Low Carbon Council

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

We’re taking real and practical action to lower our operational carbon footprint and have set targets to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 30% by 2031-32 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

From 2016-17 to 2023-24, we also maintained carbon neutral status for our operations by: 

  • measuring our greenhouse gas emissions from all sources including the Rochedale landfill, electricity use in buildings and street lights and fuel use in Council buses and ferries
  • taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint where possible, such as through landfill gas capture and combustion, energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives
  • purchasing and cancelling eligible carbon offsets to cancel out all remaining emissions
  • publishing an annual  Public Disclosure Statement.

In 2024-25, Council will switch from purchasing offsets to investing in more direct carbon emission reductions in line with our targets. This means 100% of the investment in emission reduction will be spent locally in Brisbane and provide direct benefit to residents.

Download our Public Disclosure Statements:

Our carbon footprint

Council’s carbon footprint for 2022-23 (the latest year for which data is available) was 665,491 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e).

The three largest emissions sources - construction, fuel use and landfill - currently account for 69% of the total carbon footprint. The remaining 31% is made up of emissions from indirect supply chain sources, such as paper use, business travel and energy use by Council contractors and lessees. Council buildings and facilities and controlled streetlights were 100% powered by renewable energy in 2022-23, reducing electricity-related emissions to zero.

Emission reduction actions

Council is continually taking action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as part of its low carbon commitment.

The following actions are some of the ways Council is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy-efficient lighting

To reduce electricity consumption, Council is upgrading and replacing lighting in its buildings and facilities, the city’s streets and other public places with more energy efficient lamps.

More than 25,000 streetlights have been upgraded to date. All new and replacement lamps in street and other public lighting are to be LEDs, wherever possible. With more than 5,700 streetlights upgraded in 2022-23 alone, 21% of all streetlights are now LEDs, including 75% of Council-controlled streetlights.

The city’s traffic signals have also gradually been replaced with LEDs and facilities including the Story Bridge, Brisbane Riverstage and a number of workshops and depots have been upgraded.

These lighting upgrades and replacements are estimated to have reduced Council’s carbon footprint by more than 2000 tCO2-e per annum.

Solar power installations

On-site solar power systems allow Council to make use of available roof space to generate renewable energy that typically meets 20-30% of the site’s electricity needs and generally pay for themselves in three to five years, depending on the location.

As of June 2023, more than 3.4 megawatts of solar panels had been installed at Council sites.

By implementing this technology, Council is producing more than 5300 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity annually which is equivalent to the energy required to power around 950 Brisbane homes for a year.

Council’s solar power systems are estimated to reduce operational carbon emissions by nearly 4100 tCO2-e annually.

Purchasing renewable energy

Council is using its purchasing power to support the Australian renewable energy industry and further negate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our electricity use.

Council purchased around 43,400 MWh of renewable electricity in 2022-23, reducing the carbon emissions associated with electricity usage by more than 41,400 tCO2-e.

Overall, Council has purchased more than 1,158,000 MWh of renewable energy since it first started purchasing GreenPower for City Hall in 2003.

Reducing the impact of public transport

Council has continually focussed on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through the incorporation of innovative technology in its public transport fleet. Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across our compressed natural gas and diesel fleets have been achieved through several long-term initiatives including:

  • adopting international emission standards for bus engines which exceed Australian requirements - 94% of Councils fleet is now either Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV), Euro VI, hybrid or electric;
  • modified engine software management to reduce idle time and improve fuel efficiency; and  
  • introduced telematics and driver training to promote efficient driving.

In addition to reducing emissions, Council is now starting the transition to zero emission public transport through the following initiatives:

  • the introduction of the turn up and go, fully electric Brisbane Metro.
  • the successful completion of City Loop electric bus trial.
  • working with TransLink to undertake a 2-year electric bus trial on the Spring Hill Loop service, starting in 2023; and
  • working with the Queensland Government to introduce their Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy where new buses added to the fleet will be zero emission from 2025.  

Council’s low emissions fleet

Council aims to improve air quality with every vehicle purchase by seeking lower emission vehicles, vehicles with alternate fuel sources and exploring innovative solutions to the vehicles we use to provide services to the community.

Council has had electric vehicles in the fleet since 2002. Our focus is on assessing all truck and car purchases for potential to reduce carbon emissions and achieve value for money.

At the end of the 2023 financial year, in our fleet of nearly 1400 cars and trucks, we had 32 electric vehicles (31 cars and one truck, 2% of our fleet) and 89 hybrid electric vehicles (84 cars and 5 trucks, 6% of our fleet). Annual assessments help guide the overall transition of the fleet.

Actively managing emissions from waste disposal

Council has a long-term commitment to reducing emissions from landfill.

Every year, more than half of the 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 431,000 tCO2-e emissions were avoided through landfill gas capture and combustion in 2022-23.

Emissions at the Rochedale landfill are also reduced through Council’s green waste recycling service and community composting hubs which divert garden and food waste for alternative treatment and use as compost. Since 2010, the green waste service has diverted more than 280,000 tonnes of garden waste, while the community composting hubs diverted around 827 tonnes of food waste from landfill in 2022-23.

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.