We are urging voters to increase The Greens representation on the City of Sydney Council to ensure that the City takes an active role in promoting Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) in development and renovation within the City’s boundaries.
We will find a property that will become the City’s sustainable house. The property should be readily accessible by public transport and it will have one or two car share spots out the front. The house will be renovated using low energy non-toxic materials and paints sourced within Australia. The Greens would look to involve the architecture, planning and environmental studies faculties of our local universities to design, plan and direct the project.
Water tanks will be installed to make the property self sufficient and waste water and sewage will be recycled. Power will be supplied using photovoltaic cells and a small wind turbine or we could also install tri-generation in the street and power the whole street. Energy efficient appliances and lighting will be installed and excess power will be sold back to the grid. Water efficient taps and fittings will be used throughout the property
The property will have a productive garden producing food and fruit bearing shade tress should be planted in the street. Any necessary paving should be done in pale colours to ensure heat is reflected and future upgrades to the street should use pale coloured material
Once completed the City will use this facility for tours, seminars and workshops to educate architects, builders and residents on the very latest ESD developments. This will be a great way of involving the community in active participation to reduce emissions and the impacts of climate change by promoting ideas that can be readily and economically incorporated into projects straight away.
It is important that the ESD initiatives promoted by the sustainable house should be affordable and accessible to the ordinary person. The City should be dismantling the myth that ESD is expensive and fostering the ethic that ESD is the only way to go.
To accompany this initiative the City will prepare a handy “what can be done to improve the ESD of your property” which will be sent to all individuals lodging a development application – there are currently over 3000 DA’s lodged with the City each year
Unfortunately the planning system is too cumbersome and too much a hostage to special interests to drive change with the urgency that is required. The City’s ESD DCP process will be bogged down for years and ultimately the DCP, no matter how good it is, could be rejected my the Minister for Planning who is constantly lobbied by developers and the Property Council.
The City of Sydney is in a position to act quickly to drive change and the Greens think that it should do just that with a highly visible sustainable house and an active program of community engagement.
As a side benefit the City might even be able to create some affordable accommodation for a manager of the facility by incorporating living quarters into the project.