Four Pillars powered by the sun

Tuesday, 09 March, 2021 | Supplied by: Sustainable Australia Fund

Four Pillars has announced its gin production will be powered by renewable energy using a 65.88 kW solar system installed on the roof at its Healesville distillery.

Designed by Cherry Energy Solutions, the solar system is expected to save the business $12,800 each year, and to reduce emissions by 1600 t CO2e over the life of the project.

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 seventh Environmental Upgrade Agreement in the Yarra Ranges Council, with funding provided by Sustainable Australia Fund.

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

Sustainable Australia Fund CEO Scott Bocskay said the finance can be beneficial for businesses, as it can cover 100% 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,” Bocskay said.

“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, which has won International Gin Producer of the Year for two years in a row, said the new solar system is not just about the cost savings. 

“Environmentally it’s 100% the right thing to do and we get great feedback from customers who walk through the door,” said Four Pillars co-founder Cameron McKenzie.

McKenzie said the process of financing and installing the new solar system was easy, transparent and rewarding.

Four Pillars is also planning a $6 million expansion, designed by sustainable design firm Breathe Architecture. It plans 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,” McKenzie said.

“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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