Council Sustainability Projects


North Sydney Council undertakes a range of initiatives which are sustainable & save money. 

Spread across all sections of Council, these projects deliver outcomes which benefit both the Council, the community and the environment.

Further information on these projects can be obtained through our Sustainability Programs Coordinator on 9936 8100.



Energy Programs

During 2017, Council embarked on this program to help local businesses and residents switch to renewable energy cut energy bills and greenhouse gas.

Acknowledging that 75% of our residents live in apartments, and many wish to upgrade and make savings on their strata buildings, in 2019 we commenced the Futureproofing Apartments Program

See the Fact sheets for your situation on the Smart Energy Future webpage and watch for events related to that in the Green Events webpage, and in our residential and commercial sustainability newsletters.


Moree Solar Farm supplies Council electricity

Because solar electricity is both cheaper and cleaner than coal and gas-fired power, Council has commenced purchasing renewable energy as part of its electricity supply agreements.

Since July 2019, around 30% of Councils electricity has come from renewables, and as more becomes available at grid-scale, Council will be increasing that to 100%.

View the Moree solar farm on YouTube


Council Chambers NABERS rating 5.5 stars (of 6)

Our Chambers building is one of few commercial buildings in the country aged 70+ that has a NABERS rating.

In 2020 the base building had its annual rating improve from 4.5 to 5 stars for the building itself, a result of continuously improving environmental performance, then the extra 0.5 star is thanks to grid-sourced (Moree) renewable energy.

NABERS ratings are compulsory for commercial buildings over 1000m2 floor area and the higher rating indicates a well managed asset.

NABERS for Apartments recently commenced in 2020 and is associated with higher value, higher rent and lower energy costs.


Cogeneration Plant at North Sydney Olympic Pool

Normally, with coal-fired electricity generation, only about 30% of the input energy reaches the end user, while the remaining 70% is lost. But the cogen system at the pool has been operating at about 74% efficiency according to an energy audit of 2017.

Since this cogen system was installed in 2013, the cost of gas has skyrocketed. It is also now apparent that gas extraction, processing and transportation causes GHG emissions equivalent to those of coal. Because of this, council will be prioritising more renewable heat energy and solar electricity into the future.


Energy Efficiency Projects

Council has an ongoing program of building energy and water use optimisation, regularly conducting audits to determine opportunities and solutions.

Projects include: Replacing fluorescent and CFL lighting with LED lighting and smart lighting controls such as motion and daylight sensors across its facilities. Council-owned carparks electricity consumption has been slashed by 30-50% with these strategies.

Optimize air conditioning system design and controls.

Performance improvements to the heating systems and building management and control systems, water pumping, and prioritising the extraction of heat from Sydney Harbour  with heat-pumps, instead of gas heating at North Sydney Olympic Pool. Together saving tens of thousands of dollars annually.


Rainwater Collection and Efficient Water Use

All of Councils facilities are regularly checked for water efficiency upgrade opportunities. All appliances and sanitary equipment is replaced at end of life with more efficient tapware and toilets, while waterless urinals are saving very large amounts of water.

Rainwater is also collected and recycled wherever possible, for gardens and toilet flushing where possible.  

There are currently 12 Council and Community Centre sites with rainwater collection.

These actions directly contribute towards sustainable water use in North Sydney - keeping our drinking water for exactly that - drinking.


North Sydney Community Centre

Delivering practical sustainability outcomes starts with good building design, which takes into account the daily influence of the sun and the wind and user comfort without the need for heating and cooling by appliances and outside energy sources.

Features: maximise natural light and ventilation, non-toxic / recyclable / renewable construction materials, use of thermal mass, motion detectors to operate lighting and high efficiency water fittings throughout are found in this building.

Rainwater from the roof, and stormwater from the nearby tennis courts, is collected in a 60,000L underground storage tank, which is filtered before being used for toilet flushing and irrigation.

A 21kW solar electricity (PV) system sits around the solar hot water system - both low cost renewable energy systems, in addition to the renewable energy heating system - which is a reverse-cycle air conditioner on heating mode.


Solar Electricity

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight into electricity, and is now recognized as the cheapest electricity in history*. Our recent installations:

  • 2021 McMahons Point Community Centre, 21.5kW.
  • 2020 Coal loader shed rooftops, 25kW.
  • 2020 Holtermann St carpark, power and for EV chargers 95kW.

These two systems are among our 16 rooftop systems we have with a capacity of 414.5kW.

*by the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2020


Central Depot

Along with energy and water efficiency programs across all Council facilities, Central Depot has a very large rainwater collection system into tanks which hold 114,000 litres.

This water is used for washing trucks, but also for filling their tanks, then used in many outdoor operations.

A 60kW solar PV system is used for charging batteries of electric landscaping equipment and in the future can also be used for charging electric vehicles.


Stormwater Re-use Project

Around 30M litres of water are saved each year by recycling stormwater in the North Sydney LGA.

Cammeray dam collects the stormwater run-off from much of the land above that site and is is treated before being redistributed for irrigation on the adjacent golf course, St Leonards Oval, Bon Andrews Oval, Tunks and Primrose parks.

Read more about the stormwater project.


Cammeray Park Amenities Block

Upgraded in 2008, sustainable building measures include maximising natural light and ventilation, specifying non-toxic / recyclable / renewable materials, underground rainwater tank, installation of motion detectors linked to low energy lighting, and water efficient fittings.

Also, ‘renewable heat energy’ is a harvested from the air with a heat-pump hot water system (HWS), to greatly reduce the amount of electricity required. The heat-pump has benefits over conventional rooftop solar HWS, in that they harvest heat both in the shade, and at night, and are cheaper than solar HWS to install. Heat pumps are around 5x more efficient than gas hot water systems, and are typically much cheaper as a source of hot water.


Crows Nest Community Centre

Fitting a large-scale rainwater tank into an already busy building has taken some creative thinking!

Two hefty 20,000 litre rainwater tanks have been assembled in the basement of the Crows Nest Community Centre, making best use of a small space to deliver great water savings to our community!

Rainwater collected from the roof of the Community is used to flush toilets and irrigate lawns and gardens on the site. This system saves around 3m litres of potable, town water per year.

Renewable energy saves the centre a lot of energy costs. The gas HWS was replaced with a more efficient heat pump HWS in 2016. The same year, a 31kW solar electricity system was installed on its rooftop. Thus, the Centre now has renewable heat for much of its space heating, water heating and electricity needs.


Solar Hot Water at NSOP

Next time you dip your toes in the Pool, note that the warmth has come naturally by capturing heat generated from the sun and the heat stored in the harbour.

250 rooftop panels form the rooftop solar hot water system.

The bulk of the heat for the pools is sourced from the Harbour water via a heat pump system.

In the future, the solar PV panels will be mounted atop solar thermal panels to retrieve electricity and heat for the pools. Solar electricity will also drive the heat pump system. Because gas is the most expensive source of heating it will only be used during emergency maintenance.