Sydney and Melbourne expanded their successful CitySwitch Green Office program, which is now improving businesses’ energy performance in cities across Australia.

The Challenge

In Australia, building owners are not responsible for their tenants’ environmental impacts, creating not only a knowledge and resource gap but also a split incentive for action. Sydney and Melbourne’s CitySwitch bridges that gap by providing office-based businesses with the tools to undertake energy efficient measures as well as a large network to share experiences.

 

The Solution

Initiated by Sydney and Melbourne, the CitySwitch Green Office program provides training, network access, and tracking tools to businesses to help them reduce day-to-day energy use and improve their overall sustainability performance. Although Melbourne and Sydney have been collaborating for a decade, the program recently expanded to seven cities, and now partners with both states and the federal government. To date, CitySwitch supports 12% of Australia’s commercial office space. As demonstrated by its widespread adoption, the program has positively impacted businesses’ energy performances in participating jurisdictions. On energy and carbon, verified data shows that signatory businesses deliver 25% savings on average during their time in the program. In 2015 alone, the program’s 1,500 projects achieved almost 350,000 metric tons of CO2 reductions. In addition to a wide business network, the program also provides structured performance management tools that help measure and quantify outcomes and integrate other business priorities like costs, employee health, social sustainability, and technology. In 2015, nearly 30% of completed CitySwitch projects related to health, technology, or staff engagement, and the program’s members’ combined actions helped avoid $9.7 million in energy-related expenses.

 

Environmental Benefits - Since 2011, 850 CitySwitch projects have committed to expand efforts to decrease waste and increase renewable energy use.

Economic Benefits - Cost savings is a large part of the CitySwitch program, and, in three years, members have saved more than $26 million in avoided energy costs.

Health Benefits - Since 2011, the program’s signatory businesses have undertaken 130 projects to improve the well-being and health of employees.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.