OPINION

Reinvent yourself and help save the planet

Reinvent yourself and help save the planet

About 18 months ago, I quit my office job. I didn't have another job to go to - just a casual suggestion from a mate that I could get some work labouring on solar installations.

Fast forward to today and I work four different jobs - all related to the environment - I'm saving $1200 a year in energy costs at home, and I couldn't be happier.

Back in 2019 I was a corporate quality manager. While the money was good, I was finding it soul destroying.

My real passion lay in saving our environment, and I wanted to see if I could also earn a living from doing it in the process. I live in Ocean Shores, a country town in northern NSW. I started labouring on commercial solar installations, and I now have a permanent job with a small local crew.

It can be a hot and sweaty job, no doubt about that, yet to be able to help build a renewable energy system with my own hands, and contribute to slowing down global warming, is deeply satisfying.

That experience led to a side business cleaning solar panels. Put a solar system on your roof and it should efficiently produce energy for 25 years, but only if you keep it in good working order.

I love seeing the difference cleaning panels can make to the energy output, and the owner's hip pocket.

I also work as a sustainability auditor, assessing businesses' energy and water use and advising them on ways to reduce their costs and carbon footprint.

And finally, I'm head energy coach at Enova Community Energy, Australia's first community-owned energy company that's also a social enterprise, focused on community resilience.

My role there is to help residents reduce their energy consumption, by teaching them how to make their homes more energy efficient.

We learn by doing, so I embarked on my own energy efficiency journey first, retrofitting my poorly-designed house.

By plugging draught holes, better insulating cavities, installing blinds and shade sails and, of course, installing solar, I now save $1200 per year on energy costs.

What's the moral of my story? Well, it's many things, but one key message is that opportunities abound for people who want to switch careers and help their environment at the same time.

The work is there, and it's only going to increase as Australia joins the low-carbon economy. You just need to go looking.

Seb Crangle is an energy efficiency coach and sustainability auditor, solar panel installer and cleaner from Ocean Shores, NSW.

This story Reinvent yourself and help save the planet first appeared on The Canberra Times.