Transitioning our buildings to be all-electric with no use of gas
All of Yarra Council's electricity needs are met by 100% renewable electricity, through a combination of rooftop solar and electricity supplied by a renewable electricity Power Purchase Agreement through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project. This means our remaining operational emissions are largely from gas usage in council buildings (around 36 percent of total emissions) and transport (around 46 percent).
In our Climate Emergency Plan, we committed to transitioning our buildings off gas to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This involves transitioning the small sites that council operates by 2022, with larger, more complex facilities to be transitioned by 2030.
Progress so far to transition our buildings
Work is underway to switch over the domestic style equipment at 20 of our community-use buildings, including child care facilities, seniors centres and other community facilities. This transition includes replacing gas cookers with electric induction cookers, replacing gas heaters with electric reverse-cycle air conditioners and replacing gas hot water systems with efficient electric systems.
For our larger sites including libraries, leisure centres and town halls, the work to transition off gas to all-electric is more complex than for small buildings. It is anticipated that the transition will be implemented as part of planned renewal projects and will be complete by 2030. For example, as part of scheduled asset replacements, air conditioning systems are to be upgraded to efficient electric systems.
Supporting the community to transition from gas to all-electric homes powered by renewable sources
Our 100% Renewable Yarra campaign is engaging the Yarra community to create a city powered by 100% renewables. There are four ways to take action:
- Switch to 100% renewable electricity
- Install rooftop solar
- Create an all-electric home
- Use less energy
As part of this campaign we have delivered several webinars on buying renewable energy, installing solar and batteries, a renewables-led recovery creating an all-electric home and more. Watch webinars here.
Zero carbon developments
Zero carbon developments are new buildings that have no net carbon emissions. They are typically designed and built to be highly energy efficient; and to not use gas or coal-fired electricity, through a combination of rooftop solar and buying off-site renewable electricity.
Yarra Council is working with other Council partners towards a planning scheme amendment to introduce zero carbon standards for new commercial and residential developments.
Read more about zero carbon developments here.
Advocating for a transition away from gas
A rapid transition away from using gas requires policy reform at federal and state government levels to drive major changes in the energy sector.
Yarra Council has a key role to play in advocating to other levels of government for stronger climate action including accelerating to 100% renewable grid-supplied electricity and a fast transition away from gas.
The Victorian Government is exploring sustainable alternatives and pathways for the gas sector to transition to net zero emissions. They are developing a Gas Substitution Roadmap that will provide a strategic policy framework for decarbonising natural gas in Victoria.
In July 2021, Yarra Council made a submission to the Victorian Government on the Gas Substitution Roadmap consultation paper.
Read Yarra Council’s submission on the Gas Substitution Roadmap here.