2023 Sept BGD Gib Wettenhall

Next up at Ballarat Green Drinks - Thursday 21 September 6:30-8pm - Gib Wettenhall OAM will talk about biorich plantation and sustainable buiding with timber.
An award winning author, with a background in journalism, editing and law, Gib turned to tree growing, managing a biorich plantation at Lal Lal. 
The biorich plantation optimises habitat for wildlife while offering resources to landowners for income diversification.
A founding member of the Ballarat Region Treegrowers (BRT) and editor of Australian Forest Growers magazine for 14 years, Gib is committed to sustainable forestry and the ethos of going local and going slow, to minimise energy use and emissions.
As Secretary of BRT, Gib has been involved in a 2021 project fund raising for and overseeing the construction of a 21st century Aussie drop-slab hut by young wood craftsman, Lachie Park, the old slow 'green wood' way, without nails, deploying a minimum of machinery and choosing natural unprocessed products. 
Register free for September Green Drinks now at Trybooking.com/CEXYC

MD 2023Getting off Gas.

As something many of us are still struggling with at the domestic level, it was great to have this announcement from the Victorian government last month. 

Victoria becomes the first state and second jurisdiction in Australia to ban gas in new builds - as of 2024. The ACT made the acommitment a year earlier, ending gas in new builds from January 2023 and ending all gas by 2045. The Victorian government's decision comes as a new study of Australian Gas Plants reveals methane emissions greatly exceed those forecast in environmental impact statements. While methane doesn't last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is estimated to be 80 times more potent and to account for 30 per cent of warming since the industrial revolution. Sector specific methane targets, plus tax incentives, are among approaches being taken across the world to get everyone on board. A good article on the Study in Renew Economy on 8 August.

'Infrared thermographer Théophile Humann-Guilleminot found 101 leaks and methane venting at 15 of 38 sites visited in New South Wales (NSW), and at 20 of 42 sites visited in Queensland. At some sites there were multiple emissions points from a single piece of equipment ...

Venting, where gas is deliberately released, was found at four of seven Santos coal seam gas wells surveyed in the Pilliga/Bibblewindi forest in NSW, and at the APA-operated compressor station at the Wallumbilla Gas Hub.

“I have personally undertaken methane fieldwork in eight countries and filmed at more than 250 fossil fuel sites. Doing this work in Australia was on another level,” he says.

“In times of heated debates on energy cost, seeing all this gas wasted and supercharging climate change is deeply worrying.”                                                                                                                     

Rachel Williamson in Renew Economy 8 August https://reneweconomy.com.au/methane-pollution-pouring-out-of-australian-gas-infrastructure-study-finds/

Implementing the Ballarat Zero Emissions Plan - a key BREAZE Inc. objective for 2023

Read more: President's August Report

Screen Shot 2023 08 08 at 4.07.30 pmBREAZE Inc. commissioned this guide, which is produced by Hepburn Energy, as part of its work for the Grampians Community Power Hub – to facilitate ongoing community energy projects across the central and western Victoria. The Grampians Community Power Hub Program, funded by the State Government. 

The purpose of this guide is to inform local people and groups in the regions, about community energy, appropriate technologies, models, and processes for delivery.

The guide provides:

-  context and background information on the energy system
-  information on technology and models
-  examples and case studies of community energy projects
-  advice on how to deliver a project
-  and links to other resources

A great opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of growing your own seedlings with Screen Shot 2023 08 02 at 5.51.38 pmBallarat's gardening expert, John "Ditchy" Ditchburn! Ditchy draws on years of local knowledge and gardening experience to bring you techniques and advice that are specific to Ballarat gardens.


Learn how to grow your own veggies from seed and how to grow seedlings that not only survive, but thrive! Now is the perfect time to get prepped for Spring!

Join in person at the Ballarat South Community Hub (behind Pheonix College) or join the session online here: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85286948506

It will also be streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. The recording will then be posted and available to watch, rewatch and share.Smart Living Ballarat is a series of free monthly workshops, put on in collaboration between BREAZE and the City of Ballarat.

Join host Ellen Burns on the 4th Wednesday of every month to learn new skills for living smarter!


2023  BGD Auugust

 Next up at Ballarat Green Drinks on 17 August at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St South - Stephanie Davison of Gardens for Wildlife Ballarat will be talking on Creating a Garden Haven for Little Birds

Birds add colour and movement to our gardens and their antics never fail to fascinate. When asked, people always say they would like to attract more birds - especially wrens, robins, spinebills, honeyeaters and thornbills. It’s simple to make spaces in your garden where the little birds can feel safe and thrive. In the process you’ll attract other wildlife to your patch and enjoy the many benefits of gardening for wildlife.

Stephanie is a long-term volunteer at the City of Ballarat Indigenous Plant Nursery, an active member of the Wattle Flat Pootilla Landcare Group and a founding member of Gardens for Wildlife Ballarat. Her talk is based on the practical experience of growing and observing indigenous plants and animals in gardens and natural landscapes around Ballarat. 

Come and join us for drinks/dinner. Great talks by local experts followed by Q&A. Green Dirinks is a great way to network, meet people and learn about what's happening in Ballarat. 6:30-8pm.

Freebook via https://www.trybooking.com/1000430

EE Energy workshop TWITTER 2If you attended one of the Home Energy Efficiency Workshops at Ballarat Tool Library, Barkly Square please come along to the Review Session on 4 September 10-11:00 am - Training Room 101 at Barkly Square.

It's an opportunity to ask follow-up questions and share what you've have done - and to give us feedback on the workshops. Morning tea will be served. First timers also welcome. All FREE Trybooking.com/CJTRY

 These workshops are intended as a pilot with further funding to be sought later this year for a longer program for 2024

Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance (BZEA) of which BREAZE Inc. is a member has organised the workshops, which are being funded  by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA). 2023  EE Workshop 1



MD 2023A new world record

Some alarming news this month, which needs to be acknowledged in face of society's business as usual approach. Climate change made international news headlines with the first week of July declared  the hottest on world record. The Times reported: “The WMO said that at least three datasets – run by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the University of Maine and the European Union’s space programme, Copernicus – indicated that preliminary temperature records had been broken.” 

A key factor in the dramatic temperature rises is the anticipated El Nino – which results from sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, warming well above the average, causing a shift in atmospheric circulation. To find out more about why this is happening listen to this week's Energy Insiders podcast with Monash University researcher, Kimberley Reid

In addition to all the environmental and economic damage arising from global warming, the Carbon Brief observes the implications for public health noting: "And there is widespread media coverage of a new study, which finds that extreme heat during the summer of 2022 was linked to more than 61,000 heat-related deaths across Europe."

Implementing the Ballarat Zero Emissions Plan 

On the home front in Ballarat, BREAZE Inc. volunteers have been focusing on events to help local residents move off gas and make their homes more energy efficient to take advantage of that great synergy, fighting two crises at once – cutting energy bills and GHG emissions

My All Electric Home - Forum 3: Building Better Homes for the Future

My All Electric Home: the third and final forum in the Building Better Homes for the Future series, which was held on 2 July at Mercure Ballarat2023   My All Electric Home was ably hosted by Ellen Burns, with guest speaker, Lloyd Heathfield, Project Officer with the Yarra Energy Foundation. Lloyd, who comes from a background as a solar installer, gave an enthusiastic and detailed account of the economics, technicalities  and compelling reasons to transition to an all-electric homes. With the Victorian government committed to turning off the gas by 2035 this transition is something we should all be planning for. The upside being that there are terrific cost savings to be made, particularly for those with lots of rooftop solar. New smart electric technology including hot water heat pumps and induction cooktops use a fraction of the energy of their conventional counterparts. Gas, as we now know is not a cleaner option than coal, as was once widely promulgated. Switching it off and going all electric is probably the best thing we can do for the environment. On this theme Friends of the Earth have an online pledge - Getting off gas - that people might like to support.

