Friday, 22 January 2010

City's new seat of power

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 14/1/2010 Page: 7

Sydney Town Hall has been brought into the era of carbon emissions and climate change, with the City of Sydney converting the 121-year-old building into the largest photovoltaic installation in the central business district. The council was yesterday installing 240 cutting-edge solar panels on the roof, capable of producing up to 48 kW hours of energy. That is enough to supply the Town Hall, the council chambers and the council offices next door. "The solar panels demonstrate that new green technology can be incorporated into heritage buildings," the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said.

In order to avoid damaging the slate roof of the historic building, the council was forced to install special fixtures first and then use cranes to hoist materials into place. The panels are the first of their kind to be installed in Australia, and feature high efficiency cells that can be manufactured at lower cost. Our plan is to provide 25% of our energy needs from renewable sources and reduce growing demand for power from coal-fired power stations," Cr Moore said.

"Across all our properties we are investing $18 million to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions through solar hot water, solar panels, sensor lighting and intelligent control systems that manage energy use as it is needed. Our target is a minimum of 48% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from our properties by 2012." With the installation of the panels Sydney Town Hall joins other municipal headquarters around the world, including in Barcelona, the US state of Oregon and the Hammersmith district of London. solar panels were installed on the roof of Melbourne Town Hall in 2003.