The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2014 that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. The earth is 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 effect has been directly linked to the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and land degradation - which are increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
Climate change in Victoria
The Victorian Government has identified climate change as one of the biggest threats to the future of the state, with warmer and drier conditions projected to have negative consequences for health, infrastructure, agriculture, water, biodiversity and alpine and coastal areas.
The physical impacts of climate change for Victoria include:
- Increase in temperature year round, with more hot days and warm spells
- Fewer frosts
- Less rainfall south of the Divide in winter and spring, and less rainfall north of the Divide in autumn, winter and spring
- More frequent and more intense downpours
- Harsher fire weather and longer fire seasons
- Rising sea levels
- Warmer and more acidic oceans
Furthermore, as well as increasing the magnitude, duration and frequency of events such as heat waves, drought, bushfire and flooding, climate change will also result in such events occurring in areas where they haven’t previously been experienced.
Council 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 reducing our contributions to climate change and in adapting to the effects of the changing climate.
Carbon emissions in Nillumbik
Council directly controls one per cent of carbon emissions generated in Nillumbik through our operations.
The other 99 per cent of emissions are generated by residents, businesses and other organisations.
Shire-wide emissions by sector:
- Waste – 2 per cent
- Private transport – 39 per cent
- Electricity – 41 per cent
- Gas – 17 per cent
(LGA Emissions Snapshot 2018–2019, Ironbark Sustainability)
Council is committed to working actively and collaboratively to help address climate change.
We are in the process of developing a new Climate Action Plan which will build upon the achievements of our current Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020(PDF, 7MB). These plans consider and prioritise how we can mitigate against and adapt to climate change.
And through our membership of the Cities Power Partnership we have pledged to:
- Use council resources to support the uptake of renewable energy
- Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings
- Investigate opening up unused council managed land for renewable energy
- Roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality
- Support local community energy groups with their community energy initiatives
Operationally, we implement a wide variety of actions to help reduce Council’s energy and water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we have increased our renewable energy capacity.
We regularly host and support sustainability workshops, events and celebrations for our community; have invested in hybrid fleet vehicles and EV charge stations; and every one of Council’s buildings has already received some form of retrofit energy efficiency upgrade to help reduce our grid sourced energy consumption. Some of the details are summarised in the below links:
Council activities to enhance the energy efficiency of its operations include:
- Solar electricity systems at 46 facilities 900kW, with an estimated annual generation of 680 Megawatt hours
- Two large systems have recently been added at large leisure facilities totalling 513kW with annual estimated generation of 500MW
- Investigating installing more smaller solar systems for council owned buildings
- Electric vehicle chargers being installed for public charging at Eltham Leisure Centre and Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre. Council has installed electric vehicle charging at the civic centre in preparation for future fleet.
- Tender recently awarded for the proposed Solar farm development on the former Plenty landfill site to supply all electricity needs for council operations and provide carbon offset opportunity for council’s carbon emissions
- Energy efficient lighting at over 30 facilities, included for all new builds. Lighting upgrade completed at Edendale Community Environment Farm.
- Solar hot water systems at 16 facilities
- Energy efficient hot water systems or improved the efficiency of existing units at 6 facilities.
- Audited hot water systems across 30 facilities to facilitate future works
- Additional insulation at five facilities
- Double glazing at seven facilities including at Eltham Library
- Draught proofing at 13 facilities
- Enerlogic window film installed at five facilities to improve the thermal performance of windows
- Conducted building energy and water audits at over 50 facilities including sports, community, Living & Learning, leisure centres and early year’s centres
- Continuing a program to replace inefficient heating and cooling with the most efficient electric versions available.
