Sydney Opera House reaches carbon neutral goal

Louise Herron, Don Harwin and Catherine Tanna

The Sydney Opera House has today become carbon neutral, achieving certification against the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) and meeting its target to reduce emissions five years ahead of schedule.

The Opera House successfully reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by creating efficiencies in how it manages energy and waste, streamlining day-to-day business and building operations, and offsetting remaining emissions for the year 2017-2018 with help from EnergyAustralia.

“Sustainability is in the Opera House’s DNA,” Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said.

“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.”

Every year, the Opera House produces 5000 cubic metres of waste and uses 16GW of electricity.

“It’s our responsibility to find innovative solutions to reduce our carbon footprint and inspire our community to do the same,” Ms Herron said.

The Opera House reduced its electricity use by 14 per cent from baseline and increased its waste recycling rate from 25 per cent to 60 per cent.

“No country on earth can give us a blueprint for the transformation to an energy system reliant on renewables, with low or zero emissions,” EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna said.

“Our challenge – and our job – is making sure families have access to cleaner, affordable and reliable power no matter where they live or what they earn.

“We’ve shown it’s possible for Australia’s most famous house to offset its carbon emissions, and we’re making it simple for millions of households around the country to do the same.”

The next step in the Opera House’s ambitious Environmental Sustainability Plan (2017-2019) is to reduce its energy use by 20 per cent from baseline, achieve 85 per cemt recycling of operational waste; achieve a 5 Star Green Star Performance Rating; and maintain its certified carbon neutral status year-on-year in time for its 50th anniversary in 2023.