Special thanks to Sally Missing, coordinator of the Building Better Homes for the Future forums, and by all who worked with her - Sue Broadway, Lydia Mzondo, and Pat Hockey – for a very successful and timely event. My All Electric Home drew an attendance of 117. Many thanks too, to Councillor Belinda Coates for attending the forum and for her introductory words and acknowledgement of traditional owners. BREAZE gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Ballarat and  Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

24 July - How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

EE Energy workshop TWITTER 2

From 24 July - 11 September, the BZE Alliance, of which BREAZE is a member, will be running six workshops aimed particularly at helping vulnerable residents and low income households to make their homes more thermally efficient. 

Funded by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, the workshops will be led by two accredited Victorian Energy Scorecard assessors, Dale Boucher and Tim Drylie. Participants from the first six sessions will be invited to return for a Review session – September 4 & 11 – for follow-up questions, sharing their successes and problems and completing a review form for the organisers. Content will cover cheap fixes, energy efficient appliances and government rebates and subsidy schemes. The workshops are part of a pilot, with further funding to be sought later this year for a longer program for 2024.

It is intended that everyone will leave with a plan. Participants should bring recent energy bills. Trybooking.com/CJTRY

10 August - How to Make Your Business Energy Efficient: Smart Living Ballarat @ B31TWITTER

BREAZE Inc. is also running a workshop  in energy efficiency for Ballarat business owners, as part of Commerce Ballarat's B31 Festival that runs throughout the month of August. The workshops will be hosted by local businesswoman, Ellen Burns and led by Dale Boucher, an accredited Victorian Energy Scorecard Assessor. 

This will be an interactive session in which participants are again asked to bring recent energy bills to better enable them to develop an energy efficiency plan to suit their building/space and budget. Trybooking.com/CJRAL


Monthly Events

20 July: Ballarat Green Drinks – Ronnie Reissenweber, award winning building designer, Environ Design

Building Designqrcode Ballarat Green Drinks 2023   Bunch of Grapes Hoteler, Ronnie Reissenweber, will discuss the principles of environmentally conscious design in new builds and renovation. 

Ronnie has a Masters in Architecture from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, where as a registered architect he was a prize winner in an architectural competition for sustainable design in 1993.
Migrating to Australia in 1999, he went on to establish his business, Environ Design, in Port Arlington.

Working as a builder/designer he won an award for sustainable building design in 2011 –  the HIA Western Victoria Regional Housing Awards: Best Display Home up to $250.000 for a display home in Leopold (Vic.) and was also recognised by the BDAV for the design of a dwelling with a 10-star energy rating. Ronnie moved his current office in Geelong in 2017.

6:30-8:00pm, Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St, South, Ballarat - Join us for drinks/dinner and great talks and conversation.  Free book via trybooking.com/CEXYC 

26 July: Smart Living Ballarat Learn how to use the Thermal Imaging Camera with Melissa Waight: Ballarat Central Library: Town Hall ground floor - 12:30-1:30 pmScreen Shot 2023 07 12 at 1.49.58 pm

Many old Ballarat houses don't have much insulation. Often there are cracks in floorboards, window frames and doorways that are hard to find and address.

A thermal imaging camera can help you identify the weak spots in your house's insulation and draught proofing. Ballarat's Central Library now has thermal imaging cameras available for loan.

Join in this session in person at the Central Library pop up at Town Hall or join the session online here: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85286948506    This session will also be live-streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page and will then be posted and available to watch, rewatch and share. Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page

Smart Living Ballarat is a program of free monthly workshops, a collaboration between BREAZE Inc. and the City of Ballarat.

Board Matters

As noted in an e-newsletter last month on 21 June, a Special General Meeting of BREAZE Inc. will be held on Monday 17 July at 5:30pm in the Function Room, the Royal Mail Hotel, 290 Albert St Sebastopol, to consider and vote on the following Special Resolution: 

That BREAZE Inc. establishes a new category of membership – BREAZE Inc. Business membership – for which the annual fee will be set at $100.

