Solar Carport

When a pet food manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Bathurst has a $33 million building upgrade underway, the focus was clearly on energy costs. With the goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% and cut energy usage by nearly half, it was logical they would introduce more fuel efficient vehicles.

When they purchased an electric car, they needed somewhere to park the car, as well as to charge its battery. But they also wanted to make a statement so the vehicle would remind staff about their focus on renewable and sustainable energy sources.

On a practical sense, Barnson’s role was to design a carport that could charge the car so it can run solely from the sun's captured energy. The result is a 5.2m cantilever roof that supports a 4kw system and produces more energy than is used by the car, helping the company offset the site’s overall energy needs. It also makes the bold statement the company was after to reinforce its aim to be fully sustainable by 2040, with zero landfill by 2015.

Barnson Designer, Rawdon Stanford, said the client didn’t want to lose any additional car spaces, so there was limited space to position the carport, with a footpath and fence constraining the set-out within the existing carpark.

“We decided the cantilever roof would attract attention to the project and gather support from staff,” Rawdon said. “The 1.7m back-span allows the footpath and fence to remain intact.”

With its headquarters in USA, this company is one of the world’s leading pet food providers and employs more than 35,000 associates to produce 35 internationally-recognised brands of pet food across 50 countries.

“The company aims for world’s best practice in everything they do, so meeting their expectations was important.

“We fostered a strong relationship with the company, based on our ability to meet project deadlines and deliver on budget. This has flowed on to other smaller projects around the facility that needed attention while the major building upgrade progresses.”