As Australia enters a dangerous new era of extreme weather with potentially crippling financial consequences, the City of Sydney is leading the nation in the battle against climate change by slashing its carbon emissions.
Sydney is already starting to feel the effects of average global temperatures rising after the city recorded its hottest day ever on 18 January peaking at 46.4°C – while across the country, January 2013 was the hottest month on record with an average temperature of 40.3°C.
Leading scientists predict south-eastern Australia, including many of our largest population centres, is at increased risk from severe extreme weather events – heatwaves, bushfires, heavy rainfall, severe storms and sea-level rise.
Leading insurance company Insurance Australia Group has warned that without stronger action to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate the cost of insurance is very likely to rise.
Some locations could become too expensive to insure, which could have crippling financial consequences for home owners.
The City of Sydney aims to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 – one of the most ambitious targets set by any government in Australia. To reach this target the City is undertaking a range of initiatives including:
- installing energy efficient street and park lights
- rolling out Australia’s largest building-mounted solar panel project
- energy efficiency retrofits of major buildings
- enabling finance for a $26 million low-carbon system at Frasers Central Park development on Broadway
- helping businesses to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills through energy efficiency programs.
Australia’s largest building mounted solar panel project
A rollout of 5,500 solar panels across 30 sites is part of the City’s plan to produce 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The sites across the city include:
- Redfern Oval grandstand
- Sydney Park Pavilion
- Central bus interchange
- Paddington and Glebe Town Halls
- community centres.
The solar panels will produce a total peak electrical capacity of 1.25 megawatts and cover a combined area the size of 2 football fields. They will reduce the City’s annual carbon footprint by as much as 2,250 tonnes each year – the equivalent of taking 740 cars off the road.
Sydney’s LED lighting revolution
Sydney joins Berlin, Barcelona and Los Angeles in the light-emitting diode (LED) revolution to provide brighter lighting in parks and streets while slashing electricity costs and carbon emissions.
Sydney is the first city in Australia to install the new LED lights in streets and parks across the city centre.
Bicentennial Park in Glebe was the first park to have the new LED lights installed as part of the City’s $7 million 3-year roll out of the green technology.
The LED lights, which use 40% less energy than traditional lights have already been installed in main streets of the City including:
- George Street
- Castlereagh Street
- Elizabeth Street
- King Street
- Market Street
- Oxford Street
- Glebe Point Road
- Darlinghurst Road.
The replacement of 6,450 conventional lights is expected to save the City nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs.
In a public survey conducted by the City during the trial more than 90% of people reported finding the new lighting more appealing while three-quarters said it actually improved visibility.
City helps businesses to cut emissions and energy bills
Major construction, banking and property companies are joining forces with the City to make buildings more energy efficient, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy bills.
CitySwitch, founded by the City, is Australia’s flagship office energy-efficiency program, with member businesses accounting for nearly 2 million square metres of commercial office space. The program began in Sydney in 2005 and went national in 2008.
It has grown by 20% in NSW during the past year, with 157 tenancies now signed-up covering a total of 969,600 square metres of office space.
Smart Green Business
Nearly 300 Sydney businesses have saved $1.3 million on utility and waste bills as well as cutting their environmental footprints through the City’s Smart Green Business program.
After 3 years, participating businesses have shown significant environmental and financial benefits of making their operations more energy-efficient and sustainable.
Each business has saved around $4,686 in bills thanks to energy, water and waste audits, and after receiving advice on how to make their operations more sustainable.
Energy Efficiency Retrofit of City Buildings
A $6.9 million retrofit of 45 City properties has been completed that will reduce energy and water use by 20% while saving more than $1 million a year on bills.
The buildings will be fitted with energy efficient lighting, air-conditioning and heating, centralised power management systems for computers, aerated tap and shower heads, cistern modifiers in toilets and waterless urinals.
City enables finance for low carbon energy at Central Park development
Some 4,000 future residents of the Central Park development being built by Frasers Property on the former Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) site will be supplied with low-carbon energy under an innovative finance agreement enabled by the City.
Eureka Funds Management will provide Frasers Property with $26.5 million while the City collects the loan repayments as a charge on the land, in what is called an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA).
Frasers will use the EUA funding to install two-megawatts (MW) of trigeneration capacity, running on natural gas and producing low-carbon electricity, heating and cooling for apartments and businesses
The trigeneration plant could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 190,000 tonnes over the 25 year design life of the plant, equal to removing 2,500 cars from our roads every year.
The Better Building Partnership
To transform Sydney into a low-carbon city, the City of Sydney has forged new alliances with business to ensure carbon reduction strategies are implemented across the city centre.
The City has formed a new alliance of major property owners, the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), which collectively own nearly 60% of central Sydney’s office space.
The BBP aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability performance of their buildings.
Residential and commercial buildings account for nearly a quarter of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, so they have a large role to play in addressing climate change.
The foundation members of the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) are:
- AMP Capital Investors
- Brookfield Office Properties Australia
- Charter Hall
- Colonial First State Property Global Asset Management
- GPT Group
- Investa Property Group
- Lead Lease
- Frasers Property
- University of Sydney
- University of Technology, Sydney
- City of Sydney.
Find out more about Sydney 2030.