Green Council 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

In 2017, Council embarked on an exciting program to help local businesses and residents accelerate the switch to renewable energy, in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which in many cases will reduce energy bills.

An online survey obtained 320 responses from the business and residential communities to gain an understanding of community needs.

This program goes until 2020 at this stage.

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 the waste heat can also 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 the energy audit of 2017.

Since the cogeneration system was installed in 2013, the cost of gas has skyrocketed, while the cost of electricity has stabilised.

In 2018, while the cogeneration does not save money anymore, less emissions are produced than coal fired electricity.

Into the future, greater use of renewable energy will be sought, such as electricity from solar electric panels, while increasing the efficiency of the heat pumps at the pool. Renewable energy in the forms of both heat and electricity are now the cheapest forms of energy for pool heating.

The pool Cogen system is capable of generating up to 450,000 kWh of energy per annum. That’s enough energy to make around 18 million cups of tea.

The plant received funding under the Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program.


Energy Efficiency Project

In 2013 Council implemented a large energy efficiency project across seven of our highest energy consuming sites - North Sydney Olympic Pool, Council Chambers, Stanton Library, Central Depot, St Leonards Park, Neutral Bay Community Centre and Bradfield Wellbeing Centre.

The solutions that have been implemented include:

  • Extensive lighting upgrades – including the installation of LED lamps and refurbishment of twin fluorescent fittings to single tube fittings with reflectors
  • A variety of lighting controls including motion detectors and daylight sensors
  • Performance improvements to the pumping systems and control strategy at North Sydney Olympic Pool
  • Air conditioning optimisation at the Council Chamabers and Stanton Library
  • Solar hot water upgrades
  • A voltage power optimisation system at the Central Depot

The project aims to save 483 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, as well as provide substantial reductions in energy and maintenance costs.

The project utilised a grant from the Dept of Resources, Energy and Tourism.


Family Day Care (FDC) Centre, Bank Street

With funding assistance from the Aust Govt in 2010, two sealed rainwater tanks have been installed at North Sydney FDC Centre in Bank Street to deliver rainwater to flush the centre's toilets and water the garden.

The FDC Centre sets an excellent example for North Sydney residents of what can be achieved as it is a small building with very little space to fit a rainwater tank and has a lot of overhanging trees (the tanks are sealed against leaf litter).



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).

Heat pump hot water systems, which absorb and utilise heat energy available from the surrounding air, greatly reduce the amount of electricity required inside the building.

Other environmentally friendly design features include installation of motion detectors linked to low energy 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. These actions directly contribute towards sustainable water use in North Sydney - keeping our drinking water for drinking.


Stanton Library

Solar power systems capture energy from the sun to generate electricity, reducing the need for coal generated electricity.

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

North Sydney Council installed grid connected photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the Stanton Library with rebate assistance from the Australian Government and Environmental Levy funds.

This 2.1 kilowatt system saves over 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year.

The roof on an average home can produce enough electricity to meet some or all of your power needs, making solar power a great option for reducing your footprint while cutting your energy costs.


Council Depot going Green

The Council Depot is reducing its greenhouse and environmental footprint:

  • Installation of new water tanks (114,000 litres) to flush toilets and supplement existing water recycling at the depot.
  • Installation of evacuated tube solar-hot water system for new bathrooms.
  • Using in-floor heating as the most efficient way to heat the new bathrooms in winter.
  • Using waterless urinals.
  • Using ultra low water-use toilets.
  • Installation of energy-efficient lighting for the new toilets and mezzanine spaces along with movement sensors in the toilets, to reduce power consumption.
  • Installation of skylights in the upstairs spaces, so that electric lighting is not required during the day.
  • Supplementing existing roof insulation with addition batts above the new mezzanine spaces, to achieve minimum R3.0 and additional insulation in walls.
  • Supplying racks and space to allow air-drying of shoes and clothes of outdoor staff, to minimise the use of the clothes dryer.
  • Use of low-flow taps and showerheads.

North Sydney Stormwater Re-use Project

The North Sydney Stormwater Re-use project harvests, filters and treats stormwater from an urban catchment for irrigation of high profile sporting and recreational facilities, including North Sydney Oval and Cammeray Golf Course. The scheme is expected to save 90 million litres of drinking water each year and improve the local environment.

Treated stormwater is used to irrigate St Leonards Park, including North Sydney Oval and Bon Andrews Oval. With the recent completion of an impressive three megalitre storage dam, treated stormwater is also being used to irrigate Cammeray Golf Course, Cammeray soccer field and croquet field. Council has been successful in obtaining grant funding from the NSW Climate Change Fund and has completed the next stages of the project expanding to Tunks, Primrose and Forsyth Parks.

To celebrate the completion of the project in 2010, Year 4 students from Neutral Bay Primary School in May 2011 brought a dash of colour to the three concrete rainwater re-use tanks.

Meeting every Friday morning the students, with the help of Hotbed Design artists, created a mural encapsulating the flow of water through a catchment area and the life it supports on its journey. Besides painting the mural the students viewed an interactive Stormwater Catchment Model and discussed important questions like What is a Catchment? and What are the types of pollutants that get caught up in stormwater?

These discussions led to the students writing great stormwater tales and making pictorial storyboards.


PV Panels at North Sydney Council's Ros Crichton Pavilion

North Sydney Council is becoming more energy independent showcasing renewable solar power generation on the roof of the refurbished Ros Crichton Pavilion in Civic Park, 2009. The Pavilion is used as Council's training facility (but can also be hired).

The adaptive re-use of the former Early Childhood Centre building to a more sustainable design includes a Photovoltaic (PV) Cell system to directly provide power being used in the training room. Excess power generated is fed back into the national grid.

A 2400 Watts peak rating system has been installed, which will reduce Council's grid power requirements by approximately 3750 kilowatt hours annually. This represents a saving of approximately $450-500 annually over the 5 years of the programme, while the panels will go on providing renewable power and dollar savings for an expected 25 to 40 years.

Council received an Australian Government rebate for the installation of these solar panels, offered through the Solar Homes and Communities Plan.


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’ is a harvested from the air with a heat-pump hot water system, to greatly reduce the amount of electricity required to the building. The heat pump has benefits over conventional solar hot water systems (HWS), in that they harvest heat both in the shade and at night, and are cheaper than solar HWS. 

Water from the roof is collected in a 24,000L underground tank for use in the toilets and landscape irrigation, while dual flush toilets, high efficiency showerheads and taps are specified throughout to reduce water consumption - keeping our drinking water for drinking.


Crows Nest Community Centre

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

Water collected from the roof of the Community Centre is pumped to two 20,000 litre storage tanks, and the harvested rainwater is then used to flush toilets and irrigate lawns and gardens on the site. This North Sydney Council project, supported by Community Water Grants, is projected to save 3,250,000 litres of water per year. Sydney Water provides incentives to residents for installation of rainwater tanks through the rainwater tank rebate program.


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.

With help from the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) the Pool uses a combination of 250 solar panels and harbour-connected heat pumps to heat the 25m and 50m pool water.

The energy-efficient heating cuts harmful greenhouse gases by 500 tonnes - the equivalent of taking 110 cars off the road. The Council also enjoys savings of $80,000 per year in running costs.

Key Outcomes:

  • Annual savings: $80,000
  • Cost investment: $300,000
  • Internal rate of return: 29%
  • Energy savings: 8399 GJ pa, this is equivalent to 2.3 million kWh.
  • CO2 savings per annum: 500 tonnes or equivalent to taking 110 cars off the road.