Sustainability program is making Sydney greener and cleaner – and saving money
Sydney is inspiring! According to this article 90% of sydneysiders said they wanted action on climate change; and their Mayor listened and action is what is happening. How can this be emulated in New Zealand? I believe it’s about building resilient communities and societies; being inspired and and imagining alternative ways of being… changing what we do now to create a sustainable world for ourselves and future generations.
The City of Sydney celebrated World Environment Day on a high, having retrofitted 45 of its properties to reduce electricity and water use, slash carbon emissions and generate operational savings of more than $1 million a year.
The two-year retrofit program included Town Hall House, Customs House, swimming pools, community centres, libraries and car parks. It has cut the City’s electricity use by about 6.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) a year – enough to supply about 1000 households annually – and saved an estimated $1.1 million a year in power bills.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the community-driven mission for a greener and cleaner Sydney involved residents, businesses and the City’s own operations taking significant action on global warming.
“More than 90 per cent of Sydneysiders told us they wanted action on climate change. Through our careful planning and investment we are making significant progress,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The City of Sydney is leading through example, getting our own house in order while at the same time doing the research and planning that can unlock clean energy for the rest of our community.”
The City of Sydney is Australia’s first carbon-neutral government and has already reduced carbon emissions in its own buildings and operations by 20 per cent since 2006. The City’s target for emissions reduction for 2016 is 26 per cent below 2006 levels.
“Cities are home to more than half the world’s population and generate up to 75 per cent of carbon emissions, so taking action in our cities is critical in the fight against climate change”, the Lord Mayor said.
“The City’s targets are both ambitious but achievable and most are on track, or ahead of schedule. At the recent Johannesburg conference on climate change, there was high regard for Sydney’s achievements.
“As an organisation, we are working in innovative and imaginative ways to deliver these targets and we are determined to meet them. We are also empowering others to make changes themselves through residential and business programs.
“We’re replacing street lights with LEDs, retrofitting our buildings for water, waste and energy efficiency, installing solar across our buildings as part of Australia’s largest rooftop solar project and increasing the City’s tree canopy by 50 per cent.”
The City is working with businesses to reduce emissions and make significant savings to balance sheets through programs including Smart Green Business, CitySwitch and the Better Buildings Partnership.
The City-led national CitySwitch Green Office energy-efficiency program works with commercial tenants representing 119 offices in Sydney alone. Last year signatories in the City saved 11,200 tonnes of carbon emissions and energy savings valued at $2.5 million in 2013.
During the first four and a half years of the Smart Green Business program, the City assisted more than 400 small, medium and large-sized businesses to save around 7,800 tonnes of carbon emissions, significant energy, water and waste savings, valued at $3 million.
The Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) includes the owners of more than half the commercial office space in the city centre and was established by the City of Sydney. In September 2013, BBP members announced achieving a collective 31 per cent reduction in emissions across their assets since 2005/06, delivering electricity savings valued at more than $25 million annually.
The City’s other sustainability achievements to date include:
Replacing more than 2,500 street lights with more efficient LEDs. When all the City’s 6,450 street lights are replaced, the project will save up to $800,000 in electricity bills and maintenance a year and reduce energy use from street lighting by nearly 45 per cent;
Installing solar photovoltaic panels on major buildings across the city;
Reducing emissions from the City’s fleet of vehicles by 30 per cent;
Planting more than 8,200 new street trees to absorb pollution and provide shade; and
Harvesting and treating 590 million litres of stormwater through a water reuse system at Sydney Park.
The City has the most ambitious emissions reductions target of any Australian government – to cut emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, based on 2006 levels, and take significant action on climate change.
“The global scientific and economic consensus is that the time for action on climate change is now,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our targets echo evidence-based research that shows Australia must dramatically reduce carbon pollution to avoid the worst environmental, social and economic impacts from climate change. Action now builds a resilient society in the future and costs less than fixing the problem later.”
“It’s encouraging that Australia’s carbon target has risen to more than 18 per cent below 2000 levels. However, the Government has said it will remove the price on carbon – the most effective and efficient way to reduce Australia’s pollution – and bring the target back down to an insufficient 5 per cent reduction.
“A lack of action now could expose us to more intense heat waves, droughts, bushfires and cyclones. We need political leadership on this important issue. The City will continue to work with residents, businesses and other levels of government to ensure we remain a global leader in the fight against climate change.”
World Environment Day is an international celebration commemorated every year on 5 June to recognise the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972.
For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Claire Thompson, phone 02 9265 9582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Elaine Kelly on
9265 9201 or email email@example.com