Colac Otway Set To Reach Carbon Neutral Target
Published on 30 April 2021
Colac Otway Shire is set to become Victoria’s first rural municipality to reach its Carbon Neutral Target following a range of changes to Council operations to reduce residual greenhouse gas emissions.
Council’s decision at this week’s meeting to commit $26,000 in funds for tree planting and revegetation from next year’s Budget to offset corporate emissions in 2020-21 will see Council meet its target.
Colac Otway has also committed to further emissions reduction through the installation of new heat pumps for all three pools at Bluewater Leisure Centre, transition to electric fleet vehicles and alternatives to mains gas to reduce Council’s gas and fuel use, which will be staged over the next ten years with the aim to achieve carbon neutrality without offsets.
Over the past 10 years, following the endorsement of its Environment Strategy and Carbon Neutral Target, Council reduced its emissions by 36% through a $1.5-million investment which included $500,000 in grants.
This investment enabled energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and other emissions reduction work (which has been fully paid back through ongoing savings) including:
- Installation of 275kW of solar PV on Council buildings (providing 350,000kW of emissions-free electricity and saving $70,000 annually)
- Streetlight upgrades
- Installation of solar hot water at recreational facilities
- LED upgrades of office lighting (co-funded with Sustainability Victoria)
- Upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning and Building Management System at the Rae Street office precinct and Bluewater (co-funded with Sustainability Victoria)
Council also agreed to purchase 100-per-cent Greenpower in 2020 and will complete an audit in 2022-23 to ensure its Carbon Neutral Target is being met.
Colac Otway Mayor Cr Kate Hanson said Council’s investment and focus on sustainability over the past 10 years to achieve carbon neutrality demonstrated Colac Otway’s leadership and commitment to environmental sustainability.
“There has been a great deal of work undertaken across the organisation to improve efficiencies and reduce our carbon footprint, which has resulted in a more sustainable future for Council and our community and significant cost savings,” Cr Hanson said.
“We are setting an important example for our residents and we have committed to continuing to reduce emissions with the change from gas boilers to electric heat pumps at Bluewater and transition to electric vehicles.
“Our Colac Otway community can feel very proud of its shire and the services that can be provided, while investing in our future and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.”