Last night was the grand reopening of my friend Lana’s ridiculously hip inner north bar. The first thing that struck me – aside from the floor-to-ceiling mural featuring a chorus line of crocodiles, of course – was the lighting. I think the main reason I noticed it was just that it’s different from what I remembered; it had been the one thing that I’d found off-putting about the old setup (that’s if you don’t count the taxidermied llama at the foot of the staircase).

Anyway, when I mentioned the improvement in the lighting, Lana launched into an outburst of enthusiasm for light emitting diodes. Turns out she’s super sold on this stuff since she realised she could take down her energy bill by something like 86% with a commercial LED lighting system. Melbourne, according to her, is taking the energy efficiency game by the horns, and everyone who’s anyone is replacing fluorescent/halogen/incandescent lights with LEDs.

As it turns out, Lana has also rigged the place to solar. I had no idea, as she hadn’t advertised this at all. I told her that this seemed like a missed marketing opportunity, but she told me that she didn’t want to bignote it because all businesses should be moving in that direction. Commercial solar energy generation, she reckons, is going to be the norm within the next few years. We’ll see, but she might be onto something.

The solar panels on the roof will advertise themselves, anyway, so she might also be onto something with her whole thing of being low key about her venue’s enhanced sustainability. I’m really keen to hear more about it, though. Lana mentioned something called an Environmental Upgrade Agreement; what’s that about, and can I get in on it? How much did the whole thing cost? Did she receive any government subsidies or grants? I’ll have to grill her. She did infer that the projected savings would stack up well against the initial outlay.