Sustainability Resources

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Sustainability at home

Queanbeyan residents can make some simple changes in everyday life to reduce their carbon footprints have immediate positive impacts on the environment, lifestyles, the community and even finances.Below is some great information on sustainability programs and resources designed to help people live more sustainably.

Community Action

Click on the link below to take part in the Community Renewable Energy Project Expression of Interest (EOI) survey!

Community Renewable Energy EOI.JPG 

Listen to the 19 March 2015 Community Renewable Energy Forum here:

1528-SolarShare_Logo Lawrence McIntosh 
HepburnWind-Logo Martin May 
SEE-Change-Logo-Jodie Pipkorn 
Serree-logo-Craig Hanicek 

Local groups

Try getting in touch with the local groups taking action on environmental initiatives listed below and keep an eye on Council’s website for news of environmental events run by Council.Examples of past events include: National Tree Day, Enviro Expo, Clean Up Australia Day, NSW Bike Week, World Environment Day and Community Renewable Energy Forum

Queanbeyan Landcare - This local group implements projects to improve our natural environment.

Molonglo Catchment Group - Visit this website to find out about participating in the many programs such as Waterwatch and Platypuswatch and Frogwatch.

Queanbeyan Sustainability Group - To find out more contact Katrina Willis on 02 6284 4113 or email: katrinawillis@iinet.net.au . Regular updates on Queanbeyan Sustainability Group activities can be heard on Radio Landcare each Sunday from 8am on community radio station.

Queanbeyan Region Bicycle User Group - This local group can be contacted by email at qbnregionbug@gmail.com


Energy

Want to reduce your electricity bills and cut your carbon emissions? It's easy.

Home Energy Action Program

The NSW Government is offering low income households assistance with high-return energy-efficient improvements to their home, in partnership with key program partners and stakeholders across social and environment sectors.

The program will assist vulnerable families and households, including low income renters, to enjoy more comfortable and energy-efficient homes through improved access to energy-saving appliance and home improvements.

For more information visit the website or find answers to 'Frequently Asked Questions' here.

Energy savings

Reducing your energy consumption will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution released and also save you money.

Electricity and gas bills have risen significantly in recent years and are expected to continue going up so taking action to improve the energy efficiency of your house now makes a lot of sense.

There are many appliances and equipment around our houses with common consuming energy. The average breakdown of energy use for a NSW household is shown below. The design and features of your house influences your energy consumption but so do the appliances you use and your habits or behaviour.

Actions you can take to reduce your energy consumption can be found here.

household energy use

Hot water heating

Electric water heating is the biggest energy user in NSW homes and can account for up to a third of your home’s annual power bill. The overall running cost of your hot water depends on the type of system you have and how you use it.

Running your hot water system efficiently, reducing your hot water use and choosing an energy efficient hot water system can make a big difference to the size of your power bills and carbon pollution.

Quick tips to save hot water:

  • choose a climate-friendly hot water system
  • install a 3 star WELS rated showerhead and taps
  • take shorter showers
  • fix any drips
  • wash clothes in cold water

Further information is available at the NSW Environment website.

Appliance and Energy Ratings

E3 Logo

When purchasing new large household appliances and fixtures, use the government's Energy Ratings (stars) to guide you to the most efficient products to save money.

Energy ratings are used for appliances include washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, air-conditioners and some home office equipment.

The energy rating (stars) illustrates how energy efficient the appliance is and often includes an annual operating cost. By purchasing appliances with four stars or more you can save money in operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Click HERE to read about various details including energy efficiency and star ratings for a range of electrical appliances that carry an energy label.

Generating your own electricity

The majority of Australia’s electricity comes from burning coal - a non-renewable resource that releases large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Switching to renewable energy is an effective way to reduce emissions and to support the transition to a low-carbon future.

Renewable energy sources include the sun, the wind and water. These sources are constantly replenished unlike non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and gas. Renewable sources of energy produce very low amounts of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels.

The abundant sunshine that we receive in Australia can be converted into electricity via solar (photovoltaic) panels.

  • The Alternative Technology Association provides information on solar panels for electricity generation
  • The Australian Consumers Association provides a guide to choosing solar panels for electricity generation
  • The ‘Your Home Guide to Renewable Energy’ website also feature information on renewable systems

Greenpower

Households and businesses connected to the mains power grid and unable to make their own power can purchase electricity from accredited renewable energy suppliers as an effective alternative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the renewable energy industry.

'Greenpower' is the Federal Government's accreditation program for renewable energy and provides a means of ensuring that renewable energy is generated at the highest environmental standards. All major energy suppliers provide Greenpower accredited electricity. Further information on the Greenpower program can be found here.