The Special General Meeting will be held immediately prior to the monthly July Board meeting to which members are also welcome to attend and join Board members for dinner. 

PLEASE NOTE: To be able to attend and vote at this Special General Meeting you will need to be a paid up member of BREAZE or a have Life Membership.

BREAZE Inc. Board meetings are held on the third Monday of the month and alternate between Zoom and face to face meetings over dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel in Sebastopol. If you are a paid up member of BREAZE Inc. you are welcome to join us. If you would like to volunteer with us we would love to hear from you. Please email and I will forward you link/details. 


Dr Mary Debrett
President, June 2023                                      


How to make the switch and save on costs

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Where: Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre. 613 Main Rd, Golden PointWhen:  Sunday 2nd July 2- 3.30 pm        Guest speaker:  Lloyd Heathfield Yarra Energy FoundationThis free forum will cover how to transition to or build an all-electric home including the costs, savings and comfort benefits; as well as the steps needed to make the switch. An opportunity to hear about practical solutions, costing and advice on purchasing and discounts including solar panels, heating and cooling, electric hot water, induction cooktops and provision for electric vehicles.To register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/my-all-electric-home-how-to-make-the-switch-and-save-on-costs-tickets-653611849637Or contact: Sponsored by:The City of BallaratDEECA. Department of Energy and Environment and Climate Action

MD 2023CoB 2023/24 DRAFT BUDGET

BREAZE Inc. was well represented in submissions to the City of Ballarat’s 2023/24 Draft Budget and at the Unscheduled Council meeting on 7 June, when those who made submissions were invited to address Council about their submissions. Board members Sally Missing and Sue Broadway made personal submissions along with myself as president, representing the Board and BREAZE Inc. membership. The BREAZE submission – available as a downloadable pdf on the website – urges Council to allocate more funding to climate action and to implement Actions in the Ballarat Zero Emissions (BZE) Plan. We offered a number of practical suggestions we hope Council will take on board as ways of both helping to cut community GHGs and householders’ energy bills – addressing both the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis simultaneously:

  • Collaboration on a community wide Home Electrification Program – promoting bulk buys for rooftop solar, hot water heat pumps, home batteries and reverse cycle air conditioning 
  • Collaboration with the BZE Alliance on a pilot workshop program to assist low income households with energy efficiency retrofitting 
  • A BZE/Sustainability Awards Program that would make awards on a sector-by-sector basis (neighbourhoods, schools, not-for-profits, commerce, industry) in collaboration with community groups to raise public awareness of the BZE 2030 target and Plan
  • Collaboration on a community-wide communications program informing citizens of  the full range of rebates and subsidies available for homeowners and renters to make homes more energy efficient and cut GHG emissions
  • Additional Council staff to assist vulnerable residents and low income households access low interest loans to finance energy efficient resources

BZE Check in
On 8 June the City of Ballarat’s Sustainable Environment team held an event at the Ballarat Soccer Centre for the community to share their work to date on cutting GHGs and driving the aspirational 2030 net zero target – endorsed by the City in 2021 and mapped in the BZE 2030 Plan endorsed in October 2022.

The diverse range of presenters at the Check-In included: BREAZE inc., Laminex, McCain, Smart Living Ballarat, Committee for Ballarat, Community Bank Buninyong, Ballarat Dark Sky Community, Schneider Electric, Trunorth Projects, Ballarat Tool Library, Sustainability Victoria, and Ballarat Grammar.


Members of the newly formed Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance BZEA copyattended the Check-In event.

The Alliance is working towards a pilot for a series of energy efficiency workshops to assist local residents cut their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Member groups are: BREAZE Inc, Extinction Rebellion Ballarat, Ballarat Tool Library, Ballarat Repair Café, Ballarat Permaculture Group and Hidden Orchard. Any other groups that wish to join should get in touch.



