Case Studies and Initiatives

Looking for new ways to address old issues?

Recently ICLEI Oceania was commissioned by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government to develop a series of case studies for their Innovation and Knowledge Exchange Network (IKEN). The case studies highlight practices and initiatives that are working for particular Councils and are featured below.

Member councils have also provided the following profiles to share with other councils on what is working for them. Throughout 2014 we will feature council contributions here and in our monthly eNews. If you like to contribute to this knowledge base please contact us.


City of Mandurah

City of Mandurah continues to reduce its carbon footprint

Geothermal heating has been identified as the most cost effective and long-term sustainable heating method for the redeveloped Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre (MARC). Utilising a renewable energy source ensures that around 2,300 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be avoided and significant energy cost savings in gas, which is currently the primary heating source.

Read more

City of Sydney

The City of Sydney is leading the nation in the battle against climate change through direct action to slash carbon emissions. The City has set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030—one of the most ambitious targets of any Australian government.

They are installing energy-efficient LED street and park lights and creating Australia’s largest building-mounted solar panel project. They are making their major buildings energy efficient through our retrofit program and helping businesses and tenants reduce their energy bills.

Download the full sustainability fact sheet here.

The City of Sydney Council has also rolled out one of the largest solar installations of its kind in Australia, an 80-year-old recreation centre in The Rocks is set to become the 18th site to receive the 'solar treatment'. The 82,215-kilowatt per annum system covering 362.65 square metres of roof will save 87 tonnes of emissions a year.

To find out more about this project and other energy initiatives go to City of Sydney

City of Stirling

Community Food Garden Grants Program

The City has a Community Food Garden Grants Program Policy and this recognises the value of Community Food Garden projects in fostering the social, environmental and economic development of local communities.

Funded community food garden projects have been situated on both Council land and incorporated not-for-profit land. These sites are then managed by volunteer community members with the support of the Council and are used for:

  • the production of edible produce for the personal use (not for profit) of its members through allotments or shared plots with associated landscaping and infrastructure elements;
  • and the demonstration of best practice environmental initiatives, organic gardening practices and sustainability principles to the wider community including local schools, community groups and individual citizens which will lead to the building of community capacity.

The main role for the City has been to provide leadership, funding, information and logistical support to assist in the establishment and development of sustainable community food garden projects. Through the grants program, the City has provided access to City land and funding assistance ranging from $500 to $20,000 per project. The City also provides a significant level of assistance with community consultation, garden design and garden implementation.

Download the full case study profile.

Hepburn Shire Council

Bio-Energy Feasibility Study

• The aim of the study was to determine the use of renewable bio energy within the Hepburn Shire to reduce Green House Gas emissions and review the economic viability of such an approach.

• The Study has been completed and endorsed by Council and found that about 1,000 tonnes pa of Green House Gas emissions could be avoided by Council and larger energy users within Hepburn Shire.

• The study found there was a good match of available bio-energy feedstock available within the Hepburn Shire compared to the energy usage by larger organisations within the Shire.

• The Study incorporated a business case assessment to determine the economics and factors which impact on the viability of alternative bio-energy solutions.

• The study found that there was a viable business case for a district heating system for major energy users in Daylesford/Hepburn Springs, subject to state/federal government support. The anticipated increase in natural gas prices over time, further strengthens the business case for the use of bio-energy as an alternative form of heat.

Download the whole case study here

Lake Macquarie City Council

Title: 10/10 Challenge

Program Summary: The aim of the 10:10 Challenge was to engage large numbers of people in 2010 to take action to reduce their ecological footprint. The 10/10 Challenge encouraged residents, community groups, business, and industry to make a pledge to change their behaviour across areas such as energy and water usage, waste, consumption and transport. The 10:10 Challenge was launched in April 2010 with 80 key stakeholders (political representatives, business, community groups and individuals) urging others to join the Challenge. Council provided support to assist people to carry out their pledges. A number of businesses, as well as making pledges around their own operations, also provided discounts on sustainable purchases to assist others to carry out their pledges. For example, solar providers gave discounts to Challenge participants, and a local building society created a low interest loan for green initiatives.

Outcomes: Some seven months later with media, on line, and face-to-face engagement opportunities Council had more than 13,750 pledges, estimated to save almost 9,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to savings for participants of over $570,000.

Download the full case study profile.

Click here to visit the council's website.


Cairns Regional Council

Sustainable Tropical Building Design Framework

Program Summary: In October 2011 Cairns Regional Council adopted a Sustainable Building Design Policy which means that all new and renovated Council buildings need to meet a set of sustainable design requirements.

The Policy is part of a framework which also includes a Sustainable Building Design Checklist and Guidelines. The Checklist is designed to ensure that the objectives of the Policy are met, and the Guidelines provide background information on sustainable tropical building design to assist Council staff to implement the Policy.

Outcomes for Council Buildings:

  • surpass minimum statutory requirements for energy and water efficiency where possible;
  • incorporate materials with lower environmental impacts;
  • provide a high quality indoor environment;
  • are fitted with electricity sub-metering devices; and
  • maximise opportunities for public and active transport access

Council is recognised as a leader and develops knowledge, resources and capacity in the area of sustainable tropical building design.

Council drives improvement in sustainable building design within local industry and the community.

The documents are available on the council’s website.

Download the full case study profile.

City of Melbourne

City of Melbourne 1200 Buildings Program: Grappling with the Complexities of Retrofitting Melbourne’s CBD

The focus of the 1200 Buildings Program is to lead and support innovation for the retrofitting of over two-thirds of the City’s 1800 commercial buildings with a potential carbon saving of 383,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year by 2020.

This is being achieved through a whole-of-building approach, with practical financial funding mechanisms to drive investment and innovation in the commercial sector. There is a strong emphasis on building relationships between key players including tenants and building owners. As commercial buildings are retrofitted they become centres of environmental innovation and showcase engineering excellence.

View the full case study.

Mornington Peninsula Shire

Adapting to Climate Change: Council Focus on Cultural and Behavioural Change as a Key to Building Community Resilience

The Council has focused on cultural and behavioural change as a key to building community resilience. Their ‘Climate Change Conversations’ community engagement program was attended by more than 3,000 people and, is an excellent example of how to address global issues with the local community to ensure that council actions reflect community expectations.

View the full case study.