Food & Gardening

Regional Food Production

Sustaining our Towns partnered with regional producers’ group SCPA – South East Producers to undertake a food industry development program in the south east region called ‘South East Food’. The aim of this project is to grow the local and regional food economy from within.

The ‘South East Food Plan: A Plan for Growing the Regional Food Economy in South East NSW’ was finalised and released in May 2012.

Community Gardens

Queanbeyan has a community garden located in the Railway Park on Henderson Road. This garden is run by the Queanbeyan Sustainability Group Inc.

To find out more or get involved with the garden contact: you can email info@queanbeyansustainability.org.au or telephone on 6284 4113.

The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network is a great resource for information and news on community gardening.

Love Food Hate Waste

Each NSW household throws away more than $1,000 of food per year. Across the state that totals 800,000 tonnes per year.

Sad, isn't it?

Sadder still, most of it could have been eaten. We often waste food because we don't know how to store it correctly. Store your cheese correctly and it will last longer.

Love Food Hate Waste NSW Government website with hints and tips on how to waste less food, save money and help the environment.

Sustainable Food

The Food Lovers Guide to Sustainable Eating produced by Monash University is a great place to find information on the environmental impact of the food we eat and how to make better choices.

Organic Waste

Recycling your organic waste by composting or worm-farming has many benefits:

  • Creates a free fertiliser and mulch for your garden
  • Can be great fun – kids love worm farms
  • Reduces the transport impacts from taking waste to the landfill
  • helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding the methane created when organics break down in landfill

So what is compost?

Compost is the process of decomposing organic matter through the action of microbes, bacteria and fungi. By providing them with the right conditions these organisms can rapidly break down your organic matter into wonderful sweet smelling crumbly compost or soil.

You can download a guide on composting here.

Wormfarming

Worm farming is a method of composting or breaking organic matter down into a form easily accessible to plants through the aid of worms. They do this by munching their way through all your food scraps and other organic materials and as a result of their digestive processes they produce castings (worm poo).

You can download a guide on starting a wormfarm here.


Living Green

The Australian Government's Living Greener website is a great place to start sustainable home living. This website includes information on programs and financial support available from the Australian Government as well as state and territory governments.

How Sustainable Is Your Lifestyle?

A measurement of how efficient and how sustainable your own lifestyle is can be ascertained by conducting an ecological footprint study. An online Ecological Footprint test can be found at the Powerhouse Museum website.

DIY Home Sustainability Library Kit

This kit can be borrowed from the Queanbeyan library and includes a home sustainability guide, a number of sustainable devices to help you assess the sustainability of your home (and various books and DVDs on a number of sustainability topics.

Building and Sustainable House Design

With rising energy costs it’s clever to pay attention to your home design. Working with the sun, using cooling breezes, choosing the right insulation and thinking about energy efficiency are all smart choices.

The Sustaining our Towns Home Comforts magazine has been developed to help you create a new home that’s comfortable and stylish. Produced locally, Home Comforts explains some of the easiest and most affordable methods of ensuring a luxurious lifestyle in South East New South Wales.

Home Comforts also explains what you need to consider when buying land and building a home. In plain language you can read about BASIX, managing bushfire risk and council planning requirements. You can download a copy of the Home comforts magazine here or visit the Council offices for a hard copy

These websites also provide advice to assist you in designing, building and renovating your home

Currently renting?

There is plenty of changes you can make to increase the sustainability of your home and lifestyle. Check out the Renters Guide to Sustainability for some ideas.


Rebates and assistance

Council supports homes and business to conserve water through its Waterwise program which provides incentives in the form of subsidies and rebates to install water efficiency measures.

The NSW Government is offering low income householders assistance with high-return energy-efficient improvements to their home. For more information about the Home Energy Action Program visit the website or find answers to 'Frequently Asked Questions' here.

Information on Grants and Funding opportunities for voluntary organisations and community programs is available here or call 1800 803 772.


Sustainable and Active Transport

What's Council doing about transport?

Community Consultation

Council held two public transport forums in 2011 to help determine strategies Council may use to help the community better understand Council's role with respect to public transport and to inform the Council on community expectations around the provision of public transport and pedestrian facilities. A number of recommendations arising from this process will be implemented or explored further

Bicycle Plan

Queanbeyan City Council identified the need to develop a Bike Plan and engaged Geoplan Services P/L, in association with Cardno Eppell Olsen to conduct a study. The Queanbeyan Bicycle Plan was adopted in May 2010 in conjunction with the Pedestrian and Mobility Plan (PAMP).

