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URBAN DEVELOPMENT The City of Carbon Neutrality It appears that the City of Churches is looking to pull off a miracle, with Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese speaking at COP21 about the goal to make his city carbon neutral by 2025. The plan was officially announced in April, when the South Australian

In July last year, the council launched a Sustainable Incentive Scheme

Government and Adelaide City Council jointly set the ambitious target of

offering financial incentives to residents and businesses looking to

achieving carbon neutrality in the next 10 years. Professional services

install solar energy storage batteries. The state government matched

firm pitt&sherry was engaged by the South Australian Government to

the council’s $150,000, bringing the total pool of funds to $300,000.

provide an initial assessment — and later a more detailed strategy paper — outlining the plan. Emissions reduction has been on the agenda for Adelaide for several years now, with the council reducing carbon emissions generated

“It was the first incentive in Australia for energy storage, and we just got bombarded with interest,” the council’s senior sustainability adviser, Adrian Stokes, said. “We opened up quite the Pandora’s box.”

by its office buildings, car parks, libraries, community centres and

In addition to this financial incentive, the South Australian Govern-

Central Market precinct by 60% since 2007. Almost 50% of the cuts

ment recently released new measures to stimulate economic growth

in the administration building were achieved through changing the

through the creation of green jobs. These included:

building’s lighting system to energy-efficient LED lights and upgrading old air-conditioning units. Between 2007 and 2013, the City of Adelaide reduced its carbon emissions by 19%, while gross regional product increased by more than $4 million. According to Haese, this is proof that “the whole argument that you can’t grow your economy without increasing your greenhouse gas emissions has been decoupled”. This city-wide reduction can be attributed to largely the greening of the electricity supply — including large-scale wind and solar projects, rooftop solar photovoltaics — and further energy-efficiency

• a new waste strategy to reduce the city’s landfill by diverting 70% of metropolitan household waste by 2020; • an expression of interest calling on low-carbon energy providers to service 100% of the government’s electricity usage; • an additional $300,000 funding for three projects, creating new jobs in the state’s waste and recycling sector; • an ongoing investigation into the opportunities to convert the government’s 4500-strong car fleet to zero-emission vehicles. According to Haese, the plan could be just what’s needed to improve Adelaide’s ranking as the fifth most livable city in the world.

improvements in new and existing commercial buildings. Not only is

“I just wonder when we are talking about investment, technology,

South Australia is blessed geographically with easy access to wind and

jobs, the environment, and just as important livability… I think pushing us

solar resources, but the City of Adelaide is also looking to capitalise

up that leaderboard and grabbing the status of the world’s first carbon

on renewable energy storage.

neutral city could be the thing upon which they all converge,” he said.

Greener, cooler cities The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) has welcomed the federal government’s plan to make Australia’s cities greener and cooler. In a recent speech to the Sydney Business Chamber, Acting Cities

“We will also look at building rooftops with green cover which

Minister Greg Hunt acknowledged that Australia needs “sustainable,

improve both amenity and, as Singapore has shown, can improve

green cities with improved amenity for a more liveable environment”.

value and quality of life as well as operational efficiency.”

“Green cities — cities with high levels of trees, foliage and green spaces — provide enormous benefits to their residents,” Hunt said. “They can improve the quality of air in our cities by absorbing some types of airborne pollutants, reduce soil erosion, minimise water run-off and limit the amount of particulate matter entering our waterways; and increase urban amenity.”

CRCWSC urban climate researcher Professor Nigel Tapper, from Monash University, said there is strong evidence that a green, leafy park, tree-lined street or urban waterway could drop the local temperatures by several degrees. “This cooling is extremely important for reducing heat-related deaths, particularly during the very hot days of the year, which

Hunt noted that increasing the greenery in our cities would help

we’re seeing more often and for longer periods nowadays,” he said.

to decrease extreme heat, fighting the effects of heat-absorbing roads

Hunt added that further opportunities exist to improve in areas

and other surfaces as well as urban canyons trapping hot air. With this

such as urban water systems, stormwater, ocean outfall and en-

in mind, he said, “We will work with Australian cities to set decade-

ergy efficiency. The CRCWSC’s acting CEO, Professor Jurg Keller

by-decade goals out to 2050 for increased overall tree coverage.

from The University of Queensland, was keen to stress that water

20 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

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Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...