World Environment Day

World Environment Day

Sydney leads Australia

The City of Sydney celebrates World Environment Day on a high after we retrofitted 45 of our properties to reduce electricity and water use, slash carbon emissions and generate operational savings of more than $1 million a year.

We are the first carbon-neutral government in Australia and already carbon emissions from our own buildings and operations have been reduced 20% since 2006 – our 2016 emissions reduction target is 26% below 2006 levels. 

The 2-year retrofit program included Sydney Town Hall, Town Hall House, Customs House, swimming pools, community centres, libraries and car parks. Works in the retrofit program included water, waste and energy efficiency and installing solar panels across our buildings.

The program has already cut the City's electricity use by about 6.6 million kilowatt hours a year – enough to supply about 1,000 households – and saved about $1.1 million in power bills over the same period.

We are working with local businesses to reduce emissions and make significant cost savings through programs including Smart Green Business, CitySwitch and the Better Buildings Partnership.

The City-led national CitySwitch Green Office program works with commercial tenants across 119 offices in Sydney alone. In 2013, signatories to the program in Sydney saved 11,200 tonnes of carbon emissions and energy savings valued at $2.5 million.

During the first 4½ years of the Smart Green Business Program, we helped 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.

In September 2013, BBP members announced achieving a collective 31% reduction in emissions across their assets since 2005/06, delivering electricity savings valued at more than $25 million each year. 

Our other sustainability achievements to date include:

  • installing solar photovoltaic panels on major buildings
  • reducing emissions from the City's vehicle fleet by 30%
  • planting more than 8,200 new street trees to absorb pollution and provide shade
  • harvesting and treating 590 million litres of stormwater for reuse at Sydney Park
  • replacing more than 2,500 street lights with more efficient LEDs. 

When all of the City's 6,450 street lights are replaced, each year the project will save up to $800,000 in electricity costs and reduce energy use from street lighting up to almost 45%.

The City has the most ambitious emissions reduction target of any government in Australia – to cut emissions up to 70% by 2030 based on 2006 levels – and take significant climate change action.

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. 

Last updated: Friday, 30 May 2014