Australia’s largest city is reducing emissions from its buildings sector by targeting existing and new apartment buildings for water and energy efficiency upgrades

The Challenge

The apartment sector is responsible for 11% of Sydney’s emissions. With 73% of city residents living in more than 1,900 apartment buildings, RASP responds to the need for sector-specific action to drive down emissions and energy use in apartment buildings. By 2030, over 90% of new dwellings built will be high-rise buildings. While dense housing typically has a lower environmental impact, RASP ensures that these high-rises are built to prioritize energy efficiency.

 

The Solution

The Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan (RASP) is Sydney’s ambitious plan to improve resource efficiency across new and existing apartment buildings. When fully implemented, actions in RASP for new and existing apartment buildings could see a reduction in apartment-sector CO2 emissions by 40% and water consumption by 7% by 2030, as well as 70% of waste diverted from landfills by 2021. RASP aims to reach these targets through cost-effective energy efficiency projects and technologies spanning lighting, pool pumps and motors, heating, and ventilation systems. The plan seeks to teach owners and building managers to identify, approve, and implement projects, and to facilitate a Leadership Network for peer learning amongst stakeholders. RASP also addresses building owners’ concerns about the costs of retrofits by providing financial incentives for upgrades.

ASP builds on learnings from the Smart Green Apartments (SGA) pilot program, which upgraded 30 apartment buildings and verified that Sydney could reduce apartment-sector energy use by 30%. The SGA pilot achieved annual energy savings of 3,223 MWh and annual greenhouse emissions reductions of 3,191 tons. By scaling these results city-wide, Sydney can make impressive strides in energy efficiency in a short time.

 

Environmental Benefits – By adopting actions from RASP, Sydney’s apartment sector stands to reduce water consumption by 7% by 2030.

Social Benefits – RASP has encouraged cooperation and a shared sustainability vision among the city’s apartment managers, owners, and tenants.

Economic Benefits – The SGA pilot verified that projects generally show a payback of less than four years, saving individual apartment buildings up to an average of $66,013 per year

 

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation.

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 2015 publication online here.