The City of Sydney has become the latest NSW council to support a ban on natural gas in new buildings.
In a bold move that has captured the attention of homeowners and builders alike, Sydney has taken a significant step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. In 2023, the city voted on a possible ban on natural gas connections to newly constructed properties. This decision reflects a growing global trend towards cleaner energy sources and sustainability.
In this article, we will delve into why some would opt to ban natural gas and the benefits of tapping into alternative sources of energy.
Calls to Ban Natural Gas
On 21 August 2023, the City of Sydney Council voted to approve a measure that will mandate all new residential or commercial properties in the municipality to be fully-electric and gas-free.
Under the move, Council CEO Monica Barone will be tasked to study amending city planning rules to have those new properties equipped with purely electric appliances such as induction stoves and hot-water heaters, while gradually phasing out natural-gas links. Such measures are already in place in Victoria, the ACT, and Parramatta, Waverley, and Canterbury-Bankstown, NSW.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore will also write to NSW Premier Chris Minns to push for the natural gas ban statewide, despite the state leadership’s opposition.
“The City is committed to having net zero emissions in our area by 2035. Reducing fossil fuels is a key part of this. Until this happens, we’re looking at other ways we can electrify residential homes and reduce new gas connections within the City of Sydney. In a climate emergency we need to do everything we can to reduce carbon emissions,” the Council resolved.
Why Eliminate Natural Gas?
One of the primary reasons for Sydney’s decision to move towards banning natural gas in new properties is the desire to reduce its environmental footprint. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and its extraction, transportation, and combustion release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. By eliminating natural gas, Sydney is taking a significant step towards reducing its carbon emissions and combating climate change.
Burning natural gas for heating and cooking can release pollutants into the air, which can have adverse effects on air quality and public health. A transition from natural gas may have Sydney aiming to improve the quality of the air its residents breathe, ultimately leading to better health outcomes for the community.
Natural gas appliances are not always the most energy-efficient options available. Modern electric appliances, such as induction cooktops and heat pumps, are often more efficient and can contribute to lower energy bills for homeowners.
The world is moving towards renewable and sustainable energy sources. Eliminating natural gas can help Sydney to position itself for a future where fossil fuels are increasingly replaced by cleaner alternatives. This forward-thinking approach helps ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of the city’s energy infrastructure.
Transitioning to Alternative Energy Sources
Reduced Energy Expenses
Transitioning to alternative energy sources can lead to reduced energy expenses for households in Sydney. Renewable energy technologies like solar panels and heat pumps can generate electricity and heat more efficiently, often at a lower cost than natural gas.
Solar panels are a popular choice for homeowners looking to generate their electricity. They harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity to power homes and appliances. Solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills and may provide excess energy that you can sell back to the grid.
Pairing solar panels with residential batteries allows homeowners to store excess energy generated during the day for use at night or during cloudy days.
NSW is already a leader in Australia in terms of solar power capacity, with cheaper costs to establish a new residential solar-power system, backed up by government incentives.
Heat pumps are highly efficient systems for heating and cooling homes. They work by transferring heat from one place to another, making them an energy-efficient alternative to traditional natural gas or electric heating systems. Heat pumps offer year-round comfort by providing both heating and cooling capabilities.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances for your home, including induction cooktops, energy-star-rated refrigerators, and LED lighting. Using these appliances results in reduced energy consumption, leading to decreased utility expenses.
Alternative energy sources can provide homeowners with a degree of energy independence. They can generate their electricity and store it for use when needed, reducing reliance on external energy providers and protecting against power outages.
Opting for alternative energy sources aligns with a commitment to environmental sustainability. Solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewables generate electricity without producing harmful emissions, making them a cleaner and greener choice.
Increased Property Value
Homes equipped with energy-efficient features like solar panels and heat pumps tend to have higher property values. Buyers are increasingly seeking homes with lower operating costs and reduced environmental impact, making energy-efficient properties more attractive on the real estate market.
Consult with Experts
When transitioning to alternative energy sources, consult with experts or renewable energy professionals. They can assess your property’s energy needs, recommend the most suitable technologies, and provide guidance on installation and maintenance.
Many governments, including the Australian government and those in various states and territories, offer incentives and rebates for homeowners who invest in renewable energy systems. These financial incentives can significantly reduce the upfront cost of transitioning to alternative energy sources.
The City of Sydney’s move to possibly ban natural gas connections to newly constructed properties is a significant step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Eliminating natural gas aligns with global efforts to combat climate change, improve air quality, and increase energy efficiency.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute official financial or utility advice. UBOMI has no relationships with the Sydney City government.