Climate change

What is it?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reported in 2014 that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. The earth is currently experiencing an enhanced greenhouse effect that has resulted in changes to the world’s weather patterns and climatic conditions. Whilst the greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon, the sharp increase in its affect is believed to be a result of the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and land degradation, which is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

With the predicted rises in temperatures, there will be more noticeable impacts on our climate. Sea levels will rise as a result of melting snow and ice from glaciers and ice caps. Acidity of our oceans is increasing as CO2 in the atmosphere is being absorbed into the oceans, resulting in a changing marine ecosystem. More extreme and frequent weather events are already being experienced and over the long term, average annual rainfall levels are decreasing.

Whilst changes in climate have and will continue to occur naturally, it is important to distinguish between natural climate variability and the results of human-induced climate change. It is thought that naturally occurring events such as drought, bushfire and flooding will still occur, however, the magnitude, duration and frequency of these events is likely to increase in areas where these events typically occur, and may occur in areas that don’t currently experience these phenomena.

The Shire of Nillumbik recognises that climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing the world today and into the future.

 Our actions will determine how successful we will be in adapting to an environment experiencing uncertain climatic changes.

What have we done?

We believe that climate change requires a global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This responsibility is shared throughout all countries and communities.  Leadership must embrace this obligation and demonstrate it at the local, regional, national, and international levels through effective policies and actions.

In response to this Council has established a Climate Change Action Plan(PDF, 7MB).

We have implemented a variety of actions to tackle climate change, reduce energy and water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A number of these actions also make our community buildings more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as higher temperatures, drought and, extreme weather events. Actions Council has undertaken to improve operational sustainability are listed below.

Energy efficiency

  • Installed solar electricity systems at 21 facilities equalling 111 kW, with an estimated annual generation of 163 Megawatt hours
  • Installed energy efficient lighting at 17 facilities
  • Installed solar hot water systems at 16 facilities
  • Installed energy efficient hot water systems or improved the efficiency of existing units at two facilities.
  • Audited hot water systems across 18 facilities to facilitate future works
  • Installed solar hydronic heating at Edendale Community Environment Farm
  • Installed additional insulation at three facilities
  • Installed double glazing at seven facilities
  • Installed draught proofing at nine facilities
  • Installed Enerlogic window film installed at four facilities to improve the thermal performance of windows
  • Conducted building energy and water audits at 19 facilities including sports, community, Living & Learning and early year’s centres
  • Initiated a program to replace inefficient heating and cooling with the most efficient versions available.
  • Supplied public transport tickets for staff business travel
  • Completed an information technology project to reduce the number of printers, replace aged printers with efficient models and install swipe terminals resulting in a reduction in energy usage by office equipment of 40 per cent, and paper consumption by 50 per cent
  • Purchased 50 per cent Victorian Green Power, 25 per cent Gold Standard offsets and 25 per cent Verified Carbon Standard offsets for all Council owned and managed facilities.

Water efficiency

  • Conducted water conservation and irrigation audits on all facilities
  • Installed 101 rain water tanks at facilities with water holding capacity of over 923,000 litres
  • Installed water aerators, flow restrictors and dual flush toilet systems at all Council owned facilities
  • Installed rain sensors and an electronic irrigation system at Edendale Community Environment Farm
  • Connected a backwash system from Diamond Creek Outdoor Swimming Pool to sewer
  • Installed gutter protection at nine facilities
  • Continued use of indigenous plant species and warm season grasses in new park and roadside reserve plantings
  • Installed Water Sensitive Urban Design features in the Henry Arthur Estate, Eltham Leisure Centre car park and the Eltham Circulatory Road
  • Seasonal water extraction notices for irrigation supplies
  • Installed subsurface drip irrigation at Eltham Central Oval, Coventry Oval, Eltham North Reserve Top Oval and Adventure Playground, and AE Cracknell Reserve
  • Completed a Water Management Plan and planting of drought tolerant grass species at Yarrambat Park Golf Course
  • Planted 11 sports grounds with drought tolerant warm season grasses
  • Established five wetlands, three swales and three rain gardens to manage stormwater run-off and filter pollutants

Eco-friendly purchasing

  • Copier paper is 50 per cent recycled content, envelopes are 100 per cent recycled content
  • Catered events are encouraged to utilise re-usable crockery, cutlery and glassware.  Where this is not possible, biodegradable versions are used instead of plastic
  • Many Council facilities use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Council officers are currently working with the cleaning contractor to move to a range of more environmentally friendly products and recycled paper products
  • Council adopted the Ecologically Sustainable Development Policy (Building, Design and Works) in 2011. The policy promotes the use of sustainable design principles, recycled materials and the use of low-VOC products in furnishings and paints
  • Our three newest buildings; Community Bank Stadium, Hurstbridge Community Hub and St Andrews Community Centre have incorporated a vast range of sustainable initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment.