Although visitors are drawn to Australia for its natural beauty and stunning array of wildlife, the majority of its residents live in urban areas. Nearly 90% of its residents live in cities, mainly along the coastlines of this massive country. To combat population growth in urban areas and improve quality of life, many of Australia’s cities have excellent sustainability programs in place. The following are a few of the most green-friendly cities.
The city of Darwin was named Australia’s most sustainable city in 2010 by the Australian Conservation Foundation. It is ranked particularly high in the areas of biodiversity and air quality, with its abundance of parkland and protected national parks in the region. The city has a Climate Change Action Plan in place, which has made renewable energy a high priority for residents. The Shoal Bay Waste Disposal Site is a project that uses waste to produce methane gas. Currently this site is responsible for providing power via the Darwin Renewable Energy Facility to 1,000 local homes.
There are numerous projects in place in Brisbane to improve the city’s sustainability ratings. The CitySmart agency was created to develop and implement these various projects for the benefit of city residents. An electric car charging station has been added to the King George Square car park as a pilot project to gather more information about electric vehicle usage. One of the most effective programs in place is the EzyGreen Energy Reduction Program, which makes it easier for residents to make their homes more efficient. Currently 52,000 residents are enrolled in this program, which provides competitively priced solar power systems and vouchers for energy-efficient appliances. Those looking at Brisbane properties using listings sites such as homesales.com.au can therefore upgrade their homes at low cost to keep in line with the city’s push for greater sustainability.
Tasmania’s capital city also encourages homeowners to make their residence more energy efficient. They offer a solar and heat pump hot water rebate, giving homeowners incentive to install solar power hot water systems. An insulation rebate and energy efficient development rebate offer further financial incentive to construct and maintain homes that meet the latest energy efficiency standards. The possibility of a local, government-owned wind farm is also being debated and the city has a comprehensive recycling program. Hobart residents can also purchase compost bins and worm farms from the city, at a low cost to encourage the reduction of food waste.
One of the recent contenders that have come up to become a centre of sustainability in Australia is Adelaide. The city is just beginning a major 30-year overhaul to improve the quality of life, including the use of free space in the centre to be used for new green construction and parks. The city has also launched the world’s first solar-powered electric bus, called the Tindo. This public transportation project relies on 100% solar power, and is free of charge within the city centre. Another project of interest is Christie Walk, an architectural project that is meant to showcase the possibility of creating a fully sustainable neighbourhood. All of the houses in Christie Walk are created from green building materials and have shared outdoor spaces.
Overall, Australia’s cities have made it a priority to combat climate change and encourage greater levels of sustainability. Further strides can be expected in the future, as new technologies are embraced.