Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 23 2016 Contents 78 • THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 23
ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY + SUSTAINABILITY
Initially, meeting regularly, each team was tasked to gather,
calculate and assess baseline data for its area. John Sparks
from the Building team -- a retired town planner and architect
with 35 years of professional experience -- describes the work
of his team: 'As designed today, buildings are not sustainable.
Even though progress has been made in improving efficiency,
development still has a negative impact on the natural
environment. This is because resources have to be extracted
to provide materials, and energy is used for heating, cooling
and operating equipment, not to mention the energy used to
transport people to and from buildings.
'In the ZEB Buildings group, we are creating a framework
to create holistic, sustainable buildings that aim to go beyond
zero emissions towards net positive contributions to nature. This
means that we will be considering the full life cycle of buildings
and integrating social, ecological and economic benefits to
create viable solutions for everyone.'
Sparks explains that the strategy of the Buildings team is
to 'identify opportunities for positive contributions in order to
keep the data at a manageable scale. For example, the energy
embodied in the production process will only be considered in
new buildings, and not in existing buildings, to limit the scope
of the project. Once this phase is complete, the next steps will
be setting targets, identifying strategic options, pinpointing
potential barriers and developing action plans.'
Sapoty Brook from the Transport team explains some of its
challenges. 'Transport is perhaps one of the hardest sectors in
which to work on zero emissions. Currently, sustainable transport
options are very limited in the region. Public transport is restricted
to a couple of services a day per route, though an extensive
school bus service exists. Regional bike transportation is limited
due to the nature of the roads and the lack of bicycle paths.
'Cars provide the main transportation mode. In 2013,
Australian Bureau of Statistics for the Byron Shire region showed
that residents owned more than 24,300 cars -- basically one car
per person. There is also a major influx of visitors travelling to
and from the Shire, estimated at 1.7 million per annum, which
will need to be taken into account when considering transport
plans for the Shire.'
Brook, an electrical engineer, is himself oriented towards
finding and providing transport solutions for an overheating
world. In Byron's subtropical climate, he sees electric motor
scooters, electric bicycles and tricycles as a 'financially viable
pathway for many people to quickly become carbon neutral'.
At the COP 21 Paris Climate Change talks in December,
Mayor Richardson made a series of presentations introducing
the ZEB project, which received favourable international
The next stage? The first goal for the ZEB teams in 2016 is
to collate the baseline data that each team has been gathering.
Then, research will be undertaken on technical solutions
and models that are relevant for the Byron Shire, to be used
to develop detailed strategic plans for its transition to zero
emissions by 2025.
Beyond Zero Emissions Inc. is a not-for-profit research
and education organisation based in Melbourne. It
is known for its work designing and implementing a
zero-emissions economy for Australia. Its primary goal is
'to transform Australia from a 19th-century fossil fuel--
based emissions-intensive economy to a 21st-century
renewable-energy-powered clean-tech economy'. It runs a
Zero Carbon Communities initiative to encourage climate
change policy and action, in line with the latest science
and the mandate made in Paris at COP 21 of peaking
emissions as soon as possible. See www.bze.org.au
Queensland's Centre for Social Change is engaged with a
diverse range of people -- in Australia and internationally
-- including not-for-profit organisations and social
enterprises working to create positive social, economic
and environmental change; community groups and
leaders seeking new ways to engage people around
a specific social or environmental cause; government
agencies planning to engage local communities in
dialogue, planning and evaluation activities; and
businesses interested in finding new ways to work more
sustainably and ethically with communities. See
See case study over the page, and for more inflormation,
visit www.zerobyron.org and www.byron.nsw.gov.au.
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