Council Sustainability Projects

North Sydney Council undertakes a range of initiatives which have a sustainability focus.

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

These projects are possible due to funding through the Environmental Levy as well as State and Federal government grants.

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



Smart Energy Future Program

From 2017 Council embarked on this ambitious program to help local businesses and residents increasingly switch to renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gases, and in many cases reduce energy bills.

Acknowledging that 75% of our residents live in apartments and many want to learn how to upgrade amd make savings on their strata buildings Councils also 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.


Cogeneration Plant at North Sydney Olympic Pool

Cogeneration is a way of better utilising the energy content of fossil fuels when used for electricity production.

The advantage of a cogeneration system is that any waste heat can be used.

Normally, with coal-fired electricity generation, the heat is wasted, and is only about 30% efficient, while the cogeneration system at the pool has been operating at about 74% according to an energy audit of 2017.

Since this cogeneration system was installed in 2013, unfortunately 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 Project

Council has an ongoing program of building energy and water use optimisation, regularly conducting energy and water 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.

Optimization of air conditioning system design and controls.

Performance improvements to the heating systems and building management and control systems, and water pumping, as well as prioritising the extraction of heat from Sydney Harbour with heat-pumps instead of gas at North Sydney Olympic Pool are 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 can be simply a matter of building design and the North Sydney Community Centre, renovated in 2008, is one such example.

Considerable care was taken to gain the best environmental performance from the Centre. Sustainable Building Design features include maximising natural light and ventilation, selecting non-toxic/recyclable/renewable construction materials, and the extensive use of thermal mass (the structure of the building is used to absorb solar energy during the day, and release the heat as the internal space cools in the evening).

Other environmentally friendly design features include installation of motion detectors to operate lighting, and high efficiency water fittings throughout the Centre.

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, reducing the need for coal or gas-fired electricity. Solar electricity is the cheapest electricity available for any buildings (except for high rise strata)

Using this renewable energy supply also prevents the release of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

As at January 2020, Council has 14 rooftop solar electricity systems with a combined capacity of 300kW, and soon to increase to near 395kW.

During 2020, a ‘solar canopy’ will be installed on the Holtermann St carpark, adding a further 95kW of solar electricity generation. This system can then provide direct solar power for the two onsite electric vehicle chargers


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 114000 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

This facility received a major upgrade in 2008. Considerable care was taken to optimise the environmental performance of the building, which houses toilets, change rooms and canteen facilities.

Sustainable building measures include maximising natural light and ventilation, specifying non-toxic/recyclable/renewable materials, and the extensive use of thermal mass (the structure of the building is used to absorb solar energy during the day and release the heat as the space cools in the evening). Environmentally friendly features include an 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 to the building. 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 hot water system (HWS) was replaced with a more efficient heat pump HWS during 2016. In the same year, a 31kW solar electricity system was installed on its rooftop. Consequently, the Centre now has renewable heat for much of its space heating, water heating and electricity needs.


Solar Hot Water at North Sydney Olympic Pool

Next time you dip your toes into the North Sydney Olympic Pool, you can be assured 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, solar electricity will be used to supplement the renewable heat energy harvested in those rooftop solar panels and harbour water heat pumps making for a very energy efficient pool heating system.