Council’s Response to Climate Change
In August 2019 Mosman Council became a member of the Cities Power Partnership to boost ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and to have better outcomes for the environment generally. The Climate Council provides many resources related to climate disruption and news on the latest developments. For further information visit their website.
Council in the past over many years has been proactive in building resilience of its natural areas including bushland, seawalls and tree canopy cover. Further sustainable actions such as limiting bin sizes and heavy investment in stormwater harvesting and filtration schemes have provided environmental benefits only now being seen. A summary of works completed and/or ongoing is provided below.
- Street Tree Planting – Annual planting of mature street trees, reducing heat impacts, CO2 absorption
- Bushland Restoration 10 year contracts – Building resilience of bushland areas, CO2 absorption
- Urban Forest Policy – Protection of private tree canopy, CO2 absorption
- Bush Fire Management – Fire committee, bush fire risk management plan, hazard reduction activities, reduces risk of uncontrolled bush fires
- SQID Program – Filtration of stormwater system, reduces pollution in Sydney Harbour
- Stormwater Harvesting – Using harvested stormwater to irrigate sport ovals, reduces reliance on town water
- Seawall Restoration – Rebuilding seawalls for protection and for increased habitat for intertidal marine creatures
- Waste Less Recycle More – Waste education, reduces waste being generated and going into wrong waste stream
- Single Use Plastic – Bye Bye Plastic campaign, Single Use Coffee Cup education
- Living Mosman – 65 environmental programs held over the last year, sustainability education
- Active Transport – Pedestrian and bicycle improvement work, less reliance on car ownership
- Domestic Waste – Recycling 36.5% of domestic waste is recycled and with >90% processed locally and turned into new products
- Council Operations – Reusing mulch from tree work on garden areas, old footpath material as base for new footpaths, circular economy
- Energy and water – Monitoring Quarterly assessment of Council energy and water use and annual audit of community’s energy use
The decision of Council to declare a Climate Emergency in November 2019 and provide resources for action in December including the addition of a staff member is broadly supported by the Mosman community. In order to act in a manageable, efficient and transparent way, it is considered the best approach would be to develop a Climate Change Action Plan. The plan would outline possible actions for Council to consider with options assessed against economic, environmental and social outcomes.
It is also important to provide consistency with Council’s existing environmental framework and the Action Plan is therefore drafted under several key themes. A brief outline can be viewed here and themes are listed below with possible actions and strategy directions. These of course would be refined and subject to further consultation.
Implement and advocate for energy efficiency and conservation measures to reduce energy consumption and apply mitigation adaption and resilience strategies to address climate change.Actions could include acceleration of all public lighting to LED, expanding Council’s solar program on its buildings and purchasing green energy.
Protect and enhance the biodiversity and urban tree canopy to build resilience and preserve Mosman’s environmental character.
Actions could include continued support and funding of Councils Tree Planting Program and the Bushcare Volunteer program.
Implement and advocate for water efficient programs to reduce dependency on potable water.
Actions could include further investigation of rainwater re-use schemes and promotion on water efficient activities.
Encourage diversion from landfill and continue to implement and advocate for increased recycling.
Actions could include further investigation of Council’s Waste Strategy and continue advocacy at the State and Federal levels of Government.
Encourage use of public transport, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and facilitate car share, electric and hydrogen vehicles.
Actions could include preparation of a new Active Transport Plan and continued support to the car share industry.
Undertake sustainable development of Council facilities and engaging and educate the community in the benefits of a sustainably built environment.
Actions could include continued asset renewal taking into account sustainable practices and climate change adaption.
Involve the community in the significance of the environment and Climate Change through education and engagement.
