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Sustainable Lifestyle Tips


Discover untapped strategies to make your lifestyle more sustainable and even regenerate our planet, leaving the world in a better condition for our future generations. Wouldn't it feel good to know that you're using renewable energy when you flick on the lights? Imagine halving your food waste and enjoying a flourishing, edible garden. We'll show you the simplest tips so you can get started today. Each action is ranked, so choose from the top of the list to be sure you're making the biggest bang for buck.

Did you know that Council has switched to renewables? We're leading by example by purchasing 100% renewable energy for all of Councils sites since the 1st July 2022. We're also improving the efficiency of operations by upgrading equipment and buildings to reduce electricity costs and minimise our carbon footprint.

Tips for Homeowners

Follow the tips below to make your home more sustainable. If you are thinking about a renovation, don't miss out on the opportunity to make sustainable improvements. Sign up for our Sustainable Building Advisory Service to receive free building advice from a qualified architect. 

Go solar

It's the top action to take! Follow our 4 step guide:

Step 1: Do some background research

Read the "Buying Solar" Guide with independent advice from the Clean Energy Council. This guide will help you to understand solar so that you can define what is best for your situation. The Clean Energy Council also have approved solar retailers, approved products and accredited installers.

Step 2: Grab your energy bills

Gather the last twelve months of energy bills to determine your average daily usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) across all the seasons.

Step 3: Map your roof for solar

Use the Solar Mapping tool to enter your address and draw solar panels on your roof to see what size system is best. The tool will estimate of the system cost and give you the ability to compare and match a system with your budget. You can also look at the battery systems to see their costs and savings too.

Step 4: Request & review quotes from several solar retailers

You should get at least one quote from a Clean Energy Council accredited retailer and check they quote for Clean Energy Council accredited equipment. Review quotes from several retailers considering the Clean Energy Council's Solar Guide for Consumers (see page 6-9)

In most cases residential solar installations do not need a Development Application as they are classed as ‘Exempt Development’ under the State Environment Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (Policy), meaning an application is not required. Residents should review the Policy to determine if their solar installation requires a formal application, for Development Consent or a Complying Development Certificate.Some examples of systems requiring an application are those:
- built on a heritage property
- involving reflective mirrors or lenses
- protruding more than 0.5m from the roof, facing a primary road or if not facing a primary road, protruding more than 1m from a wall or roof or
- closer than 1m to the property boundary.                                                        

Get Green Power

The next best thing after rooftop solar, is supporting a renewable energy project through the Green Power program. 

Reduce your food waste to landfill

You can do this in 5 simple steps: 

Step 1: Sort your waste. See how much you are throwing out each week by collecting it.

Step 2: Plan your meals and shop to a list. There is nothing worse than shopping when you are hungry! Read the grocery bill afterwards and you will see all those impulse decisions. So, why not write out each meal for the week and list only the ingredients needed on your shopping list. Oh, and grab some lunch before you go shopping!

Step 3: Store your food correctly to keep it fresh. Check out the Love Food Hate Waste tips.

Step 4: Consider serving sizes and if you go overboard, enjoy those leftovers.

Step 5: Use a compost or worm farm for the food waste you can't reduce. If you can't do this yourself, connect with a neighbour via the ShareWaste platform.

2.   Make your next car electric. New EV owners can apply for a stamp duty and rebate incentives from the NSW Government. This applies to the first 25,000 buyers so get in quick! See the NSW dashboard. This Map of charging sites makes it easy to find a charging point. Also consider walking, riding and public transport when you can.

3.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in that order! Work out what waste you can eliminate completely, find a way to reuse things and recycle what you can't avoid. You could also support recycling by buying products with recycled content. Are you wondering what items you could switch from disposal to reusable? Think, coffee cups, salad bowls and even reusable nappies. Read the Modern Cloth Nappy Guide to get started.

4.   Upgrade your appliances to ensure the most efficient and all electric. See the NSW government rebates for air conditioning, pool pumps, hot water systems and lighting.

5.  Save Water by repairing leaks and installing water efficient showerheads, taps and toilets. Check out the Sydney Water's WaterFix program for a subsidised consultation and free upgrades.

