The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) is a national collaboration between key industry stakeholders. PICAC was formed in 2009 at the height of the millennium drought in Australia. The purpose of the PICAC is to train and upskill the plumbing, fire protection and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) workforce with a focus on sustainability and innovation. PICAC understands the role of plumbing as key to economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Skilling-up on green plumbing
The first PICAC training facility opened in Brunswick, Merri-bek in April 2009, with the primary purpose to provide courses in green plumbing, in order to address the skills shortage in sustainable plumbing within the industry at the time. PICAC has now expanded nationally with five campuses around Australia. Over the years PICAC has evolved and now offers courses supporting the entire career life-cycle of plumbing and has become a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in training for the industry.
Example of innovative design and sustainable plumbing
Water saving and recycling technologies are an important aspect of the facility. The original Brunswick campus in Merri-bek is a 5-Star Green Star rated building and is a working example of innovative design and sustainable plumbing. The facility incorporates a range of energy and water efficient systems including a co-generation unit, air handling units, dry cooler, solar storage tanks, chilled beams and absorption chillers all controlled and incorporated into a Building Management System (BMS) to create an automated energy efficient building.
A demonstration Green Plumbing House is housed in the Albert St building as a working example of the water and energy efficiencies that can be achieved.
Training the next generation of plumbers
Through their use of solar panels, energy efficient technologies and automation procedures, PICAC at Brunswick significantly reduces their carbon emissions. PICAC facilities demonstrate energy and water savings but importantly, the facilities also provide a working example of the types of technologies and innovations that the students will work with in the near future.
“We want the technology to be familiar to our students so that they can champion the use of these technologies out in industry,” says Shayne La Combre, CEO of PICAC.
His advice for other organisations looking to undertake sustainability improvements? “If you are looking at your plumbing systems for improving your sustainability, ensure you get good advice from competent providers and always use a licensed/registered plumber for any work. The cost savings that you may find from reduced water, electricity and gas bills are incentive enough to pursue your sustainability goals, so go for it!”