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Reducing Council’s Emissions

Merri-bek City Council has been investing in action and advocacy to address climate change and reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions for over two decades.

In 2018 Council approved the Zero Carbon Merri-bek – Climate Emergency 2040 Framework (PDF 1Mb). This framework provides a pathway for Merri-bek City Council to maintain its commitment of carbon neutrality for Council’s corporate operations and reach for a zero-carbon municipality.

In December 2021, Council endorsed a highly ambitious ZCM ‘target range’ for Council (corporate/operational) emissions of between 80 – 100% reduction by 2030 (precluding offsets, against 2011/12 baseline).

How are we tracking?

Council actions to reduce our operational carbon emissions are delivering great results.  Our goal for 2019/20 was for emissions to be 30% less than the baseline year of 2011 with a stretch goal of 40%. For the year 2020/2021 have achieved a reduction of 70%.

Graph of Merri-beks Council Emissions Reduction of 70%

Council is certified as carbon neutral

Merri-bek City Council was the second Victorian local government and the third in Australia to be certified carbon neutral for its corporate operations, achieving this in December 2012. Council is Certified Carbon Neutral under the Climate Active national scheme.

To achieve and maintain this certification, each year Council undertakes a continuous improvement approach to carbon management through the following four steps: Measure, Reduce, Generate and Offset. Council is required to undertake external verification of its carbon neutrality accounting every three years.

You can download our Carbon Neutral Program Public Disclosure Summary’s on the Climate Active website.

How have we achieved the reductions?

We have reduced our emissions through the following key projects:

The Crowlands Wind Farm supplies renewable energy for the Merri-bek City Council. Image courtesy of Pacific Hydro.

Melbourne Renewable Energy Project
Merri-bek City Council is now powered by 100% home grown renewable energy. On 1 January 2019, Merri-bek began purchasing all its electricity for Council operations from the Crowlands Wind Farm in north west Victoria. This includes electricity for all street lights, Council buildings, public barbecues, and electric vehicle chargers. Learn more about the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.

Improving Council Buildings
Council has carried out significant works to improve energy efficiency at many of our key buildings, including Coburg Civic Centre, Brunswick Town Hall precinct, Moreland’s Libraries and Leisure Centres. Works include: insulation upgrades, LED lighting retrofits, double-glazing retrofits and improving the efficiency of heating and air-conditioning systems.

Since 2011 over 1,200kW of solar has been installed on council building producing clean, green energy. In 2022, a 250kW solar system was installed at Glenroy Community Hub, and a 100kW system at Brunswick Baths.  Learn more about how we have improved Council buildings.

Solar on Council Leased Buildings
Council owns a number of buildings which they lease to community organisations, such as sports clubs and kindergartens. Under the Solar on Leased programme, Council will pay the upfront costs to install solar, as well as maintaining it. Tenants repay the capital costs over 7 – 10 years using the savings from their electricity bills. The tenants see some cost savings from day one, and once the solar is paid-off they get the full cost savings, without ever having to outlay capital. Learn more about Solar on Council Leased Buildings.

Electric Vehicle Fleet
Merri-bek City Council now has 25 pure electric vehicles (EVs) in its light vehicle fleet. This is the largest council EV fleet in Victoria. Council has 14  EV charging stations including five fast chargers. Charging is both zero-carbon, with electricity supplied through Crowlands Wind Farm, and free.

Heading to 100% emissions reduction

Council will continue to reduce carbon emissions by:

  • Converting our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, focussing on light fleet but including heavier vehicles where appropriate.
  • Expanding out public EV charging network, and trialling on-street charging with our local utilities.
  • Exploring how to implement a hydrogen refuelling station and using hydrogen to power our heavy vehicles.
  • Progressively transitioning our remaining street lights to LED.
  • Converting our buildings and aquatic centres from gas to heat pumps running off zero-carbon electricity.
  • Continuing to improve the energy efficiency of all facilities.
  • Installing solar photovoltaic where feasible, both on Council-occupied buildings and leased properties, through the Solar on Leased program.
  • Engaging with our suppliers to reduce their emissions and prioritise low-carbon products, particularly for infrastructure works.