years, Rana Environmental has placed a greater emphasis on social and community applications of sustainability to market their overall services and presence, and to create a tangible point of difference from competitors.
The jewel in the crown is The Climbing for the Sun (CFTS) Project, the objective of which was to raise $32,400 in community-based funds for a 35kW Solar PV System in order for a local primary school to have the largest solar system on a primary school in the Illawarra region, and more importantly, be the first electricity independent school in the Illawarra region out of 124 schools.
In January 2019, Rana Environmental launched the CFTS Project in partnership with St Brigid’s Primary School, Gwynneville. Parent, and Principal Consultant of Rana Environmental, Levi Gibson pledged to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an effort to raise awareness and stimulate sponsorship and donations from the business and school community. Funds raised were 100% dedicated towards the solar system installation, and Rana Environmental covered all administrative functions and costs associated with the climb.
A total of 41 businesses contributed a collective $23,700, and 51 individual donations amassed $5,385.
Concurrently, the School hosted a student and parent information session about the Project, and broader renewable energy industry, which was followed by a Colour Run obstacle course event. The event mirrored the theme of the CFTS Project; that of working together to address a challenge, and called upon students to fundraise from family, friends and the community. This component of the Project was highly successful in getting students active in their community, highlighted by the $7,515 raised.
Collectively, the Project raised $36,600, 13% more funding than intended.
Levi Gibson fulfilled his obligation to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and summited on the 17th of July 2019.
The installation phase of the Project involved a considerable duration and potential risk for students and staff, so the installation was scheduled for the summer school holiday period. The system was installed as planned and commissioned on the 30th of January 2020.
Coupled with the schools existing 8kW solar system, the added funding allowed the School to increase the solar system capacity by 20%, from 35kW up to 42kW, totalling 50kW and ensuring the school would be virtual electricity independent.
The Project was commemorated with a School community system launch event on the 3rd of March 2020 that included speeches, a blessing of the system and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that includes the phrase “May many more young people come to see this work, to learn about energy that comes from the sun, and about the energy that exists in their community”.
In terms of environmental outcomes, the Project abates approximately 60 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.
An unexpected outcome of the Project that exemplifies its overall success is the take up of solar PV by teachers, parents and local businesses. A combined 168.9kW of solar capacity can be directly attributed to the Project’s exposure.
The overall Project is captured in the Climbing for the Sun Project video.