Over 120 grade 5&6 students from across greater Ballarat entered the BREAZE Inc. Children’s Writing Competition this year. Addressing the 2023 World Environment Day theme –Solutions to Plastic Pollution – their writing demonstrated their concerns for the environment. Some pondered what favourite wild places might be like for their grandchildren, while most noted the importance of the 3x Rs – refuse, reuse and recycle and endorsed a host of sustainable practices that are becoming a part of their lives. 

BREAZE Inc. thanks those teachers who took up the opportunity to make the environment a class conversation and we congratulate all children who were awarded. See our article online for a full list of winners.2023 Writing Comp

BREAZE also participated in another primary school event, ‘Sustainability in Schools Pilot program’, organised by Inga Hamilton of Sustainability Victoria and Natalie Gero, City of Ballarat and held at St James Primary School on I June. Alongside City of Ballarat staff, Daniel Siemensma and Quentin Gay I presented for BREAZE Inc. on the need for a clean energy transition and on the benefits of renewable energy. The presentation was followed by a general discussion in which the children asked questions they had prepared in class beforehand.  Great to see collaborations like this to assist children to become more informed and hopefully more resilient in the face of climate change.




My All Electric Home: the third and final forum in the Building Better Homes for the Future series will be held on 2 July, 2-3:30pm at Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre, 613 Main Rd, Golden Point. Screen Shot 2023-06-16 at 15.01.32.png

In this free forum, guest speaker, Lloyd Heathfield of Yarra Energy Foundation will discuss how to build or transition to an all-electric home – the costs, savings and comfort benefits. 

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/my-all-electric-home-how-to-make-the-switch-and-save-on-costs-tickets-653611849637              Or contact: 

20 July: Ballarat Green Drinks – Ronnie Reissenweber, Building Designer, Environ Design

6:30-8:00pm, Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St, South, Ballarat - Join us for drinks/dinner and great talks and conversation.

Screen Shot 2023 06 16 at 15.56.53Sustainable and energy efficient housing design, are topics we hear a lot nowadays. Not only to save the environment, but also for more comfort in the home, and lower energy bills. Almost everybody is aspiring to achieve it at some level.

Building Designer, Ronnie Reissenweber, from environ design, will try, by using examples and his
experience over 30 years, to explain some of the principles, behind the concepts of environmental conscious design in new build and renovations .

Free book via trybooking.com/CEXYC

May 24: Smart Living Ballarat Zero Plastics Ballarat Adam Slater from Zero Plastics Australia

Venue: BRMC "Welcome Room" at Barkly Square 12:30-1:30 pm

Screen Shot 2023 06 16 at 15.59.50Get inspired for Plastic Free July! Ellen Burns will be speaking with Adam Slater from Zero Plastics Australia about the inventive uses they have found for plastic that can't otherwise be recycled. This session will be interactive, engaging and educational, looking at the impact of plastic waste on our planet and the importance of sustainability and a circular economy. Every attendee to the in-person session will receive a free keyring made from recycled bottle lids! Join in person at the Welcome Room in BRMC at Barkly Square or join the session on line here: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85286948506

This session will also be streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page and will then be posted and available to watch, rewatch and share. Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page

Smart Living Ballarat is a program of free monthly workshops, a collaboration between BREAZE Inc. and the City of Ballarat.


Our next Board meeting will be held on 17 July at 5:30 pm at the Function Room at the Royal Mail Hotel , 290 Albert St,  Sebastopol. Prior to the monthly meeting we will be holding a Special General Meeting to consider and vote on a Special Resolution to introduce a new class of BREAZE membership - BREAZE Business Membership. All BREAZE Inc. members are invited to attend. You will also receive a separate notice about this via our e-newsletter.

BREAZE Inc. Board meetings are held on the third Monday of the month and alternate between Zoom and face to face meetings over dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel in Sebastopol. If you are a paid up member of BREAZE Inc. you are welcome to join us. If you would like to volunteer with us we would love to hear from you. Please email and I will forward you link/details. 

All the best,


Dr Mary Debrett
President, June 2023