Councils commit to climate change

TWO Western Sydney councils have joined a national program promising to take local action on climate change.

Parramatta and Cumberland are the latest councils to join the Cities Power Partnership, run by the Climate Council, aimed at tackling the challenges of climate change.

Cumberland mayor Greg Cummings said “exciting initiatives” were being developed to build a “green and environmentally sustainable” city for its residents.

Already the council has replaced its car park lighting with more than 500 motion sensor LED lights to reduce energy usage by 60 per cent, switched to energy efficient hot water systems, installed solar panels and replaced vapour streetlights with energy friendly LED lights.

“Cumberland Council is committed to keeping our organisation and Cumberland clean, green and environmentally sustainable for our residents, businesses and the wider community,” Cr Cummings said.

And it doesn’t end there, he said. The council will work toward reducing emissions further with an audit of all its assets “to establish a clear baseline, track real usage, increase accuracy and better manage consumption.”

A Parramatta Council spokesman said the council joined the Cities Power Partnership to fast-track its goal to reduce emissions by 60 per cent over the next 20 years when the city’s population is expected to expand, driving up the demand for energy by 42 per cent.

“We believe we have an important role to play in engaging communities at a local level to address environmental issues, and have a range of programs in place to assist the community to reduce emissions,” the spokesman said.

In its push for a sustainable energy future, the council has replaced 1114 halogen street lights with energy efficient LED lights which will save 6000 megawatts of energy over the next 20 years, installed solar systems on its buildings which has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 201 tonnes, and reduced energy at four childcare centres and a library by an average of 20 per cent per site by upgrading the lights to LED.

“The city is experiencing unprecedented growth and managing energy resources is a strong focus for council,” the spokesman said.

Parramatta residents and businesses can do their bit to reduce consumption and emissions at home and at work.

The council’s Our Solar Future program provides residents with free and independent advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient.

And owners of commercial and industrial buildings in the local government area have access to private finance for building upgrades that improve energy efficiency through the state government’s Building Upgrade Finance initiative.

There are now 70 councils across Australia that have joined the Cities Power Partnership, making it the largest national climate program for local government.

Climate councillor and international climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said: “As the tier of government that’s closest to the community, local councils have the power to genuinely transform the way we generate and use energy.”
This article first appeared in Western Sydney Business on 21 March 2018.

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