Sydney Opera House Launches Environmental Sustainability Strategy

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To mark its 50th year, the iconic Sydney Opera House has released a new Environmental Sustainability Plan which aims to reduce the building’s total energy use by 20% and achieve a five star Green Star rating (the top efficiency rating awarded by the Green Building Council) by 2023.

Spanning over a period of seven years, the first three-year plan, covering 2017-19, commits the Opera House to achieving a 7% reduction in its carbon footprint by 2019, in line with the Australian National Target of a 26-28% reduction by 2030 from 2005 levels.

The plan outlines measures such as metering upgrades, improved air conditioning and developing a peak energy strategy in order to achieve these goals.

The Opera House’ strategy also seeks to boost recycling of construction waste to 85%, outline a sustainable transport plan to encourage staff and customers, away from single passenger car transport, and show plans to review and audit water usage – aiming to tackle environmental problems in all areas.

Opera House CEO, Louise Herron, said: “The Opera House was conceived with very broad ambitions in mind, to help mould a better and more enlightened community. The Environmental Sustainability Plan we are launching today is part of achieving that ambition.”

The Opera House has already made significant inroads on sustainability and energy efficiency, having saved Australia $1 million (about £592,000) in electricity costs since 2010, cut its energy usage by 75% and increased waste recycling from 20% in 2010 to 65%.

Last year, the building was also awarded a 4-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia – a rare feat for a World Heritage-listed building.

Furthermore, the cultural centre has run four of its annual ‘Vivid Live’ performing arts festival events to ‘carbon neutral’ standard, introduced food recycling for charities and received several awards for sustainability.

Though ambitious targets, they are realistic against the backdrop of the building’s sustainable practices.

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