What is Council doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2016-2021 sets a target of zero net carbon emissions from Council operations by 2030. We are well on track to meet this target – we achieved our interim target of a 25 per cent reduction from baseline levels one year early.
Here are the key initiatives we are working on to reduce our corporate carbon emissions. In 2018-19, Council’s corporate carbon footprint was 9,287 tonnes of carbon.
Street lighting upgrade
Since 2012, we’ve upgraded 6,300 streetlights to energy-efficient compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescents are 68 per cent more efficient than mercury vapour lights. They also have a much longer life and only need to be replaced every five years. Council’s carbon footprint has decreased by approximately 2,722 tonnes of carbon as a result of this change.
Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD)
We’ve included ESD features in many Council buildings to reduce their energy and water consumption. At GESAC, there is an evacuated tube solar hot water system, LED lights, a stormwater harvesting system with a capacity of 200,000 litres and water-efficient toilets, showers and taps. All new capital works projects have an allocated budget of five per cent for ESD features.
Smart street lighting
In an Australian first, we have installed smart photo electric cells on 185 streetlights throughout Glen Eira. These cells can be remotely dimmed, allowing us to decrease our electricity use and carbon emissions.
We’ve installed solar photovoltaic systems on 31 Council buildings. These systems have a total capacity of 793 kilowatts.
LED lighting upgrades have been carried out at many Council buildings. LEDs are the most efficient form of lighting and last much longer than other forms of lighting.
In 2019-20, we purchased 1.9 million kilowatt hours of GreenPower. Not only has GreenPower reduced Council’s carbon emissions, it also helps to develop new infrastructure in the renewable energy sector.
Use of recycled concrete
Recycled concrete is used in road and pavement bases and backfill in drainage trenches. This reduces our carbon emissions, use of virgin materials and the amount of building waste going to landfill.
We plant at least 2,000 trees each year. Trees cool the air and so reduce the urban heat island effect; reduce storm water run-off by allowing rainfall to infiltrate into the ground; absorb air pollution, provide habitat for birds, mammals and insects; reduce wind speeds during storm events and absorb up to 150kg of carbon dioxide per year.
Local communities often can’t easily reduce their environmental impact on their own and local government has limited options to solve these problems. We advocate for changes in state and federal policy such as better public transport, higher standards for buildings to help reduce energy consumption and new generation waste and recycling facilities for the region. We undertake our own advocacy as well as through the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) and the Inner South-East Metropolitan Partnership’s Regional Sustainability Advocacy Strategy.
Who are we working with?
Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA)
The Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) is a formal alliance of eight councils in Melbourne’s east. EAGA is committed to delivering mitigation and adaptation projects and advocating for initiatives that support sustainable and low carbon communities. Members include the City of Boroondara, Glen Eira City Council, Knox City Council, Maroondah City Council, City of Monash, City of Stonnington, City of Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges Council.
The Global Covenant of Mayors
We are a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM). More than 10,000 cities across six continents and 138 countries are part of the GCoM, the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city leaders to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
GCoM cities are united in their shared goals to increase access to renewable, clean energy, build healthy environments and promote initiatives and best practices that will accelerate the fight against climate change.
TAKE2 is the Victorian Government’s pledge program that shows every Victorian how to take action on climate change. We’re one of 22 Victorian councils to take up their pledge to keep the temperature rise under two degrees and transition to zero net emissions.