The day began by learning about Adelaide’s City Council (ACC), which happens to be Australia’s first local government and was formed in 1840, initially as a corporation. The head of the council is the Lord Mayor, currently Stephen Yarwood.
After breakfast, the group walked to Adelaide’s Town Hall and met with ACC’s Senior Sustainability Advisor, Marni Hope. She discussed the sixth outcome of the council’s objectives, which is to establish a sustainable city. The ACC has taken numerous strides to make Adelaide and South Australia more sustainable, and they also work closely with the state government to incorporate initiatives and action plans to ultimately allow the city to run at an optimum and desirable level, while being economically, environmentally, and socially feasible for the surrounding businesses and communities.
Marni reviewed many plans that were approved by the Council recently to achieve the modeled sustainable city. The Energy Management Action Plan was one of the outlined strategies that was remarkable to learn about. The plan features a plan for the how the city can reduce its carbon footprint, which primarily comes from the local landfill, Central Market, and aquatic center. One idea was to work with the proposed carbon tax (emission trading) proposed by the federal government, but they have taken other actions such as building wind farms, closing the land fill, and retrofitting businesses and parking lots with energy efficient technology and insulation. This plan also includes a solar power incentive for customers to install and sell power back to the grid at 44 cents per kilowatt-hour. It was so successful that the council had to put the program on hold because it far exceeded their goal. My fellow classmates and I noticed the number of houses featuring solar panels in the greater Adelaide area far exceeds the number of houses with solar panels in the lower peninsula of Michigan in the United States.
Following the presentation at the Town Hall, Marni led the group to the Central Market to meet with Peter Nattrass, a fellow Sustainability Advisor, to discuss energy efficiency within the market. The Central Market is a staple to Adelaide because it provides the area with a variety of fresh food. Although we spent the prior day exploring the market in order to prepare a group dinner, we were unaware that the lighting throughout the market is currently a burden on the city and market customers. The current electrical consumption in the market is 3 million kilowatts per year and this could be drastically reduced if there was more efficient and less lighting in place (they use about 70% lighting than needed in some areas of the market). New lighting would also reduce overheating of the complex from the current lamps and reduce cooling costs that are rising to counteract the overheating.
One of the most interesting services that Adelaide has to offer is the Tindo. Tindo means “sun” to the Kaurna Aboriginals and is fitting because it is an entirely solar-powered bus that was added to the fleet of Adelaide’s Connector Buses. In the first year alone, the bus has saved the city 14,000 liters of diesel, which is about 3,700 gallons.