Tips for Apartment Owners and Renters

If you're not sure where to start, apply for a free Energy and Water Efficiency Assessment by an independent consultant thorugh Councils Greener Apartments Program.

Go solar!

It might not be as straightforward as when you live in a house but getting solar is still the number one action to take. Some clever people have come up with lots of options for apartments so that you don't miss out. See the Solar for Apartments Guide for full details.

Option 1: Solar for individual apartments. Best for low-rise apartments where there is enough roof space to allocate to each unit.

Option 2: Shared solar for individual apartments. Using microinverters or specialised technology, one large solar system can distribute energy energy fairly to units that opt in. Suitable for low-rise apartments.

Option 3: Common area solar. Enjoy lower strata levies due to lower electricity bills. The rooftop solar can cover common area lighting, lifts and pool pumps.

Option 4: Connect with a Solar Garden. A great option if solar on your apartment roof is not possible. A solar garden produces solar energy, which is sold into the grid. You sign up with the participating electricity retailer who delivers the credits onto your electricity bill from the sale of the solar produced. 

Then follow steps 2-4 listed above under Tips for Homeowners.

Save Water by repairing leaks and installing water efficient showerheads, taps and toilets. Check out the Sydney Water's WaterFix Strata program to receive a free desktop analysis of your building.

Tips for businesses

Go solar!

In 2021, an estimated 27% of emissions came from business electricity in Lane Cove. Getting solar will make your business more resilient and improve your green credentials. Sign up to Council's Solar for Business Program to receive a free independent energy assessment and get started on your solar journey. Not sure how to finance the transition? Consider these options:

Option 1: Self-Funded - on average, the payback for solar is 3-4 years. After that, enjoy ongoing savings on business energy costs for 25 years.

Option 2: Building Upgrade FinanceA funding agreement between your business, the lender and Council. The benefits are zero deposit, 5-year fixed interest rate, and the option to transfer the finance if the property is sold.

Option 3: Community-funded – facilitated by a Community Energy Group.  Creates an opportunity to engage your customers and the local community in your solar project, where they can invest in a share of your solar and receive regular dividends.

Option 4: Power Purchase Agreement financing. By connecting with a wholesale or retail provider, you can sell the solar energy from your roof to the grid or even to your own business. The benefit is that you set electricity prices for the duration of the contract and there is generally no upfront payment required.

2.   Reduce your food waste to landfill. Sign up to the EPA's Your Business is Food program. Consider Compost Connect to find a local compost service.

3.   Get an electric fleet. From 1 July 2022 employers do not pay Fringe Benefits Tax on eligible electric cars and associated car expenses.

4.   Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Work out what waste you can eliminate completely, find a way to reuse things and recycle what you can't avoid. You could also support recycling by buying products with recycled content.

5.   Save Water by repairing leaks and installing water efficient taps and toilets. Check out the Sydney Water's WaterFix program for small business to receive a free water efficiency assessment and subsidised upgrades. Receive a free desktop analysis of your building for commercial business.

Feeling mindful? There are lots of little actions you can take that all add up to make a difference. We need to tick off the top actions first in the current climate emergency!

Energy saving tips

  • Switch off lights, appliances and equipment (at the powerpoint) when they're not needed
  • Use cold water when washing clothes
  • Switch off your second fridge except when you really need it, or get rid of it (responsibly) altogether
  • Dry your clothes on the clothes line 
  • Insulate, draught-seal and shade windows to reduce your homes heating and cooling needs

Water Saving Tips

  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn the tap off when you are brushing your teeth or shaving .
  • Wash vegetables and rinse dishes in a plugged sink, not under a running tap
  • Use a microwave, steam or pressure cooker to cook vegetables. This retains more flavour and uses less water than boiling
  • Wait for a full load before you wash your clothes or the dishes.

Waste Reduction Tips

Smart Travel Tips

  • Use your car less by planning trips so you combine several things on each trip
  • Host a meeting online to avoid driving or flying
  • Consider car pooling or car sharing
  • Offset your car and flight emissions

Council has a range of videos to assist with sustainable living on topics ranging from insulation to efficient hot water tanks.