Carbon Neutral Council

Brisbane City Council is committed to a clean, green and sustainable Brisbane.

The Lord Mayor announced that Council achieved its goal to become a carbon neutral organisation in February 2017. 

Council has been a leader in sustainability practices for more than 20 years and has twice been named Australia’s Most Sustainable City.

Council achieved carbon neutral status in line with the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) and has been certified under the Australian Government's Carbon Neutral program.

This certification is recognition of Council’s efforts to achieve no net greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this Council:

  • measured our greenhouse gas emissions from the Rochedale landfill, electricity use and fleet, including Council buses and ferries
  • took measures to reduce our carbon footprint where possible, such as through landfill gas capture and combustion, energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives
  • purchased and retired eligible carbon offsets to negate all residual emissions
  • ensured our carbon footprint and offsets purchases were independently audited
  • published key information in Council's Carbon Neutral Public Disclosure Summary.

Download the Public Disclosure Summary:

The findings of the independent audit of Council’s 2016-17 carbon neutral claim are outlined in the Audit Statement. Download the NCOS Audit Statement (PDF - 589kb).

Our carbon footprint

Council’s carbon footprint for 2016-17 (the latest year for which data is available) was 644,039 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The four largest emissions sources - landfill, fuel use, electricity use and construction - currently account for 66% of the total carbon footprint. The remaining 34% is made up of emissions from indirect supply chain sources, such as third party controlled street lighting, waste transportation, business travel and catering services.

Council is the only carbon neutral certified organisation in Australia with an operating landfill and large public transport service.

Emission reduction actions

The following actions are some of the ways Council is working to reduce its emissions as part of its carbon neutral commitment.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy generation

Council has implemented projects to reduce its electricity consumption and associated carbon emissions. Examples of projects delivered to date include:

  • launching community composting hubs to reduce organic waste going to landfill
  • including electric vehicles in our passenger fleet
  • retrofitting 25,000 streetlights with energy efficient lamps
  • installing more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on the Story Bridge and at King George Square and Wickham Terrace carparks, South Bank and Roma Street Parklands and Garden City and Toowong bus depots
  • installing 502 kilowatts (kW) of solar power systems on Council buildings and facilities, including two 100 kW systems at the Brisbane Powerhouse and Toowong Bus Depot
  • providing eco-driving training for Council bus operators.

Purchasing renewable energy

Council is a significant electricity user, and we are using our purchasing power to support the Australian renewable energy industry and further negate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our electricity use.

Council has purchased more than 889,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy since it started purchasing GreenPower for City Hall in 2003.

Reducing the impact of public transport

Each full bus service equates to taking more than 40 cars off Brisbane roads, which reduces both emissions and congestion across the city, while also providing mobility options to all members of the community.

Council continues to innovate and incorporate technology to reduce emissions when purchasing new buses.  A third of Council’s fleet is running on compressed natural gas. Since 2009 Council has introduced new generation, high-efficiency Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV) diesel engine technology for all new buses. Council has also introduced four Volvo B8 Euro VI buses and a Volvo B5 diesel-electric hybrid bus provides services on the City Loop route. From mid-2018 all new buses introduced to Council’s bus fleet will meet Euro VI emission standards.

The on-board software settings of over 500 of Council’s buses are also being modified to introduce: 

  • adapted gear selection profiles which better meet terrain conditions
  • automated five-minute idle shutdown
  • disabled kick-down (an accelerator pedal feature mostly designed for highway driving).

After testing a number of tyres with different treads, tread depth, manufacturer and other characteristics, Council has selected a tyre that lasts around twice as far as the previous tyres. 

A program is also being developed to integrate eco-driving techniques and technologies to alert drivers of uneconomical and inefficient driving practices.

Council’s low emissions fleet

Council has eight fully electric vehicles in its fleet and 43 hybrid vehicles. Council also ensures its vehicles are fit-for-purpose leading to the replacement of some vehicles with smaller, more efficient models to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Monitoring our vehicle emissions

Council has a vehicle emissions testing facility that enables Council to keep our heavy diesel vehicles running at optimum efficiency, saving fuel and reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions. The facility also can test emissions from alternative fuels.

Actively managing and reducing waste

Landfill gas produced at Council’s operating landfill at Rochedale as well as five closed landfills is captured and either used to generate electricity or flared to destroy the methane component. More than 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are avoided annually through landfill gas capture and combustion.

Emissions at the Rochedale landfill are also reduced through Council’s green waste recycling service which collects and diverts garden waste for alternative treatment and use as compost.

Carbon offsetting by Council

A carbon offset (or carbon credit) is generated from an activity that reduces or removes greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere. Council purchases independently verified carbon offsets to negate the residual emissions from its operations, after emissions reduction initiatives have been taken into account.

Between July 2007 and June 2016 Council purchased almost one million carbon offsets to negate the emissions from its fuel use and business travel. From 2016-17, Council will offset all of its carbon emissions (around 650,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually) to ensure it maintains a net zero carbon footprint.

All offsets purchased by Council must be eligible under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). For more information on eligible offsets you can visit the NCOS website.

Last updated:7 May 2019