The City of Sydney has unveiled an ambitious new plan to radically improve building energy efficiency and slash utilities bills by more than half a billion dollars over the next 15 years.

The Energy Efficiency Master Plan envisages spending of nearly $400 million on energy efficiency improvements throughout the City of Sydney, with the eventual goal of doubling energy productivity and achieving a reduction in energy-related costs of $600 million by 2030.

The plan’s ambitious goals are based upon a thorough analysis of the efficiency performance of the City of Sydney’s built assets conducted by consultancy pitt&sherry, with the goal of ascertaining the scope of cost effective savings opportunities for energy consumption and green house gas emissions.

pitt&sherry’s analysis points out that Sydney’s built environment presents ample opportunity for both environmental and financial gains, with some 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Sydney LGA the result of electricity and gas consumption by buildings.

Power consumption in Sydney has a high greenhouse gas intensity compared to international standards, because most electricity in the city is generated by means of coal-fired power plants.

The rising trajectory of energy prices in Sydney over recent years, for electricity in particular, also heightens the financial benefits of improvements to the efficiency  performance of buildings.

The analysis concluded that compared to a 2006 baseline, energy savings of roughly 29 per cent and greenhouse gas savings of in excess of 40 per cent would be cost effective over the period to 2030.

According to the analysis, energy cost savings of as much as $220 million per year could be achieved by 2030, with a further $70 million or more saved each year due to reductions in costs for electricity infrastructure. This translates to net financial benefits of between $456 and $506 million in present value terms.

pitt&sherry further points out that the cost of abatement will be negative – achieving net financial savings on average for each unit of greenhouse gas abatement realised, because the value of financial benefits are expected to be roughly double those of financial costs.