Sydney Opera House Sustainability

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Sydney Opera House Sustainability

1. Monitor Records and Identify Trends

  • Improved efficiency of air-conditioning
  • switching off the lights for around an extra 4 hours per night. This saves around 12 megawatt hours per year.
  • 54% energy reduction in the theatres.
  • fluorescent lights in the dressing rooms that use 80% less energy
  • Sydney Opera House uses sea water from Circular Quay as part of the air conditioning system. This saves 15 million litres of drinking water per year
  • water efficient devices, saving 40% of water from showers, estimated at per 600,000 litres per year
  • The Opera House has reduced its paper use by an average of 16.5% over 2011/12 to 2012/13.  In 2012/13 96% of the office paper purchased was made from recycled content, up from 15% in 2008/09.
  • 2. Determine Success or otherwise of meeting resource efficiency targets

  • Water efficiency was not successful
  • Light and Energy efficiency was successful
  • Paper Usage was successful
  • Amount of recycling was not successful
  • Reducing the amount of gas resource used was successful
  • 3. Use Audience Feedback to determine success of communication targets

    30 October 2014: Opera House wins NSW Green Globe Awards for Concert Hall lights upgradeA major upgrade of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall lighting system has dramatically reduced energy use and improved the venue experience for both performers and audiences. On October 30, it was announced that the Concert Hall lighting upgrade won a NSW Government’s 2014 Green Globe Awards for sustainability in a heritage building. The two-year project incorporated the latest long-life, LED technology and includes a new control system for the stage, auditorium and performance lighting.Benefits of the upgrade include:75% reduction in electricity consumption in the venue, with estimated savings of about $70,000 a year;Greatly reduced need for staff to work in confined ceiling spaces to replace lights; Increased capacity to create ambient and specific lighting effects, without the cost of hanging additional lights; andRemoval of about four tonnes of air-conditioning ducting. These significant improvements have been achieved while adhering to the building’s strict architectural and performance heritage requirements.

    7 August 2013: Opera House Social Responsibility AwardsOn the 7 August 2013 the Opera House held its first Social Responsibility Awards.

    4. Document Findings

    Use Resources Efficiently and ResponsiblyAustralians are consuming natural resources at an unprecedented rate, going beyond what can be renewed and sustained for future generations.  The Sydney Opera House will implement strategies that will enable us to operate in an environment of resource constraints, maximising our cost savings placing ourselves in a position for growth.  The Sydney Opera House also engages our partners and stakeholders to encourage the use of resources efficiently and responsibly.

    Improving the Efficiency of our Air Conditioning

    Sydney Opera House Sustainability
    Last updated: May 2022

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    rong>Sydney Opera House is working to make the air conditioning system more efficient. We have replaced older pumps, chillers and motors with new, more efficient ones.

    Switching OffWe have reduced the operating hours of Sail lighting, switching off the lights for around an extra 4 hours per night. This saves around 12 megawatt hours per year.

    Energy Efficient LightingThe Opera House continues to progressively replace older lighting with newer energy efficient lighting.  Heritage sensitive LED house lights in the Playhouse and Drama Theatre have achieved a 54% energy reduction in the theatres.   Other savings include; switching to compact fluorescent lights in the dressing rooms that use 80% less energy and replacement of old, energy hungry tubes with energy efficient LEDs in the Green Room.  Lighting upgrade projects around the Opera House continue to improve our energy efficiency.

    Water EfficiencyIn 2009, the Sydney Opera House replaced all the shower heads with water efficient devices, saving 40% of water from showers, estimated at per 600,000 litres per year

    Green CleaningThe Sydney Opera House has developed Green Cleaning Guidelines which apply for all cleaning products used onsite including those by our commercial operators (food, beverage and retail) and contractors.  The Guidelines have been implemented to minimise the impact of cleaning products used on the environment especially our waterways and harbour. The Opera House uses low corrosive non toxic cleaning practices to preserve the building fabric including, olive oil for bronze fittings, clay for cleaning untreated wood and baking soda for concrete.

    Paper UseThe Sydney Opera House has not only reduced the amount of office paper we purchase but also increased the recycled percentage of office paper purchased. The Opera House has reduced its paper use by an average of 16.5% over 2011/12 to 2012/13.  In 2012/13 96% of the office paper purchased was made from recycled content, up from 15% in 2008/09.

    Renewable EnergyThe Sydney Opera House purchases 6% green energy annually to reduce carbon emissions caused from energy consumption and contribute to the development of the Australian renewable energy sector. 

    5. Prepare Graphs and Charts

    6. Review Policies

    The Sydney Opera House’s commitment to this is through the development and implementation of our Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP). Our second three year ESP 2014 – 2016 commenced on the 1 July 2013, and directs our commitment under four focus areas:

  • Use Resources Efficiently and Responsibly
  • Minimise Waste
  • Improve Environmental Risk Management
  • Embed, Engage and Inspire Change
  • 7. Use Resource data to recommend Changes

    • set, communicate and deliver environmental sustainability objectives, targets and an implementation plan every three years;

    Sydney Opera House Sustainability
    Last updated: May 2022

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