The Fawkner cogeneration plant would turn natural gas into electricity to power the centre and nearby community facilities. Heat produced during electricity generation would be captured and used to heat the centre's pool. In conventional power stations, this heat is wasted. It is expected the cogeneration plant will reduce the centre's carbon emissions by more than 45 per cent and result in annual cost savings of about $60,000. The projected establishment cost of the pilot is about $450,000. Initial seed capital will be provided by MEFL from $500,000 in funding from Sustainability Victoria and a further $105,000 from the Federal Government's Solar Cities program. Under the pilot project a steering committee would monitor the project to maximise energy efficiency during the “payback period” – the time it takes for the return on an investment to "repay" the sum of the original investment - as well as manage the generation of carbon offsets. Energy cost savings would be ploughed back into additional green infrastructure projects.
Lessons learned from the pilot project would help shape future green energy projects. Under the model, both Council and MEFL would work together to consider the viability of introducing carbon neutrality to other Council facilities through green technologies and the reinvestment model. Moreland Mayor Oscar Yildiz said: “Our business-as-usual projections show that the Council‟s energy costs could increase in real terms by between around one-and-a-half and two times by 2020. “Moreland Council is keen to explore energy saving options which can reduce our carbon emissions and save our ratepayers money, not just for today, but for decades to come. “This proposed pilot at the Fawkner Leisure Centre precinct would represent the first time a Victorian Council and not-for-profit sustainable energy organisation have worked together to create a carbon neutral precinct.” MEFL chief executive Paul Murfitt said: “By locating energy supply with demand, decentralized energy systems avoid energy losses, in particular waste heat, and reduce the need for additional large scale infrastructure investment."