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Making the Switch: Toy Libraries Switch to Solar Energy

For a long time, toy libraries like Cairns Toy Library in Manoora have positively impacted their communities by offering a range of resources that enhance educational outreach programs. Currently, a new initiative is underway to leverage these libraries for a different cause. The Green Libraries Movement aims to turn libraries into strong advocates for climate change by offering educational resources to local communities and exemplifying the use of solar energy and other environmental-friendly technologies. We aspire to commend the toy libraries that have transitioned to solar power and explore how they’re sparking positive transformations for themselves and their communities.

Educating by Example

The urgency to safeguard the environment and build more eco-friendly and accountable approaches for the future is very clear in the present day. Pioneering a more environmentally-friendly future demands courageous leadership and creativity, and libraries, with their capacity to link and interact with their local communities, are in an ideal position to take the lead in such endeavors. Indeed, toy libraries have been proactive in environmental initiatives for years, whether it’s leading the way in heightened recycling practices, constructing in accordance to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, or investigating renewable and alternative energy sources.

The concept of an Eco-friendly Toy Library Movement is not a novel idea, but it has gained escalating traction over the years. The affordability of green construction has increasingly come within reach, enabling numerous toy libraries to undertake sustainable building or renovation without straining their finances. Alternative energy sources have emerged as an integral part of the drive towards ecological accountability. Solar energy, specifically, has provided an economically viable means for toy libraries to lessen their environmental impact. One advantage of solar panels is that for each kilowatt of solar energy installed, the structure’s yearly carbon footprint can be reduced by over 3,000 pounds.

Toy Libraries and their workers are primarily committed to serving their community. They act as educators, motivators, and create an inclusive space for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Their commitment to service is further displayed through the installation of solar panels and the initiation of other eco-friendly measures. This not only educates the public on the significance of green technologies but also sets a motivating example of how anyone can contribute to sustainability by making eco-friendly decisions for their residences and businesses.

Reaping the Rewards

The primary objective of eco-friendly library initiatives such as solar energy installations is not only to lower environmental impacts and improve the library’s efficiency and sustainability but also to offer additional benefits. Toy libraries, which are frequently underfunded, can use this initiative to reduce overhead costs like energy bills and instead channel these funds towards services and supplies. A solar energy system can decrease, and sometimes even completely erase, monthly energy expenses, resulting in savings for libraries even after accounting for initial equipment and installation costs. In fact, some libraries generate so much electricity that they are able to resell the surplus to their utility providers, creating an extra source of income.

How Toy Libraries Are Going Green

Undoubtedly, transitioning to solar energy will incur certain costs. However, a significant part of these initial expenses can be offset by benefits such as incentives and tax deductions, particularly through the Small Scale Renewable Energy Certificates Scheme (STC). Also referred to as the solar rebate, the STC scheme provides a discount at the point of purchase to alleviate the initial cost of installing a new solar electric system. Almost every solar setup is eligible for this STC rebate.

Thankfully, assistance remains accessible. Specifically, the Collective offers support.

Hielscher Electrical provides a practical solution specifically designed for libraries and other nonprofit entities. Using a unique funding model, Hielscher Electrical aids nonprofits in financing and procuring a solar energy system, enabling them to utilise local, state, and national solar benefits. Additionally, it offers a further discount to reduce installation costs. This simplifies the process of obtaining financing and offers essential support for making a solar project feasible.

Far from being a vanishing entity, the toy library is now more essential than before. Emerging from the challenges of gradual resource depletion and the ongoing stress of environmental changes, libraries nationwide are adopting the role of change agents and transforming into pioneers of a more sustainable, solar-powered future. We commend their leadership and the precedent they are setting for their communities. Ultimately, couldn’t there be a better way to serve the public than aiding in the preservation of our shared planet?

Cairns Toy Library

Cairns Toy Library is a unique organisation that functions like a traditional library, but instead of lending books, it provides access to an extensive collection of toys. The main goal of this innovative initiative is to promote sustainability by reducing consumption and waste while offering children in Cairns a diverse range of toys that cater to every age and stage of development.

Cairns Toy Library Solar Power Installation 2023

Operating as a committee-run organization, Cairns Toy Library relies on dedicated volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the library and borrowing sessions. With two borrowing sessions held each week, families and caretakers have ample opportunities to select toys that suit their children’s interests and needs. By fostering an environment of sharing and play, the library encourages community involvement and facilitates learning experiences for young ones.

Being dubbed as the “Toy Library of the Future”, the Cairns Toy Library certainly stays true to this distinguished title. With its main building of 70 square meters and an additional 20 square meter shed, the library was designed to be highly functional. Its architectural design incorporates a spacious storage shed for equipment repairs and a main building, strategically designed to leverage natural light and ventilation. Enhanced rainwater gathering systems supply water for the restrooms and irrigation of the landscape. Plans for electronically-controlled window shades are in place to regulate temperature and lighting effectively. The original construction by Hansen Yuncken, in combination with retro-fitted energy-saving enhancements by Hielscher Electrical contribute to its modern and energy-efficient structure. This makes the leading-edge library in Far North Queensland’s capital one of the most eco-friendly toy libraries nationwide.

The latest addition to the Cairns Toy Library, supplied by Hielscher Electrical Cairns consists of 16 Trina solar panels and a state of the art Sungrow inverter. The 6.64kW solar system has been designed by Brenton Hielscher in collaboration with President Ailsa Horsburgh.

Cairns Regional Council Grants

The Cairns Regional Council has long been an advocate for community-driven initiatives, offering substantial grants to community groups with a vision for a greener and more sustainable Cairns. One such deserving recipient in the 2023 financial year was the Cairns Toy Library, which secured close to $5000 from the council. These funds played a pivotal role in the supply and installation of a 6.64kW Solar Power System, a testament to the library’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainable practices. Over the years, the grants have been instrumental in bolstering various eco-friendly projects across the region. From aiding community groups in installing rooftop solar to delivering bicycle maintenance workshops, establishing new environmental monitoring groups, and facilitating community education on sustainable food production and waste avoidance, the Cairns Regional Council Grants have been an invaluable resource, fostering a culture of sustainability and community empowerment.

Continue reading about the Cairns Toy Library solar energy project here

If you’re aware of a local nonprofit organization that could thrive with the support of the Cairns local grant, or if you’re part of such an organization yourself, we’d love to help. Reach out to us via our ‘Contact Us‘ page, and a friendly representative will be on hand to assist you promptly.

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