Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere are changing our climate, including higher temperatures, more prolonged droughts, lower rainfall and more severe storm events for central Victoria.
We are committed to reducing the organisation’s energy related carbon emissions to 50 per cent by 2020 (based on a 2010/2011 baseline).
The City of Greater Bendigo is working to reduce emissions by:
- Identifying buildings suitable for solar PV installation
- Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings
- Replacing vehicles in our fleet and heavy machinery with higher efficiency vehicles
- Replacement of street lights and public lighting with higher efficiency lighting, primarily LED technology where possible
- Supporting the Switch to Save program which swaps halogen downlights for more efficient LED lighting for free
- Establishing the Bike Fleet for use by council staff for local trips within Bendigo
- Leading projects that unite the resources of 6 regional councils and the Victorian Government
Actions taken reduce our emissions
Solar PV installation
We have undertaken a detailed study of our highest energy using buildings to check their suitability for solar PV systems. To date we have partnered with the Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG) to install a 20kW solar PV system on the Library leading to CO2e savings of 34 tonnes per annum.
We are currently investigating a 30kW solar PV system for the Archive Centre with projected CO2e reductions of 51 tonnes per annum.
Energy efficiency in our buildings
To decrease costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions we have undertaken a number of energy efficiency upgrades in our buildings. This includes installing building management systems to better control heating, cooling, and lighting, upgrading systems to reduce our energy consumption, insulating buildings, and replacing devices with low energy models.
New vehicles, greener fuel and less trips
We have replaced our vehicles and machinery with lower emissions models and use a bio-diesel blend fuel to operate the vehicles and machinery fleet. We have also reduced the need to transport materials to and from work sites by recycling materials on site such as asphalt and concrete, to suit the project.
We are also investigating trialing an electric vehicle (EV) powered by solar, as part of our car fleet.
Upgrading our information technologies
We have reduced the number of servers needed to managed operations and replaced them with energy efficient models. We have also upgraded computer screens with LCD monitors, enabled double-sided printing to save paper, and reduced staff travel to meetings by introducing teleconferencing facilities.
Energy efficient streetlights
The City of Greater Bendigo has taken the lead role in the delivery of the largest streetlight partnership project of its type ever undertaken in Australia, Lighting the Regions. This project is a great example of what is possible when local government, sustainability alliances and the Australian government come together to create more energy efficient and sustainable communities.
The Lighting the Regions project has overseen the replacement of 22,612 residential and shared street lights across an area covering more than 35 per cent of regional Victoria. The old mercury vapour streetlights have been replaced with new LED lights providing brighter street lighting for over 300,000 residents. An estimated reduction of 172,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved in the next 20 years and up to $22 million in operating and energy costs will be saved over the lifetime of the new lights.
The local government bodies involved in the project have already recorded substantial energy savings and have had positive community feedback on the project.
Our bike fleet replaces short trips that would otherwise have been taken by car and demonstrates environmental leadership, efficient use of resources and provides cost and health benefits to the organization. The City has a target of 100 staff commuting to work by bike by 2020.
We have been part of the regional Adapting to Change project to develop resilience and adaptation to climate change within our communities. One of the key themes identified was Heatwaves and Council's role within this space. The Heatwave Help project has been established to support our more vulnerable community members during heatwave periods.
The on-ground activities developed included:
- 60+ retrofits for vulnerable home support clients to reduce the impact of heat (and cold) in their home
- Training for home support workers to better understand heatwaves
- Heatwave kits - including thermometers, handheld fans and information pamphlets
- Education - an education package including videos and advertising to promote how to best manage during heatwaves
Go to Heatwaves - how to stay safe.