The sails of the Sydney Opera House were illuminated green on the night of Monday 24th September to celebrate the carbon neutral certification.
To reduce electricity use by 14%, the Concert Hall’s incandescent bulbs where replaced with custom LED lights to achieve a 75% reduction in electrical consumption, while a new building management control system was installed to monitor energy and water use. Chiller units connected to the Opera House’s pioneering seawater cooling system were also replaced to achieve a 9% energy reduction.
To increase recycling rates from 25% to 60%, the Opera House implemented a new waste management system, including the transfer of food waste to an organics facility to be turned into energy, rather than directing it to a landfill. In addition, an education program on waste management was rolled out for onboarding staff and contractors.
With the help of major partner EnergyAustralia, the Opera House offset remaining emissions by investing in NCOS-certified international emissions reduction projects. The commitment included supporting SouthPole’s project “EcoAustralia” which combines biodiversity conservation in the Annya State Forest in Victoria, Australia with international emissions reduction.
Sustainability is in the Opera House’s DNA. Architect Jørn Utzon incorporated sustainable design into the fabric of the building in the 1960s. We aim to honour and enhance this legacy by embedding sustainable thinking into everything we do. I’m proud to announce that thanks to long-term focus, creativity and the support of our partner EnergyAustralia we’ve become carbon neutral five years ahead of target. -Louise Herron AM, CEO, Sydney Opera House
The next step in the Opera House’s Environmental Sustainability Plan will be to reduce energy use by 20%, achieve 85% recycling on operational waste, and to maintain its carbon neutral status in time for its 50th anniversary in 2023.