- Supply public transport Myki’s and corporate uber for staff business travel
- Completed a roll-out of energy efficient laptop computers for all staff with significant reductions in energy consumption, new energy efficient printers, printers and promoting a paperless workplace 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
- Joined Cities Power Partnership and Australian Energy Foundation
- Purchased hybrid vehicles to replace petrol vehicles in council’s fleet vehicles
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations at council fleet sites in readiness for transitioning to electric vehicles
- Installation plan for public Electric Vehicle charging at large public facilities
- Supporting council tenants to install solar systems on council owned facilities
Last updated: May 2021
Council activities to enhance the water efficiency of its operations include:
- Conducted water conservation and irrigation audits on all facilities
- 101 rain water tanks at facilities with water holding capacity of over 923,000 litres
- Water aerators, flow restrictors and dual flush toilet systems at all Council owned facilities
- Rain sensors and an electronic irrigation system at Edendale Community Environment Farm and Civic Drive Offices
- Connected rainwater tanks to irrigation systems at Civic Drive
- Connected a backwash system from Diamond Creek Outdoor Swimming Pool to sewer
- Gutter protection at nine facilities
- Continued use of indigenous plant species and warm season grasses in new park and roadside reserve plantings
- 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
- Planted 15 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
- Upgraded the sportsground irrigation system to rainbird IQ, allowing us to track water usage via flow sensor technology. This system allows us to remotely access all controllers from a hand held device therefore saving us time and money when setting up programs and turning off systems when rain is forecast.
Late Updated: September 2020
Examples of where Council is considering sustainability in purchasing decisions include:
- Copier paper and corporate letterhead stationary is 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’s cleaning contractor uses a range of environmentally friendly products and recycled paper products
- Council applies the principles of its Ecologically Sustainable Development Policy (Building, Design and Works) and is preparing to review and update this as part it’s new Climate Action Plan. The policy embeds the use of sustainable design principles, recycled materials, water and energy efficient appliances and the use of low-VOC products in furnishings and paints for all of councils new building designs
- Our recently constructed buildings; Community Bank Stadium, Hurstbridge Community Hub and St Andrews Community Centre along with our newest buildings like Eltham Leisure Centre, and sports pavilions have incorporated a vast range of sustainable initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment.
Updated: September 2020
We also work with our community in areas such as encouraging waste reduction and recycling, encouraging energy and water efficiency in the home, and preparing for and managing the risks of the physical impacts of climate change such as fire, heat, heavy rainfall events and drought.
Nillumbik's world-first hybrid solar and battery off-grid project in Diamond Creek has been recognised in this Cities Power Partnership video highlighting local government climate and energy achievements across Australia in 2020.
Why hasn’t Council declared a climate emergency?
Declaration of a climate emergency is something that Council will consider as part of development of our new Climate Action Plan.
Council has a commitment to respond to climate change and develop climate resilience in the community. Council’s Climate Change Action Plan 2016-20 provides actions to achieve targets.
To drive Council’s ongoing commitment to act on climate change, we are preparing a new Climate Action Plan.
We recently conducted a survey to help us better understand the Nillumbik community’s priorities for responding to climate change.
This survey will help guide the development of the new plan, which will outline what Council will do to reduce its carbon footprint, build resilience and adapt to changes in climate, while working with and supporting our community to do the same – together achieving meaningful climate action.
Keep updated on our progress here.
Council has partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to provide residents with free, expert advice on how to reduce energy consumption and avoid hefty bills.
While climate change seems a significant social issue, taking action that makes a difference is an individual response. There are many choices we can make every day that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and save money at the same time.
Practically Green events
Funded by Council, Clean Energy Nillumbik deliver a series of free events as part of Practically Green. The events provide practical and simple eco building, energy and lifestyle ideas to help you live more sustainability.
Find out more about Practically Green events
Making the choice to live more sustainably will reduce our carbon footprint too:
- Use renewably sourced electricity for your power needs e.g. rooftop solar, battery storage, or get GreenPower or renewable energy through your retailer.
- Using less energy at home by being energy efficient and improving your home or rental will also reduce bills
Including sustainable choices into our lifestyles goes a long way to reducing our carbon output. Make one or two changes to your routine at first, as doing everything at once can be overwhelming and unrealistic.
- Look at what you consume. Grow some of your own herbs, fruit and veggies(PDF, 4MB), shop local and consume less meat.
- If you can work from home, do so to avoid the commute, or try to take public transport or your bike. If that’s not possible, can you car pool?
- Look into buying a hybrid or preferably, an electric car for your driving needs.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Plant trees for food and wildlife
- Join a local group to support the environment, such as Landcare, Clean Energy Nillumbik or Nillumbik Environment Action Group
- Enjoy more recreation time in your local area, parks, reserves and at Edendale Community Environment Farm