It is acknowledged the success of this Plan and Mosman overall reduction in CO2 emissions will be reliant on the community’s willingness to participate. Whilst Council can control the actions in regard to Council operations, the engagement and involvement of the community is critical. To put this into perspective:
- A motor car that has travelled 150,000 km will emit 37.5 tonnes of CO2
- A return plane trip to Europe will generate 4.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions
- A reverse cycle air conditioning unit operated for eight hours a day will emit 6.64 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Dr Ruth Irwin, Team Leader Sustainability at Mosman Council, presented at a community consultation workshop for climate mitigation on 30 July 2020.
This workshop, the first of a series of three, focussed on mitigation, our carbon footprint through energy, transport, air quality, waste, food, finance, planning and development, building design and materials.
Dr Ruth Irwin, Team Leader Sustainability at Mosman Council, presented at a community consultation workshop for climate adaptation and resilience on 6 August 2020. This workshop, the second in a series of three, focussed on adaptation and resilience to climate change, sea level rise, storm surge, extreme weather, drought, water and urban heat island effect. The presentation was video recorded and as soon as editing is complete it will be uploaded here.
This video outlines some of the environmental initiatives undertaken by council and shows how preserving and improving our environment is one of our key objectives at Mosman Council.
What is the Apartments & Strata Savings Program?
The aim of the program is to improve sustainability while reducing the cost of living & GHG pollution.
Annual strata fee reduction is a major focus, because the savings potential with energy upgrades is typically a good investment. So analysis will be on the numerous opportunities in common areas.
Often owners don’t realise how much energy and money is being wasted in the hidden areas and equipment of buildings, so a report by specialists will clearly quantify that, and make recommendations for the owners corporation to follow up on.
Approving upgrades will be easier than many people realise with the forthcoming passage of the NSW Government’s Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Bill. This will lower the bar from previously needing a special resolution (75% threshold) to an ordinary resolution (50% threshold) for any sustainability upgrades to proceed in a residential strata scheme.
When the options are clearly illustrated with a good report, the thinking becomes… why wouldn’t we upgrade, given the financial benefits!
2020-2021 Program Rollout – round 2
Free Apartment Assessment – Expressions of Interest are open
Expressions of interest will close on 1 November 2020.The program offers – at no cost:
- Energy assessments performed by industry specialists.
- Detailed reports which will clearly illustrate the financial case for upgrades.
- Phone support at strata meetings if requested to help communicate benefits of building upgrades.
- General support.
The scheme offers sustainability assessments and reports to larger strata schemes and aged care facilities.
Did you know?
- Most apartment buildings will benefit with efficiency upgrades in common areas.
- Around 51.7% of local residents live in apartments in Mosman.
- Renewable heat and electricity can both replace imported grid gas and electricity.
- Renewable heat is perfect in shady areas, at night, or if cloudy, unlike solar electricity, and can provide space heating and domestic water heating.
Energy Cost savings
- LED Lighting
- Solar electricity – solar panels for rooftops and walls.
- Renewable heat from the sun – for space heating and water heating.
- Energy efficiency – why waste energy?
- Often upgrades offer investment opportunities with an internal rate of return (IRR) between 15-50% 1, which will likely be one of the best investment returns you’ll ever make.
- Simple payback periods are commonly as short as 2 years.
1 Based on recent upgrades.
In May 2013 Mosman Council retrofitted the old fluorescent lights in the Mosman Library. The project was funded under the Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payment (WaSIP) program and saw 463 lights replaced with energy efficient LED lights in order to save money and reduce energy consumption and our corporate greenhouse gas emissions.
Prior to the upgrade the combined consumption of electricity for the Civic Centre and Library buildings was 74MWh per month. After the lighting retrofit, the monthly electricity usage for both buildings was 66.5MWh per month. This saving of 8.5MWh per month equates to 102 MWh annually, saving Council in the last financial year $41,888.00.
This retrofit was the last stage of the Civic Centre and Library building retrofit program, with the Civic Centre building retrofitted in 2011.
Works are currently underway to retrofit the Mosman Council Depot building, replacing fluorescent lights with energy efficient LED lighting.