Client: Central Tablelands pet food company

Project: Solar Carport, near Bathurst NSW

Barnson’s Role: Architectural and structural design services

Time frame: Completed 2014

A pet food manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Bathurst was undertaking a $33 million building upgrade. The focus was clearly on energy costs, with a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 40%, and cut energy usage by nearly half. The company aims to be fully sustainable by 2040, with zero landfill by 2015.

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

When the company purchased an electric car, they needed somewhere to park the car, as well as to charge the battery. But they also wanted to make a statement so the vehicle would remind staff about their focus on renewable and sustainable energy sources. A carport for the new electric car that provided shelter, and ran a 4kw solar power system needed to be designed.

Barnson’s role was to design a carport that could charge the car so it can run solely from photovoltaic energy. The result is a 5.2m cantilever roof that supports a 4kw system. This produces more energy than is used by the car, helping the company offset the site’s overall energy needs.

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. The 1.7m back-span allowed the footpath and fence to remain intact, and the cantilever roof attracts attention to the project.

The relationship built with the company has flowed on to other smaller projects around the facility that needed attention while the major building upgrade progresses.