Climate change is one of the biggest environmental, social and economic challenges faced by the global community.
Strategy and principles
In 2009, the Council adopted the Our Low Carbon Future – City of Boroondara Strategy, including the establishment of guiding principles and objectives. This strategy set the direction for our climate change mitigation response. Delivery of the strategy has been supported by three action plans, including the most recent Action Plan Update 2017-2020.
The strategy defined a core set of objectives:
- Reduce Council’s own greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduce aggregate emissions for Australia
- Reduce the impact of increasing energy prices on Council’s budget
- Reduce the impact of increasing energy prices on vulnerable sectors of the community
- Support the Australian Government to introduce more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets
- Increase local energy security through investment in renewable energy sources.
The strategy set us a target to reduce our corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 40 per cent below 2007/08 levels by 2020 and to support community emissions abatement of at least 50,000 tonnes CO2-e by 2020 through community programs and projects.
Projects and initiatives
Actions implemented over the duration of the strategy have focused on addressing key sources of greenhouse gas emissions associated with out buildings, street lighting and vehicle fleet.
We have made significant progress in increasing the energy efficiency and low carbon technologies in Council’s owned buildings. Significant initiatives and policies that we have delivered include:
- Powering more than 12,000 street lights and 16 major City of Boroondara buildings with 100 per cent local renewable energy from a Gippsland windfarm until 2030. This accounts for over 85 per cent of Council’s electricity use and cuts our reliance on energy from fossil fuels, meeting a key sustainability goal from the Our Low Carbon Future strategy.
- Upgrading of over 7,000 streetlights with LED technologies.
- Installing a 235 kW cogenerator at Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre, followed by a 100 kW cogenerator at Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre. This technology uses natural gas to “co” generate both heat and electricity onsite where and when it is needed.
- Installing Solar PV on our buildings, including Kew Recreation Centre and Boroondara Sports Complex. Each of these systems cut Council's emissions by around 190 tonnes per annum – the equivalent to taking 45 medium-sized cars off the road. Council has continued to expand its Solar PV portfolio with 12 additional systems installed in FY2019-20 alone. By June 2020, Council had installed over 420 kW of Solar PV on its offices, depots and community buildings.
- Adoption of the Sustainable Buildings Policy (2016), ensured that all new or revitalised buildings were environmentally sustainable while still providing high quality spaces for the community. This policy requires Council’s building projects to be equivalent to the high standard of 5-Stars according to the Green Building Council of Australia Design and As Built Tool.
- Delivering a broad suite of cost effective energy efficiency upgrades at Council’s largest buildings via an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) model as used in the Victorian Government’s Efficient Government Building Program. This $2.5 M project is now saving 1700 tonnes of CO2-e per annum and delivering annual cost savings of over $250,000. This included the iconic chandeliers at Hawthorn Arts Centre.
- Undertaking a climate change risk assessment for Councils buildings, operations and services so that we can effectively plan for and manage the impacts of climate change.
- Purchasing 100 per cent green electricity through a Power Purchase Agreement for major buildings and for street lighting, covering over 80 percent of the electricity used by Council.
While leading by example in reducing emissions with help from our facilities and operations, we have also supported our community in doing the same. Some community initiatives include:
- Supporting the up-take of residential energy efficiency behaviours and technologies, through community education and incentives delivered through our Living for our Future program.
- Engaging the Australian Energy Foundation to provide up-to-date and impartial energy efficiency and renewable energy advice and one-to-one support for residents and businesses.
- Offering residents discounts on worm farms and compost bins through our Compost Revolution program to divert organic waste from landfill. The recent launch of the Food Organics Green Organics Program (FOGO) will provide a huge boost to the diversion of organic materials and is one of the biggest changes in municipal waste management since the introduction of kerbside recycling.
- Home energy meters: residents can loan meters to help them understand home electricity use.
- Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action: Council is a member of the alliance to deliver programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide support for regional adaptation to climate change impacts.
Monitoring and reporting
Council conducts a greenhouse gas inventory each year. Despite increasing services and providing better facilities, we have managed to achieve a downward trend in emissions. The most recent data from FY2018-19 reveals emissions of 21,787 tonnes CO2-e.
The purchase of green energy through a Power Purchase Agreement from July 2020 will ensure that we easily meet our 30 to 40 per cent target. Emissions from mid-2020 are expected to be better than 70 per cent below baseline levels.
A range of Australian and international organisations provide information and resources about climate change science, climate change risks and ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, including: