Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability Initiatives

Cooling the City

The Cooling the City Strategy is designed to make Penrith a better place to live, by addressing the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. This is caused when heat is absorbed by hard surfaces in urban areas such as pavements, roads and buildings with minimal shading. This heat is then radiated back out, making urban areas significantly hotter than surrounding regions. If you’ve ever felt the heat coming off a black asphalt road, concrete path or brick wall after a hot day, this is what is occurring. As a result, cities become islands of heat surrounded by less urbanised areas which are cooler. By improving our existing urban areas and new development areas, we can create suburbs which are better places to live, work and play.

Since adopting the Cooling the City Strategy in August 2015, Council has achieved the following outcomes: 

  • With projects currently underway, in excess of 100,000 trees will be planted in the LGA over the next 3 years.
  • A street tree inventory has been undertaken for 12,000 sites in suburbs identified as having particular challenges in terms of urban heat. The recommendations are currently being investigated, including looking at the potential for additional street tree planting in 5,000 identified opportunity sites.
  • Partnering with the One Tree Per Child program, which has seen more than 1,500 trees given to children at local childcare centres. This program also developed curriculum based teaching resources for childcare centre staff to present to their children on the role and value of trees in the urban environment.
  • Consideration of urban heat has been included in the design of a number of new and upcoming community spaces including Jordan Springs Community Hub, Triangle Park and the upgrading of Council’s Civic Arts Precinct (between Westfield Plaza and the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre). Actions included the inclusion of water sensitive urban design, increased levels of shade, and the use of cool materials.
  • Heat analysis was undertaken as part of the Erskine Park open space reinvestment program, which aims to improve local parks in this suburb for the community.
  • Trees and plants were given away at a number of community events in 2016 including NAIDOC Day, Waste Not Art Festival, and the Real Festival.
  • Council operational staff have undertaken training in water sensitive urban design and green engineering to build skills and capacity within Council.
  • Council has worked with the University of Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Futures to deliver a design competition for climate adapted bus shelters for Western Sydney. Work is currently being undertaken to determine the feasibility of building the winning design in the Penrith area. This project was funded by the NSW Government under the Building Resilience to Climate Change Program.

In 1999, Penrith City Council adopted the Sustainable Penrith Program. In doing so, we acknowledged the emerging international view that a healthy future for our environment, our economy and our society, can only be achieved by balancing the pressures and demands of these 3 elements.

Since adopting this program, we've worked on several initiatives to improve the sustainability of Council and the City, including the assessment of Council's own operations and the development of policies and programs to work towards achieving a more sustainable Penrith.

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In 2015 Council adopted a Sustainability Policy, which includes a Sustainability Strategy, to provide clear direction to the organisation to ensure that sustainability remains a key consideration and is effectively built into our operations, activities and decision making processes. Together they provide a platform for our future sustainability program.

In addition to the Policy, in 2015 Council adopted a suite of new sustainability targets. Targets are an important way of continuing to encourage resource efficiency within the organisation and the transition to more sustainable sources of energy and water into the future. Previous targets have been effective in driving improvements in energy and water efficiency. Read more in our Council report on Sustainability Initiatives - draft policy, strategy and targets

Council’s new targets are:

  • 10% of Council’s electricity supplied from low carbon sources by 2030
  • 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 based on 2010-11 levels
  • Maximise opportunities for sustainable water sources

As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a sustainable City we are undertaking research in a range of areas, building on our past projects.

We have developed a range of policies in order to guide our efforts in adopting sustainable practices across Council and the City. 

Council's Annual Report Annual Report is our yearly report card to the community. It shows what Council has achieved and delivered through our services and programs, and the challenges we have faced. Outcome 5: We Care for our Environment is where we particularly report on what we are doing to protect our river and natural areas, and how we are supporting residents to use resources more efficiently.

Buildings Policy

Energy Savings Action Plan
The Energy Savings Action Plan was developed to meet Council's obligations under the Energy and Utilities Administration Act 1987 while also satisfying criteria for ongoing funding under the NSW Government's Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payments (WaSIP) Program.  The Plan details the findings of audits conducted at five of Council's most energy consuming facilities and provides a program of cost effective works to be implemented over the next 4 years (2012-16).  

Sustainability Revolving Fund Guidelines These guidelines provide a framework for administering Council's Sustainability Revolving Fund. The fund is a financial mechanism used to support projects and initiatives that improve Council's resource use and adopt best practices in this field. The savings that are achieved through these projects is then diverted back into the fund, replenishing it to allow further investment in new projects. In this way it provides a continual source of finance for new sustainability initiatives. Penrith was one of the first Council's to adopt a revolving fund, and we have provided critical feedback to many other organisations looking to set up their own.