What is Council doing for the environment?
Climate change has the potential to affect every aspect of our lives, from the health and integrity of natural systems, to economic prosperity and community health and well-being.
Responding effectively to climate change involves both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and being ready to adapt to climate change impacts as they occur.
Council has been actively addressing climate change for many years, and the Eurobodalla Emissions Reduction Plan sets out Council's response to climate change. As part of the plan, Council has completed a number of actions to save energy and water and reduce Council greenhouse gas emissions.
We're helping the environment
The impact of all the energy and water efficiency measures save Council over $1m per year in energy and water costs.
So far, we have:
- replaced over 2,500 street lights with energy efficient LED lights, which has reduced street lighting energy consumption and maintenance costs. This project resulted in saving about 400 tonnes of CO2 each year, which is equivalent to taking over 110 cars off the road. The LED upgrade also saves Council more than $120,000 per year in reduced electricity and maintenance costs
- reduced Council's energy emissions by over 35% compared to the 2005/06 baseline through a number of programs
- introduced a green garden waste bin for domestic waste services in 2013 to reduce the amount of garden waste going to landfill and generating methane emissions
- started harvesting methane from our landfill sites. The global warming potential of methane is 25 times greater than CO2. This has reduced our greenhouse gas emission at these sites by over 35%
- retrofitted simple energy and water efficiency measures in over 50 community buildings across Eurobodalla Shire from 2013-2015 as part of the Community Building Sustainability Project (see below)
- implemented energy management programs at water and sewer sites, which saves hundreds of thousands of dollars each year
- given Eurobodalla Shire's three pools an energy efficient upgrade including pool blankets, efficient lighting, shower timers and solar heating
- run our water leak detection programs and upgrading fittings at our pools, community buildings and public toilets, which save over 45,000,000 litres a year
- completed more bike and footpaths every year to allow people to ride their bikes or walk, which is a more sustainable and healthy method of transport than driving.
Solar power roll-out
Twenty per cent of electricity used by Council is sourced from renewable energy. We have installed over 3,000 solar panels at 28 Council facilities across Eurobodalla Shire. The solar panels can produce over 750kW of power when the sun shines.
Using solar power saves over 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and over $180,000 a year in energy costs.
Community Building Sustainability Project
In 2013 Council began a sustainability project to target energy use in 50 community buildings, including Narooma Library and Hanging Rock Basketball Stadium. The process involved generating an energy report and retrofitting some water and energy efficient tools to help reduce energy use. The report highlighted potential works that Council could do to reduce operational costs further.
The project aimed to reduce CO2 by 365 tonnes and water use by 3,395 kL per year.
Climate change: Cities Power Partnership Program
Eurobodalla Council has joined other councils around Australia in pledging to cut energy emissions as part of the Cities Power Partnership Program.
An initiative of the Climate Council, the partnership brings together cities and towns around Australia that are leading the way in cutting their emissions. The partnership gives Council the chance to work with like-minded councils on new ways to reduce emissions, while making financial savings at the same time.
Council has pledged five key actions to reduce its climate impact, including:
- powering Council operations by renewable energy
- rolling out more energy-efficiency measures, including LED streetlights
- identifying waste-to-energy opportunities.
Eurobodalla Emissions Reduction Plan
The Eurobodalla Emissions Reduction Plan (the plan) sets out Council's response to climate change. It aims to reduce the total Council energy emissions by 80% from the 2005/06 baseline by 2030, and source 100% of Council’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
The plan details the actions that Council will take to achieve the emissions reduction target, and how we will support the community to respond to climate change. The plan is about managing the financial costs related to Council's emissions, from operating the local water and sewer services, the landfills, the community pools and buildings, to the fuel related to maintaining the local roads. The plan also builds on the achievements made under previous Greenhouse Action Plans over the period 2007 to 2017.
Key actions for Council to reduce emissions include:
- continued efforts in energy efficiency
- renewable energy
- reducing methane pollution from landfill
- investigating large-scale solar, battery storage and other renewable energy options
- facilitating electric car charging infrastructure
- developing a Council Climate Adaptation Strategy.
The outcomes achieved over the past ten years has demonstrated that emission reductions can deliver both strong environmental and economic benefits. Completed actions have generated significant energy cost savings totalling over $1m per year.
Council will continue working on a range of strategies and implement a number of new actions detailed in the plan.
Prior to its adoption by Council, the draft plan attracted 27 submissions from the community and overwhelmingly supported Council's ongoing emissions reduction activities. Climate Council of Australia was among those who made a submission, acknowledging Council's leadership in the field with an invitation to partner with other leading councils in the new Cities Power Partnership program.
You can read all about the Eurobodalla Emissions Reduction Plan:
Stormwater pollution and litter prevention: drain buddies
Our oceans are home to a myriad of marine life; they provide us with oxygen, countless fun activities, relaxation and aesthetic pleasure. However, oceans are also voiceless and need to be protected.
Street litter can become marine debris with just a little help from the wind or a rain storm. Litter washes into the gutter and down the stormwater drains straight into your local waterway or beach.
Once in the ocean, plastic will slowly break up into smaller and smaller pieces, which can be mistaken by fish, sea birds and many other marine species, as food. Large pieces of plastic (both soft and hard) can also float on the ocean’s surface and are often mistaken for food by seabirds, dolphins, and turtles.
Council has installed some stormwater drain baskets in the Batemans Bay CBD to address this problem. The 'Drain Buddy' is a heavy duty basket that captures street litter, sediment and organic debris before it reaches our waterways.
Council’s maintenance crews monitor and empty the baskets, and record items caught on the Australian Marine Debris Database, as part of their works schedule. It is important to know what items are being prevented from entering the estuary and ultimately, becoming marine debris, so that we can develop source reduction plans to stop the litter at its source.
If you would like to find out more about what Council is doing to save energy, water and reduce our greenhouse emissions, contact Council's Sustainability Coordinator, Mark Shorter, on:
- E: Mark Shorter
- T: 02 4474 1373
For more information about stormwater pollution and litter prevention, or our Drain Buddy Program, please contact Council’s Environment Education Officer, Bernadette Davis on: