Hurricane Sandy is an important reminder that climate change remains the biggest challenge of our time. Leading scientists from around the world are warning that we should expect more frequent, wilder weather.
The City of Sydney is committed to taking action on climate change and we are working to reduce our carbon pollution by 70 per cent by 2030.
Two new projects - installing solar panels at 30 sites across our local government area and upgrading our street and park lighting to highly efficient LED are making a difference right now.
Sydney Park pavilion will be the first place to have solar photovoltaic panels installed as part of a $4.3 million project to boost the amount of renewable energy the City uses.
Once completed, we will have the largest building-mounted solar panel program in Australia, with a total peak electrical capacity of 1.25 megawatts (MW). The solar program is expected to reduce the City's annual carbon pollution by as much as 2,250 tonnes.
Energy produced locally through solar panels, other renewable energy, trigeneration and fuel cell systems reduce the need to spend billions of dollars on new coal-fired power stations and network upgrades, which are driving up household electricity bills.
The buildings that will receive solar power include: Paddington and Glebe Town Hall, Town Hall House, Redfern Oval grandstand, Railway Square bus interchange, as well as libraries, community centres and depots.
The City has already installed solar hot water and/or photovoltaic systems on 18 sites including libraries, community centres, depots and the historic Sydney Town Hall where 240 panels on create a peak capacity of 48 kilowatts.
At the same time, the City is switching street and park lights to highly efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. This upgrade provides a clearer, brighter light while reducing electricity use by 70 per cent compared to the old incandescent lights.
Bicentennial Park in Glebe is the first park to have the new LED lights installed as part of the City's $7 million three year roll out of the green technology.
Replacing 6,450 conventional lights is not only good for the environment but makes good business sense. The switch will help the City will save nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs.
Sydney will be the first city in Australia to install the new LED street and park lights across its city centre, and joins other major cities such as Berlin, Barcelona, Los Angeles and San Francisco who are embracing the technology.
The roll-out of LED lights follows a successful 18-month trial at Alexandria Park, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Circular Quay.
In a public survey conducted by the City during the trial, more than 90 per cent of people reported finding the new lighting more appealing, and three-quarters said it improved visibility
Public lighting accounts for a third of the City of Sydney's annual electricity use and 30 per cent of its carbon pollution.
More than 1,400 LED lights have already been installed so far in Bridge Street, Elizabeth Street, Martin Place, St James Road, College Street, Bathurst Street, George Street, Darlinghurst Road, Martin Place, Taylor Square, William Street, Castlereagh Street, Philip Street, Park Street, Market Street in the CBD. Others have been installed in Gadigal Ave in Zetland and Quarry Masters Drive and Saunders Streets in Pyrmont.
Together, these projects will reduce our carbon pollution by at least 5,100 tonnes each year.