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What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is about using less energy to get the same or better results in our homes and businesses.

Why has the City of Sydney developed the draft Energy Efficiency Master Plan?

The City has made a commitment through Sustainable Sydney 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions in our local government area by 70%, compared to 2006 levels.

The draft Energy Efficiency Master Plan outlines measures that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our local government area by 33% by 2030, compared to 2006 levels. This is almost half of our entire target!

How does the plan fit in with the City’s other green infrastructure plans?

The plan forms part of the City’s suite of green infrastructure plans including renewable energy, advanced waste treatment and decentralised water. Together the plans create a roadmap for delivering Sustainable Sydney 2030.

Why does the plan focus on energy used in buildings?

Around 80% of the greenhouse gases generated within our local government area come from the energy used in buildings, so it makes sense for the plan to focus on this area.

How was the plan developed?

We consulted with stakeholders from business, other levels of government and the energy and building sectors to develop an understanding of current energy performance, and potential savings for different kinds of buildings.

We also engaged consultants to conduct extensive modelling and technical studies. They looked at the amount of energy used by every kind of building in our local government area.

Our consultants also examined the options for reducing energy use to discover which ones would give us the best outcomes. These included:

  • Doing nothing

  • Continuing with existing programs and policies

  • Using new policies and programs

  • Using new and emerging technology

  • Using a combination of the three options mentioned above (not including ‘do nothing’)

Finally, we set targets and timeframes for energy reduction, as well as performance measures to track our progress.

Who uses the most energy?

More than three quarters of total energy is consumed by non-premium office buildings, A-grade office buildings, car parks and apartments.

Most of this energy is used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting, equipment and appliances, space heating and hot water.

Who is the plan for?

This plan is for anyone interested in energy efficiency - business owners, residents, other levels of government and decision makers.

The plan provides guidance and practical measures for building owners, occupiers, service managers, technicians, product suppliers and people who manage government programs.

Energy use in buildings has decreased recently, so why do we need the plan?

Energy use is decreasing as our residents and businesses become aware of the benefits of energy efficiency. This is great news.

However the cost of energy has risen. And if we continue to use energy at our current levels, costs will continue to rise. This is because we will have to spend millions of dollars upgrading network capacity and energy infrastructure so that it is able to deal with demand.

Energy efficiency is good for our economy. The recent drop in energy use has come at the same time as a rapid increase in economic growth for Sydney. This situation is known as ‘increased energy productivity’. It happens when economic growth occurs without continual increases in energy consumption.

Increased energy productivity is also very good news for Sydney. It means that we can reduce our energy consumption further without impacting our economy, and improving Sydney’s position as a globally competitive city.

Reducing energy use will help us to save money. The savings in energy bills will be more than the cost to implement these programs. The measures outlined in the plan are estimated to give our community a net saving of $208 million by 2030.

Australia has amongst the highest greenhouse gas emissions per person in the world. This plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our local government area by 33% by 2030, compared to 2006 levels. Energy efficiency will increase the city’s resilience to climate change whilst saving precious resources and maintaining Sydney’s position as one of the most desirable places to live and work.

What would happen if we did nothing?

Our consultants modelled a number of scenarios over a time period of 2006 – 2030. If we were to do nothing to increase energy efficiency in our buildings, energy use would increase by 26% by 2030.

How does the plan propose to increase energy efficiency in buildings?

The plan proposes 11 measures that will enable people to save energy and money. These are:

  • Maintaining existing core programs. Our existing programs are very effective in saving energy and money. We will advocate that they are retained;

  • Improving compliance with building codes and standards;

  • Raising the bar. We will advocate for higher minimum requirements for energy efficiency within building codes and standards;

  • Showing by doing. We will ensure that all City of Sydney buildings continue to demonstrate best practice;

  • Providing education, training and capacity-building programs to empower our community to implement the plan;

  • A building tune-up program for auditing and improving energy use in buildings. The program would focus on upgrading items such as lighting and heating, ventilation and cooling systems:

  • A building retrofit program. Much the same as the tune up, but replacing systems and equipment;

  • Supporting access to finance and incentives such as environmental upgrade agreements and linking building owners with funding bodies;

  • Developing new ratings and disclosure measures to assess performance and drive change;

  • Introducing targets for key sectors to provide clarity around our proposed milestones and enable collaboration around planning, monitoring and reporting on implementation of the plan; and

  • Improving outcomes for low-income households who are most vulnerable to rising energy prices. We will do this by advocating for other levels of government to support implementation of energy efficiency measures in low income households.

How much will these measures cost, and how much money will they save?

The measures we propose cost $396.1 million to implement. However they will save $604.2 million, meaning a net saving to society of $208 million.

Will the City need to work with others to implement the master plan?

Many of these measures will require collaboration with other tiers of government and other organisations. The plan provides clarity around the City’s role in implementing each measure.