Friday, April 12, 2013

Quest is on at National Youth Week

Young singers will have the chance to win mentoring with Australian pop idol Mark Holden and country star Paul Costa when Mission Australia’s Urban Quest opens tomorrow.

Urban Quest will be launched during the Battle of the Bands Competition at National Youth Week celebrations in Darwin tomorrow night – right before Skarlett, who were runners-up in the 2011 Mission Australia comp, take to the stage to launch their new EP ‘Life so far’.

Now in its third year, Urban Quest aims to help young people build self-esteem and confidence through music.

Mission Australia NT Director Jillian Smith said it is important Urban Quest is a part of National Youth Week.

“In the last two National Survey of Young Australians, Territory kids have ranked school or study problems and body image among their top personal concerns,” Ms Smith said.

“Urban Quest not only helps improve self-confidence, but it also connects young people with their local community and help services we offer including Youth Connections.

“Urban Quest is more than a singing competition. We hope to touch many young Territorians through the event so they, and their friends, know where to go for help and support.”

Urban Quest is open to singers aged from 10 to 19 years with auditions to be held in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs in May.

This year the competition will culminate with a free Finals Concert under the stars at the Darwin Waterfront on 6 July, where ten Urban Quest finalists will perform their best song on the night to win.

The Urban Quest Finals Concert will be judged by Mark Holden, Paul Costa and Darwin’s own James Mangohig from electronic soul duo Sietta, and feature guest performances by some of Darwin’s favourite young stars.

For more information and entry forms visit or

Swimming pool changes could save as much electricity as a large solar power station

A change to the operation of more than 1,400 swimming pools in Alice Springs could result in large-scale electricity savings and over half a million dollars staying in homeowners’ pockets.

The revelation has been made by Alice Solar City after an analysis of pool ownership in the town and the results of a recent pool pump competition.

Alice Solar City General Manager Sam Latz says that the 1,400 residential swimming pools in the town collectively consume an estimated 3,100 Megawatt Hours (MWh) of electricity per year, costing $880,000.
“That’s over $600 per household each year just to run a pool pump” says Sam Latz.

“If all these pools were to switch to using a ‘variable speed’ pool pump and were operated for maximum savings, we would save 2,000MWh of electricity worth $560,000 per year, along with 1,400 tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions.”

“This is close to the savings being achieved at the Uterne solar power station, located south of the town.”

“To switch all pool owners to using a variable speed pump would be a collective cost of $1.5 million, an investment which would repay itself in savings in less than three years.
“Further, we would reduce peak demand on our electricity network depending when the pumps run, avoiding the need for more expensive investment in power lines and generators.”

Mr Latz says that the savings were evidenced during a recent push to get pool owners to undertake a free Pool Energy Consultation.

“We know that homeowners are keen to find ways to reduce their electricity bills, especially with the recent increase in power prices. So we offered pool owners the chance to have a free Pool Energy Consultation over summer, highlighting that pools typically make up 30% of the power bill.”

“We conducted 42 consultations as part of the competition and consistently found that 50% energy savings could be achieved if a new variable speed pool pump was installed, or a variable speed controller installed onto the existing standard pool pump.”

“We also found that pool pumps are often set to run more than necessary, and pool owners can further reduce their pool-related electricity costs by altering the pool pumping schedule.”

One lucky Alice Springs household Fred Miegel took up the offer of the pool consultation and won the draw to win the competition prize of $1000 towards a variable speed pool pump, which will help them save $400 on their power bills each year.

“It’s nice to know that what we were doing was pretty close to getting maximum energy savings, but with the new pool pump we’ll be able to save even more”, said Mr Miegel.

Sam Latz said, “If all pool owners switched to the variable speed pool pump it would present a great opportunity for not only the town, but for homeowner’s hip-pockets.”