Founded in May 2014, the Hub Foundation Castlemaine Ltd is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It was set up to help reduce CO2 emissions in the region through a range of grassroots community projects.
Our largest project to-date is MASH, short for More Australian Solar Homes. MASH is a community solar bulk-buy project which has cut emissions by around 4,700 tonnes a year (equal to around 900 cars off the road) with over 830 solar PV installations accounting for more than 13,500 solar panels installed since September 2014. This is saving MASH customers around $640,000 each year off their electricity bills.
As part of the MASH community dividend, six free (and/or subsidised) solar systems have been installed on schools and buildings used by community groups locally with a recent installation being a 5.4kW system for the Lions Club in Castlemaine.
The MASH project is recognised a leading example of the community solar bulk-buy model across Australia. See the MASH model described in the publication by the Coalition for Community Energy 2017 entitled ‘Small-Scale Community Solar Guide version 2.‘
Other projects organised by the Hub Foundation include Plastic Bag Free Castlemaine, an Evening with Tim Flannery at the Castlemaine Town Hall in September 2015, Ride-to-Work brekkies and a plan to increase the number of vegetable wicking beds in Castlemaine. The Hub Foundation has also worked with Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) to support local community groups apply for grant funding under the Federal Grant Solar Towns Scheme.
The chair, Neil Barrett, has worked as an economist, state coordinator of Friends of the Earth (FOE), CEO of Video Education Australasia, and founder and inaugural chair of the local sustainability group, MASG. He has also co-authored a book on uranium mining and produced many educational and public interest videos. He is currently manager of the Hub building.
Heather Barrett has a background in both business and community development. In 1994 she won the inaugural Victorian Business Woman of the Year. Currently, she is a committee member of the Growing Abundance Project, coordinator of the Hub Plot community garden and treasurer of the Foundation.
Mark Carter has worked as a graphic designer in Melbourne and Castlemaine for mainly public sector clients, NGOs and trade unions. Since working with Neil at FOE over 40 years ago he has maintained an interest in political and environmental campaigning and now contributes to the Foundation’s print-based marketing.
Jo Kaptein has been with the Hub Foundation since mid 2014 initially as project officer and, since November 2017, as executive officer. With a Masters in Marketing and a successful track record of managing large marketing departments in commercial software and publishing in the UK, she has been instrumental in the success of the MASH community solar bulk-buy. She is responsible for all aspects of MASH including supplier & product selection, community engagement, partnerships and marketing.
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Deane Belfield is an engineer/entrepreneur, having worked for, or consulted to, major bluechip companies around the world. He is the principal of ECO2SYS which brings businesses together to create synergistic, industrial, ecology and renewable energy solutions, and also a director of Regenerative Australian Farmers (RAF).
Geoff Crosby is the principal of Crosby Architects and director of the Castlemaine Institute. He has a strong interest in sustainable housing design and building, in helping solve issues related to energy and water use in the community, and in the arts. One of his current projects is the development of a carbon neutral eco village.
Taryn Lane works for Embark Australia, a not-for-profit set up to kickstart the community energy sector in Australia. She has also worked for Australia’s first community-owned cooperative wind farm, Hepburn Wind, for over five years and is a founding director of the Australian Wind Alliance and an adviser to the Coalition for Community Energy.
Damien Moyse, the Alternative Technology Association’s Policy & Research Manager, leads ATA’s policy and advocacy work, covering the areas of energy efficiency, demand management, renewable energy and carbon markets, water conservation and sustainable transport. He also oversees ATA’s portfolio of research and consulting projects.
Jodi Newcombe is director of Carbon Arts, an organisation exploring the frontiers of art, science and ecology. She founded Carbon Arts following an international career as an environmental economist and sustainability consultant. Jodi’s experience in natural resource management and policy design, green technology and low-carbon urban development inform her current work.
Dr David Stratton is a retired IT lecturer and engineer. He is on the board of Renewable Newstead and has a long history of involvement in climate change issues. As David says `I used to teach computer networks; I’m now involved in community networks and the Hub Foundation is an important part of the local network’.
Terry White has been working creatively in the area of conservation and climate change for many years. He established the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance – the first of many alliances involving local councils in Victoria – in 2000 and later worked with the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action in Melbourne.
Memberships and Affiliation
The Hub Foundation is a member of Environment Victoria, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Victorian Wind Alliance and Solar Citizens and is affiliated with Friends of the Earth Melbourne.