Carbon Neutral Council

Brisbane City Council is committed to a clean, green and sustainable Brisbane. The Lord Mayor announced that Council would become carbon neutral in 2017. This means that Council's net greenhouse gas emissions will be equal to zero. 

As of February 2017, Council has achieved carbon neutral status in line with the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). 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 document.

Download the documents:

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 - 578kb).

Council is working toward certification of its carbon neutral status under the NCOS Carbon Neutral Program for the 2016-17 financial year and beyond.

Our carbon footprint

Council’s estimated carbon footprint for 2016-17 is 808,668 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is based on measured emissions in 2015-16 and projected changes in the emissions profile in 2016-17.

The four largest emissions sources - landfill, fuel use, electricity use and construction - currently account for 67% of the total carbon footprint. The remaining 33% is made up of emissions from indirect supply chain sources, such as third party controlled street lighting, waste transportation, business travel and catering services.

Emission reduction actions

Council is undertaking the following actions to contribute to its carbon neutrality.

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:

  • retrofitting 25,000 streetlights with energy efficient lamps
  • installing more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on the Story Bridge, King George Square and Wickham Terrace carparks and South Bank and Roma Street Parkland
  • installing solar power systems on Council buildings and facilities, including a 100 kilowatt (kW) system at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

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 860,000 MWh 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 has around 1200 buses in the fleet, with almost half running on compressed natural gas. Council uses new generation, high-efficiency Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV) diesel engine technology for all new buses. Four Volvo B8 Euro VI buses are being delivered in early 2017, while a Volvo B5 diesel-electric hybrid bus provides services on the City Loop route.

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 a 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 around 50 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

Council captures landfill gas produced at its operating landfill at Rochedale as well as five closed landfills. This gas is either used to generate electricity or flared to destroy the methane component. Approximately 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are avoided by Council 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 residual emissions 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.

14 February 2017