Pedestrian and Mobility Plan (PAMP)

The aim of the PAMP is to create a network that provides an attractive alternative to car travel, enables Council to promote walking and provide links to community facilities. The PAMP will provide Council with the tools to deliver long-term planning goals for pedestrian access and mobility.

Googong and Tralee Traffic Study

The Googong and Tralee Traffic Study (2031) was adopted in April 2010 and will guide much of the future transport infrastructure in Queanbeyan. One of the main objectives of the Googong and Tralee Traffic Study was to identify when and where transport network improvements should occur in the Queanbeyan transport network between 2006 and 2031.


Sustainable Business

Adopting sustainable practices at your place of work can reduce the environmental impact of your business, create a more comfortable and efficient work environment, demonstrate leadership and environmental commitment to the community and result in significant cost savings.

Ways your workplace or business can take action include:

  • Saving energy
  • Recycling and reducing waste
  • Purchasing green office products and equipment
  • Reducing paper consumption
  • Offsetting the emissions of your workplace
  • Encouraging and supporting green travel

Resources

Council has partnered with the ACT government to fund the delivery of the ACTSmart Business program in Queanbeyan. ACTSmart is a FREE program to assist your business to put more efficient recycling and waste management into action.

Other Business resources

The Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW) provides information and several programs to support business (see below): Visit their website here:

  • The Energy Efficiency for Small Business Program and Energy Saver help business to reduce energy usage, cut costs and do their bit for the environment.
  • The Energy Efficiency Training Program ensures NSW has the skilled workforce needed to implement energy efficiency opportunities in business, industry, government and the community
  • The Sustainability Advantage Program assists businesses to achieve good environmental performance that will reduce risk, lower costs, improve productivity and enhance reputation. OEH invites businesses to partner in this program to achieve business sustainability
  • NSW Environmental Upgrade Agreements make it easier to access finance for works to improve the energy, water or environmental efficiency or environmental sustainability of commercial buildings in participating local councils in NSW.
  • The NABERS national rating system measures the environmental performance of commercial buildings and tenancies, shopping centres, hotels and homes, and can be used to fairly compare their environmental efficiency.
  • Living Greener Guide to Sustainability at Work
  • The NSW Department of Education and Training’s Green Skills NSW Business Guide
  • Planet Arks’ Business Recycling Guide

Sustainable Building

To find out about Council's Sustainable Design Policy and learn how to build your next sustainable home click here.


Sustainable Schools

Council supports schools in the Queanbeyan area through funding the delivery of the Keep Australia Beautiful program in local schools. This program includes education on waste issues as well as broader environmental issues.

Talks and activities are also delivered by Council staff to schools on issues such as the local platypus population, recycling and waste, and the river ecosystem.

To assist schools in participating in National Tree Day Council has also donated trees and mulch to local schools.

For more information and support to develop your schools sustainability programs please contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 02 6285 6000 or visit:


Useful Websites and other information sources

Queanbeyan Palerang Library Service The Queanbeyan Library has a wide range of books and other resources such as the DIY Home Sustainability Library Kit that provide a wealth of knowledge on the environment and sustainability. The library is now located at 6 Rutledge St Queanbeyan.

Sustaining Our Towns was an exciting 3 year initiative from 2009-2012 for the South-Eastern NSW region offering a variety of programs and opportunities for you in your business, at home, at work or in the community to help reduce your ecological footprint. The project is now complete but the website still contains valuable resources and information.

Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW)

The Australian Conservation Foundation

SERRG South East Resource Recovery Group


Water

Queanbeyan's water comes from the ACT supply which is sourced primarily from the Cotter system and supplemented by supplies from Googong Dam.

The dam have been at or near capacity in the past two years but water is still a precious resource and with experts predicting the climate is likely to be warmer and drier in the future efforts to conserve water remain essential.

Water treatment and pumping uses a lot of energy, so by saving water you’re also saving electricity and emissions.

Water restrictions

Permanent Water Conservation Measures currently apply in Queanbeyan and are mandatory and enforceable. Anyone found in breach of the restrictions may be liable to fines starting at $200 for an individual or $1,000 for a corporation.

Council supports homes and business to conserve water through its Waterwise program which provides incentives in the form of subsidies and rebates to install water efficiency measures.

Ratings

The Australian Government has a water rating program the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme to assist consumers in choosing water efficient products. Remember to look for the WELS stars on products and find more information here.

For water saving information and tips please see:

  • Icon Water website
  • Water Saving Tips on the Office of Environment and Heritage website