We all care about our environment and how we live in the world. There are many things that everyone can do at the local level to conserve biodiversity and reduce waste, water and energy. Council is committed to ensuring that its activities and services are working towards a reduction in our ecological footprint. Groups have also been formed within the district to influence sustainable living. These include Transition Adelaide Hills.
Transition Adelaide Hills (TAH) formed in 2009 to help the region move towards a more resilient and sustainable future. It is an active group of local people focused on grassroots, community solutions to sustainability. TAH initiatives include the Old School Community Garden, electric bike project, and community workshops in partnership with the Hut Community Centre in Aldgate. For more information, or to become a member, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy efficiency activities have been undertaken at Council's buildings for many years. These activities include, but are not limited to, the use of accredited green power, lighting retrofits, sensor lights, solar PV panels, and power saving computers and printers. In 2011 Council undertook a greenhouse inventory which identified the main sources of greenhouse emissions. Major energy-consuming sites have also recently been audited, and a priority list has been prepared for gradual implementation that will reduce energy use at these sites. As an example, solar PV panels were added to the Heathfield Depot and Coventry Library, Stirling, in 2014, along with light sensors, improved lighting fixtures, and instant hot water systems.
Adelaide Hills residents are encouraged to undertake their own energy audit to understand where energy is being used in the home and what activities and reductions could take place. Energy audit information and Energy Saving Kits are available from our libraries in Stirling, Woodside and Gumeracha. This information provides a guide to determine how much energy is currently being used and provides tips towards possible savings. The energy savings kits can be borrowed through the normal library loan system.
Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES)
Electricity and gas providers in South Australia may offer incentives to help reduce household energy and water use. This may include energy efficient light globes and water efficient shower heads. These incentives are part of the REES.
Low income households may also be eligible for a free home energy audit to identify even more ways to save energy and minimise bills. Further information on the latest energy updates and REES is available online at the Government of South Australia website.
Council has implemented its waste strategy over several years in order to improve waste collection and recycling. In 2012/13 Council's initiatives had reduced waste to landfill by 673 tonnes.
Green waste disposal and recycling bins are available throughout the council area and sorting, re-use and recycling is undertaken at the Heathfield Resource Recovery Centre. Adelaide Hills Council operates a three bin waste and recycling system with alternate fortnightly pick-ups for green waste and recycling and general waste picked up every week. A kitchen caddy for kitchen scraps is also available for residents eligible for organic waste bins. Finally, Council offers a reduced-cost kerbside pick-up or tip pass for hard waste. Residents can reduce waste by:
- Choosing products with minimal packaging
- Using 'No Junk Mail' signs on letterboxes
- Buying second-hand instead of new, and re-using and recycling products where possible
- Remaining aware of what is going into landfill
- Using the three bin system correctly without contaminating the different waste streams.
The Old School Community Garden (TOSCG) is located at 100 Old Mt Barker Road, Stirling. The garden is a local community meeting place where fresh organic produce can be grown and harvested, community members can share their understanding on gardening and sustainable living, residents can engage in healthy outdoor play and quiet reflection. The garden is open on:
- The first Wednesday of the month from 9.30am to 12.00pm
- The second Sunday of the month from 9.00am to 12.00pm; and
- The fourth Saturday of the month from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
For more information visit the Old School Community Garden in Stirling Facebook page, email email@example.com or mail PO Box 37, Stirling SA 5152.
Scientific advice shows that our climate is changing and that, even with a continued reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the world is still warming. The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility projected changes to Australia's climate by 2030 including:
- An annual average warming of one degree
- Increased drying in southern Australia, especially in winter; and
- Increased intense rainfall events.
For the Adelaide Hills district this will mean increased bushfire potential and severity, changes to farming and agricultural crops, and increased possibility of flooding. Council is involved in a Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy which, when completed, will provide specific actions for adaptation within the region. Stage One collection of data and information was finalised in 2014. Stage Two of the Adaptation Strategy is planned to be completed in early 2016.