Carbon neutral Council

Council has been certified Carbon Neutral by Climate Active for its operations as a public statutory body. To achieve this certification, significant work was undertaken across all operational areas by implementing energy efficient initiatives and embracing clean energy solutions to create a better and more climate-resilient community. This certification provides a basis for continuous improvement and drives future actions across the municipality.

View Council's Climate Active Public Disclosure Statement:

What is carbon neutrality?

Carbon neutrality is a state of net zero greenhouse gas emissions, or having a carbon footprint of zero. It means taking actions to reduce and remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as an organisation puts into it.

Being certified Carbon Neutral by Climate Active means valuing energy reductions and offsetting growth in greenhouse gas emissions to create a sustainable future where Council operations and services are delivered with a reduced carbon impact.

Council's path to carbon neutrality

In 2008, Council set a corporate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020.

Council’s emission reduction strategy is driven by key strategic documents including (but not limited to) the Carbon Neutral Strategy and Action Plan 2014/15 to 2020/21 and the Maroondah Sustainability Strategy 2016 to 2020. These documents helped map a path to net zero emissions by following the carbon reduction hierarchy of avoid, reduce, replace and offset.

A planned and systematic approach to carbon management has been implemented by guiding action across Council departments, and fostering collaboration and ownership of its principles. In addition to Council’s goal to be carbon neutral, Council also aimed to reduce emissions by 20 per cent below the 2010/11 levels (excluding Aquanation) by 2020/21 and adapt services to respond to localised impacts of climate change. In 2019, Council initiated the process to become Climate Active Carbon Neutral certified, and in December 2020 this certification was achieved.

Key actions undertaken by Council to achieve net zero emissions include:

  • 5-Star Green Star certification for the Realm by implementing sustainable building features including high efficiency glazing, solar PV panels and water tanks to reuse rainwater runoff.
  • Delivering building energy efficiency upgrades to Aquahub, Aquanation, Maroondah Federation Estate, Realm and The Rings under an Energy Performance Contract program with EAGA, saving up to $200,000 in energy costs annually and 1500 tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement. Upgrades included LED lighting, boiler replacements, variable speed drives, building management systems, solar PV (photovoltaic systems), pool blankets, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) system modification.
  • Installing more than 1 MWh of solar PV onto Council facilities.
  • Replacing more than 6,000 inefficient mercury vapour and high-pressure sodium street lights with energy efficient LEDs, reducing associated costs by around 77 per cent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 15,411 tonnes over the next 20 years as part of the Changing the Globe Maroondah Street Light Energy Efficiency Project.
  • Participating in the Local Government Power Purchasing Agreement project to procure 100% renewable energy from 2021/22 for Large Market Electricity sites.
  • Switching from hardcopy to electronic payrolls, saving time and up to 50kg CO2-e annually

Council has implemented emission reduction measures across built infrastructure, plant and fleet and natural environments, and fostered partnerships to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. This low-carbon approach provides the additional benefits of reducing expenditure and maintenance costs, infrastructure improvements, addressing oil depletion, and the co-benefits of carbon reductions in regards to health and other environmental issues. As a result, Council’s operational greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by more than 4,000T CO2-e annually.

For unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions, Council has taken responsibility by investing in carbon offset projects that reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere. Council’s carbon offset strategy involves a mix of international and Australian renewable and natural capital offset credits. The selected projects not only offset unavoidable carbon emissions but also provide socioeconomic and environmental benefits to communities. 

Next steps

In the face of climate change, Council’s operations, assets and delivery are vulnerable to natural hazards such as heatwaves and flooding. Adaptation, mitigation and abatement actions are taken to prepare for actual or expected changes in climate in order to minimise harm, act on opportunities or cope with the consequences.

To create a more climate-resilient municipality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Council will continue an integrated approach with low-carbon considerations at the heart of the decision-making process.

The Carbon Neutral Strategy is planned to be reviewed in 2021 at the conclusion of the current Strategy period, and will include a review of the targets and actions with a view to update and further Council’s emissions reduction activities.

Ongoing and future directions may include:

  • Encouraging staff to use low carbon transport modes.
  • Upgrades to assets and infrastructure using principles of Council’s Environmentally Sustainable Design Policy.
  • Continuing to implement the Maroondah Vegetation Strategy 2020-2030 which guides the Council and Community’s vision for protecting, enhancing, restoring and creating vegetation in Maroondah’s natural and urbanised areas, resulting in lowered emissions in the atmosphere and additional sociocultural benefits.
  • Continued collaboration with EAGA and the associated eight councils in Melbourne’s East to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate regional adaptation.
  • Continuing the Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) membership to advocate for better public transport options in the Eastern region.

Further information

For further information on Council becoming carbon neutral, contact Council’s Sustainability Team on 1300 88 22 33.