Creating more sustainable cities involves designing and constructing sustainable buildings which are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. In addition, how we maintain public infrastructure such as roads and streetlights, is another way to effectively reduce emissions and help our community adapt.

Proposed actions for efficient buildings and infrastructure in the Climate Response Plan:

Adapt and protect our buildings and infrastructure

Ensuring the continued operation of council facilities and the safety of users is of high importance to Council.

We plan to do this by:

  • Engaging with the facility operators (Council and third party) to establish safe operating levels for facilities that are at risk of being impacted by climate stressors;
  • Incorporating climate variables and future climate risk into building condition assessments to ensure that climate impacts, such as storms, bushfires, floods and heatwaves are considered;
  • Developing a site-specific strategy for the ongoing provision of sporting facilities during extreme droughts;
  • Ensuring future planning and design criterion that critical facilities and emergency services are located in accessible and resilient locations; and
  • Reviewing and updating climate hazard mapping to ensure that planning decisions account for areas of future and current risk.

We know our community relies on being able to access public infrastructure. The safety of the people who use this infrastructure is the highest priority of Council.

We plan to do this by:

  • Seeking legal advice on the liability associated with climatic events that have the potential to impact users of Council infrastructure;
  • Engaging with public sector service providers, such as water authorities, to signal the importance of being prepared for future climate risks, learn from their practices, identify potential points of intersection with Council services and areas where collaboration might be mutually beneficial;
  • Developing detailed financial impact analysis studies in order to access future external capital to support risk mitigation works linked to climate change; and
  • Identifying infrastructure that may be required as a retreat, as a long-term adaptation measure due to flood or fire risk.

Increase energy efficiency in Council buildings

We will continue to implement energy efficiency upgrades at facilities to reduce energy consumption, initiatives include installing solar photovoltaics (PV), lighting upgrades and gap sealing.

We plan to do this by:

  • Implementation of a Sustainable Design and Infrastructure Policy;
  • Implementation of Knox City Council Energy Performance Contract;
  • Undertaking energy efficiency opportunities for Council buildings; and
  • Installing solar PV across remaining viable sites.

Changing Occupant Behaviour

A simple and practical way to lower building emissions is changing the way people use facilities. This includes changing how rooms are used and operated (e.g. opening and closing of windows and blinds).

Low emissions building through design

This program aims to address the energy efficiency of buildings as they are being designed and built. The outcome would be buildings that are well insulated, well oriented, more comfortable and resilient to increasing temperature and designed for low-energy use.

We plan to do this by:

  • Working with developers to ensure that the highest standard of environmentally sustainable design is implemented. At first, this will involve developing consistent interpretations of Local Planning Policies and the National Construction Code amongst planning teams and ensuring that developers are supported to meet these high standards. Beyond this, we will work on developing updated planning provisions and advocate for their inclusion in the Knox Planning Scheme by the State Government.
  • Investigating incentives for developers to encourage them to design high-performing buildings. This may include incentives such as faster processing times for planning applications, discounted rates, or others.

Change Public Lighting to LED

We have already undertaken a bulk changeover of around 10,600 residential lights to LED, reducing energy use by over 75% and resulting in significant savings to operating and maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

We plan to do this by:

  • Replacing approximately 3,300 lights to LED on major roads and intersections; and
  • Powering streetlights with wind energy via a Power Purchasing Agreement.

Sustainable Roads

We construct, specify, and fix many kilometres of road each year. This program will lower emissions by using sustainable materials for the construction and maintenance of roads and footpaths, and changing construction processes. In addition, we will update our infrastructure specifications to incorporate the Department of Transport specifications.