Residential Energy Efficiency Service

(6pm, Thursday 19 September 2013, 88 Pitt Street Redfern)

Despite the lack of real commitment on carbon reduction in the recent Federal election, the hard truth isn't going to disappear. Climate change is real, it's happening and - as the IPCC report soon to be released will no doubt show - we're rapidly running out of time to reverse the trend.

We've made it a priority at the City and we're working on our own operations, and in partnership with small and large businesses, building owners and tenants to reach our targets for emissions reductions, water and fuel savings, and recycling.

We aim to reduce emissions - across our own operations and across the City - by 70 per cent of 2006 levels by 2030.

We measure our progress stringently and we are well on target, thanks to initiatives like our solar panels on our buildings and our roll-out of LED street lighting which are reducing emissions and saving us money.

We've retrofitted 45 of our major buildings for energy and water-saving. We've introduced tri-generation to power, heat and cool our town Hall precinct, and we have a Decentralised Water Master Plan in place to reduce demand, provide sustainable supply sources and improve storm-water quality.

We've also achieved a waste recycling rate of over 65 per cent in the last quarter of the current year.

Our partnerships include the Smart Green Apartments program which is helping an initial 30 buildings to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in energy use, a 26 per cent reduction in water use, and a saving of up to $74,000 per building per years.

We're also working with tenants to improve their environmental performance, and with building owners to green the base buildings.

But there are still huge challenges. So I'm delighted that Gavin and Big Switch Projects are taking on that challenge.

Every single business, every single household in the country needs to do their bit to help reduce our emissions.

There are new technologies out there that can do that, and there are more efficient fridges and lighting and other appliances that people can install. Anyone who's facing a power bill of $1500 a quarter or more - as many of these home owners are - would be mad not to be interested!

And then there are the simple behavioural changes that can be made - switching off your computer or your television or towel rails when the power doesn't need to be on.

Big Switch at Home will tackle both these aspects via a home-energy audit. Gavin has nine young assessors in training to carry out those audits - nearly all of them graduates in renewable energy engineering from UNSW.

The one exception I believe is also an engineer and he's come from working in a Hunter Valley coal mine - from being part of the problem to forming part of the solution. It's a great move!

I hope you'll all form a nucleus of great advocates in the clean energy sector. We need more voices, and more solutions, if we are to embed a sustainable culture.

I'm delighted to launch the Big Switch at Home, and I wish all of you every success. We are all in this one together!

Thank you.