“The significant impacts of climate change, evident today, require urgent attention. We must contribute to efforts being made by other levels of government and sectors of the community to respond to the threats to our environment and economy, and to increase our resilience into the future”
Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett
What Council has achieved in the past in energy efficiency, renewable energy or broader sustainability
Hawkesbury City Council resolved to participate in the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Program in April 2000, in recognition of the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. Since then, Council has reduced corporate greenhouse gas emissions. As well as helping the environment, it has saved money through reduced energy costs and led to increased environmental awareness in the community. The implementation of innovative and effective actions also positions Council as a community leader in environmental best practice.
As part of the corporate sector, Council considers buildings, vehicle fleet, water (for example, emissions resulting from energy used to pump water for reticulation on Council owned properties), waste (such as emissions from the breakdown of organic waste) and street lighting.
A recent example of energy saving from street lighting, which accounts for a large amount of energy usage, is the collaborative project Light Years Ahead. More than 650 mercury vapour lights were replaced with LED street lights in the residential streets of various Hawkesbury towns. The project will save more than $740,000 and more than 3,260 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years, which is equivalent to lighting more than 4,000 Australian homes or taking more than 750 cars off the road every year. Coordinated by Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), Light Years Ahead involved nine western Sydney councils, and the project won the 2016 Climate Change Action Award.
Past corporate measures implemented by Hawkesbury City Council include enabling energy star ratings on all office equipment; the use of solar panels; promoting energy awareness among staff; developing maintenance schedules for hot/cold water systems at each facility and implementing energy efficient fixtures; reviewing energy audits of all sewage pumps and facilities, identifying opportunities for energy conservation; monitoring and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and the implementation of actions and measures as a result.
What Council hopes to achieve in the future in energy efficiency, renewable energy or broader sustainability
Hawkesbury City Council is continuing to move towards a sustainable Hawkesbury. Council has developed a Water Savings Action Plan, in accordance with the guidelines set out by NSW Government, which focuses on the top ten water consuming sites operated by Council. This Plan has become Council’s blueprint for water reduction, and will be used to demonstrate to the community the variety of initiatives that have been and will continue to be implemented to achieve a reduction in water consumption.
In Council’s Community Strategic Plan 2017-2036, considerations for our future include living sustainably and reducing our ecological footprint; to reduce, reuse and recycle; and to improve the sustainability of our urban environment.
Hawkesbury City Council also has an Energy Saving Action Plan which identified further opportunities to reduce energy use. Council sites such as the Administration Building, Sewerage Treatment Plant, Indoor Sports Stadium, Council Depot and Fire Control continue to be monitored to ensure a better understanding of the energy needs and characteristics of those sites.
Council is also aiming for household waste to be greatly reduced through education and collaboration with the community about waste.
In coming months, Council will submit a report recommending five actions for Council to focus upon in relation to activities such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, transport and advocacy.
Why Council joined the Cities Power Partnership
This exciting partnership is a great opportunity for Hawkesbury City Council to continue to collaborate with the Climate Council, other Councils and their communities to work towards a more sustainable future.
Council looks forward to implementing future sustainability initiatives in an engaging and supportive partnership with our residents, businesses, the NSW Government and the Australian Government.
Council believes that the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership presents a number of benefits and opportunities for Council itself and our community, including a reduction in greenhouse gas production; a contribution towards limiting the impacts of climate change on our natural environment, in particular our World Heritage Areas and the Hawkesbury River Valley, both of which are also important economic and tourist assets, and a reduction in Council’s operational costs, as many energy and water saving initiatives also deliver a reduction in day to day operational costs.