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    Sydney celebrates first carbon-neutral city title in Australia amidst World Environment Day celebrations

    Nathan Johnson

    The City of Sydney is celebrating World Environment Day on a high, and for good reason.

    In the past two years, the local government has retrofitted Town Hall House, Customs House, swimming pools, community centres, libraries and its car parks in a bid to reduce its electricity, water use and carbon emissions. These initiatives and achievements have led it to become Australia’s first carbon neutral government. 

    Meanwhile, Sydney has also enjoyed recent green building success in the private sector, including the acclaimed skyscraper, One Central Park , which has achieved a 5 star Green Star rating.

    Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in conjunction with PTW Architects, One Central Park was recently named the world’s fifth best new skyscraper , so perhaps it is fitting that it is hosting an event for World Environment Day, 5 June.

    The Town Hall retro-fit includes a solar panel roofing bank. Image: City of Sydney. 

    To celebrate the occasion, the building’s ground floor is set to house a digital art exhibition,The 7mm Pitch, which will deliver 18 three minute films on a supersized digital wall.

    First year students from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning have developed a series of short films for the program which will be screened on the complex’s new 15 x 3 metre digital canvas.

    The digital wall is the mastermind of international lighting designer Bruce Ramus, and the first high-resolution wall of its size in a retail space in Australia.

    Caitilin de Berigny and Bruce Ramus in front of the digital art wall. Photo: Nathaniel Fey

    The program follows the foundational principles of World Environment Day by exploring environmental ideas and messages. Of interest to sustainability enthusiasts will be a film by four University of Sydney students titled ‘Catch The Air’. (Picture below, Image: Sydney University)

    Their film narrates a story about the earth's struggle and battle against the changing nature of the atmosphere. It surmises that the earth’s ‘purity’ is under threat from toxic gases and pollutants which emanate from human actions.

    The 7mm Pitch event reveals a growing environmental awareness across the population of Sydney, an attitude which Lord Mayor Clover Moore calls a community-driven mission for a greener and cleaner Sydney.

    “More than 90 per cent of Sydneysiders told us they wanted action on climate change,” said Moore, adding that Sydney will continue to lead by example and develop a plan for other communities that will unlock clean energy practices.

    "The City has replaced more than 2,500 street lights with more efficient LEDs. When all the City’s 6,450 street lights are replaced, the project will save up to $800,000 in electricity bills and maintenance a year and reduce energy use from street lighting by nearly 45 per cent," Said Moore. Image: City of Sydney.

    “We’re replacing street lights with LEDs, retrofitting our buildings for water, waste and energy efficiency, installing solar across our buildings as part of Australia’s largest rooftop solar project and increasing the City’s tree canopy by 50 per cent,” she said.

    The students’ films are on show at Central, The Living Mall (Ground Floor) at Central Park, 28 Broadway, Chippendale from 5 June for World Environment Day.

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