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What's on City of Melbourne

Sustainability overview

Melbourne’s sustainability journey

For more than fifteen years, the City of Melbourne has been working to become one of the world’s most sustainable cities.

We know that a successful future depends on understanding the risks that climate change poses, reducing our impact and becoming more resilient.

As part of this, our goal is for Melbourne to be carbon neutral by 2020.

To achieve a sustainable Melbourne, we are creating bold, local solutions for local problems.

More than 70 per cent of city residents live in high-rise apartment buildings. People living in and owning apartments face unique challenges in making their buildings more sustainable, so we have created programs to work with those residents to reduce water and energy usage and better manage waste and recycling.

Our 1200 buildings program helps commercial building owners retrofit their properties with modern energy-efficient technologies. If 1200 buildings improved their energy efficiency, the greenhouse gas savings would help achieve the city’s carbon neutral goal.

Preparing for the future requires investment right now, and we are unlocking funds through our Environmental Upgrade Agreements for building owners who are ready to retrofit.

Council actions

We are practicing what we preach, and in 2012, Council operations will become carbon neutral.

We built Council House 2, Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star new office design. 
Council House 2 led the way in environmentally sustainable design, creating a model for similar buildings.

We are also upgrading several of our council buildings, installing efficient heating, cooling and water systems. The amount of energy needed to light the town hall will be halved.

At Melbourne Town Hall we are delivering new waste solutions, producing organic matter for use in our parks and gardens. We are supporting the city’s vibrant hospitality precincts to install similar technology.

Tree plan

Our Urban Forest Strategy is our tree plan for the future, adapting to a changing climate. The city’s canopy cover will double by 2040, and we are planting diverse tree species to create a healthier and cooler landscape.

New technologies

We are trialling cool roofs, green roofs, walls and facades, and providing technical guidelines to property owners.

Our solar panels at Queen Victoria Market demonstrate local clean energy generation.

Green transport

Melbourne has an extensive network of dedicated bike lanes and Swanston Street, the city’s main street, is closed to car traffic.

We encourage walking and the use of our public transport for work and city visits.

Water management

We are building water tanks and stormwater harvesting systems. In Darling Street, East Melbourne, we have installed a world-first in-road stormwater harvest scheme.

We are also encouraging recycled water technologies in the city’s major buildings.

Our Total Watermark – City as a Catchment update 2014 is our plan for integrated water cycle management for the next four years.

Sustainable communities and precincts

We are creating sustainable local community precincts within the city. One of these is Eco Carlton, where we are training residents in the Carlton housing redevelopment and broader community to reduce water, energy and waste.

In Docklands, green commercial buildings dominate the landscape. We are also working to ensure these communities have open spaces, sustainable food and services.

Increasing our pace

Everyone in Melbourne is part of our city’s sustainability journey. Each person and business can take action now to reduce waste, save water and energy.

We are working with residents, businesses, workers, visitors, politicians and planners to reduce our environmental impact.

We have made good progress, but must accelerate action if we are to achieve a carbon neutral city by 2020.

Photograph: 'Water Wall' by James Jardine

Photograph: Water Wall by James Jardine