26 Feb 2020
Residential Sustainability Programs Coordinator
City Sustainability, City of Sydney
The City of Sydney has opened applications for the first round of environmental performance grants. Kate Read explains how the grants help businesses and residents improve the environmental performance of their buildings.
With aspirations to make Sydney a more livable and resilient city, the City of Sydney has offered a powerful incentive to businesses and residents to improve their environmental performance with the help of grants.
The environmental performance grants aim to encourage innovation and environmental leadership, and help to address barriers that communities face when considering action.
Since the grants were launched in 2015 they have helped to address some of the barriers to launching efficiency projects and provided funding for an energy or water assessment, energy audit, or rating/certification of a building.
For sectors where they are not mandatory, the City has funded ratings and certifications such as NABERS, Green Star Performance and EarthCheck Certification. Third party ratings and certifications are essentially a proxy for good management; they help decision-makers understand how efficiently their building is performing and identify how and where energy, water and materials are used so they can better communicate sustainability improvements.
One of our CBD hotel partners found their environmental rating helpful to inform internal discussions about prioritising efficiency improvements. The hotel reduced electricity consumption by 25.4%, gas consumption by 16.9% and carbon footprint per guest room by 27.4%.
The City also provides building operations grants to install metering or monitoring equipment in buildings so owners and operators can quickly find and address inefficiencies, equipment failures or opportunities, monitor trends, and identify ways to cut consumption for substantial ongoing savings.
Two commercial buildings in Sydney’s CBD used the City’s funding to install data analytics technology to access real-time asset performance data and recommended courses of action to rectify faults. Using the system, the building operators reduced energy consumption, improved occupant comfort and extended the life of their assets. Before the year was out, this technology reduced energy costs by $54,000 and $32,000.
Our recently launched environmental grants story map shows that it’s not just building operators who are inspired by the grants. It’s on rooftops, in humble cups of coffee and utility bills that this program has made a real difference, with one water efficiency project helping an owners corporation cut its annual water bill by over $60,000 a year.
The City’s ambitious targets are now being realised and through these local projects, we are making a difference globally. There has been a decrease in emissions across the local government area of 21% based on 2006 levels, with City of Sydney reducing emissions in its own operations by 26% over the same period.
You can apply for a grant to help launch an environmental project in your building, or contact City of Sydney staff on 9265 9333 to talk about turning your great idea into reality. With three grant rounds a year, there’s plenty of opportunity to apply. Applications for the first round close Monday 9 March.