Remote campgrounds often pose challenges with power and connectivity, but these hurdles present our teams with opportunities to meet sustainability goals. Two such campgrounds are North Head and Dalmeny, which have seen great success with sustainability initiatives including the installation of solar power and a recycling system.
North Head Campground is a designated primitive campground. Amongst other things, this means it has no 240-volt power supply for electrical equipment or appliances. We spoke with Belgravia Leisure’s Green Team member Richard Lykke about how they overcame these issues while also improving sustainability on the campground.
Richard said, “From contract commencement, in late 2014, office equipment which included a laptop computer, lighting, EFTPOS machines and a mobile phone, were charged by a portable generator.
Generators are typically expensive to purchase, expensive to operate, require ongoing maintenance and are attractive to thieves.”
Richard explained, “Most guests at primitive campgrounds are seeking a peaceful retreat to nature and the concept of running a noisy generator and polluting the environment with CO2 emissions is incompatible with the fundamental concept of a primitive campground.”
In 2017, the team began exploring the possibility of replacing the generator with a solar system to tap into the environmentally friendly, sustainable and free power available from the abundant sunshine in the area.
Inspired largely by the 12-volt solar systems common on modern caravans, camper trailers and boats, and informed by some online research, they purchased a 120-watt solar panel, installed it on the north facing office roof and connected it via a 30 amp regulator to a 105 amp hour deep cycle battery.
Richard said, “This involved some trial and error over time experimenting with different components and specifications, but the end product enabled us to harness an unlimited supply of free, sustainable and environmentally friendly power.
This system has provided ample power to charge and run the office equipment for several years without a hiccup.”
The final piece of the puzzle was installing an inverter to convert the 12-volt power stored in the battery to 240 volts to power 240-volt equipment. This provides sufficient power to operate a printer intermittently.
Dalmeny campground, located just over an hour away from North Head, has also made headway with their sustainability initiatives with the introduction of a bottle, can and glass recycling system. The best news about this story is that all proceeds from the recycling scheme go towards supporting the local Rural Fire Service.