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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

More with Less - Initiatives to promote sustainable consumption

Environmental Economics Research Paper No.3
Prepared by Deni Greene Consulting Services,
Australian Consumers Association and National Key Centre for Design, RMIT for the
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

Commonwealth of Australia, 1996
ISBN 0 642 24869 9

Detailed Analysis of Initiatives

Changing Transport Patterns

The major environmental impacts of transport are associated with the fuel used and the infrastructure required. The aims of changing transport patterns are therefore to encourage changes in the mode of travel and to reduce or change fuel use in existing modes.

Changing modes, as from private car use to public transport, car pooling, bicycling or walking, reduces (or eliminates) fuel use and reduces the requirements for road infrastructure. Reduced fuel use or use of alternative fuels means less air pollution, possibly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced impact of oil drilling and fuel production. Reduced requirements for road infrastructure mean less impact on soils, runoff, and flora and fauna, as well as reduced impacts from the production of roadbuilding materials.

Indicators of environmental change from alterations in transport patterns are fuel savings, pollution reduction, reduced traffic, reduced requirements for roads, car parks, etc.

Altering the Mode of Travel 

Initiative Encouraging Public Transport Use in North Sydney

Location North Sydney, NSW
Date 1980
Initiator North Sydney Council, NSW State Government
Type of Initiative Removal of car use infrastructure
Description North Sydney in the early 1980s implemented several initiatives designed to discourage people working in the area from commuting by car. The State Government and North Sydney Council cut parking spaces in the area by half. They increased parking meter fees to $1.00 per hour in 1980, which was very high for the time. Planning requirements for new office development set a maximum number of car parking spaces which was one fifth of the number set as a minimum by adjoining suburbs.

Short term parking for shopping was encouraged through substantial increases in retail parking spaces.

Results of Initiative Prior to these initiatives, 80 percent of people working in the area commuted by car, 20 percent used public transport. After the initiatives were taken, 80 percent of workers used public transport and 20 percent used cars.

These initiatives did not discourage economic activity in North Sydney. After their adoption, a large amount of premium office development occurred in the area.

Influences on Outcome The initiatives were put in place by an innovative and environmentally aware local council, headed by Ted Mack as mayor, which was not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom on links between car parking and economic development.
Applicability Clearly, people can be discouraged from using cars if use is made too difficult or too expensive. Major cities around the world have prospered with much lower rates of car based commuting than occurs in Australia. Amajor factor affecting use of similar measures in other cities may be decisionmakers' willingness and ability to withstand complaints from those inconvenienced.
Reference Mack, Ted (1995), personal communication.

Initiative Perth Northern Suburbs Transit System — creation of integrated rail and bus system
Location Perth, WA
Date Completed 1993
Initiator Western Australia State Government
Type of Initiative Provision of infrastructure
Description After decades of transport planning focused on private cars, accompanied by deterioration of suburban rail transport, Perth installed a system intended to alter commuting patterns of suburban residents. The existing metropolitan rail system was upgraded and electrified. A $275 million extension to the system covers 29.5 kilometres from the CBD to northern suburbs, occupying the median within a freeway.

Anetwork of 50 feeder bus services linking the railway interchanges to surrounding residential areas is also an integral part of the transit system. To provide ease of transfer between bus and train, bus decks are located just above railway platforms.

Previously available express bus services from these areas to the city, using the freeway, are no longer provided. Park and ride facilities are provided at most stations.

Results of Initiative By 1993, total patronage of the new integrated transport system in the northwest corridor was 14 percent greater than patronage on the previous bus only system. Weekday passenger numbers in June 1993 were conservatively estimated at 24,268. About 25 percent of passengers previously used private transport. Approximately 1,500 fewer passenger vehicles enter the city daily.

Two thirds of those interviewed in a passenger survey expressed satisfaction with services provided. Where complaints existed, most concerned adequacy and timing of connecting bus services, particularly after 6 p.m.

Influences on Outcome This initiative would not have occurred without continued efforts and research by knowledgeable public transport advocates in Perth. Professional transport planners recommended bus only systems, and predicted loss of patronage if rail were used.
Applicability Provision of frequent, reliable and pleasant public transport has the potential to divert significant numbers of commuters away from use of cars in urban/suburban areas, even where population densities are relatively low. Perth is the least densely populated of Australian cities, which are all low density by world standards. Rail systems are generally more energy efficient than conventional buses.
Reference Alexander, I. and Houghton, S. (1994) New Investment in Urban Public Transport, Australian Planner Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 7–11.

Initiative $200 Levy on Sydney Car Park Spaces
Location Sydney, NSW
Date 1994
Initiator Sydney City Council
Type of Initiative Economic instrument
Description To discourage carbased commuting into the Central Business District, Sydney City Council imposed a $200 levy on every car park space. This was intended to fund park and ride lots at suburban rail stations, to make CBD parking more expensive for commuters, so as to encourage use of public transport.
Results of Initiative Car park operators appear to have passed on their increased cost through increases on short term parking, rather than on leases and the all day parking used by commuters. The levy does not, therefore, appear to have achieved the objective of reducing carbased commuting, although it has generated income to support park and ride lots.
Influences on Outcome The Sydney City Council does not control car parking rates in Darling Harbour and some other areas adjoining the CBD. Car park operators in the CBD would lose commuter patronage to car parks in these areas if they raised their prices.
Applicability One lesson from this initiative is that economic instruments have to be carefully designed and targeted to be effective.
Reference Hallam, C., Sydney City Council consultant (1995) personal communication.

Initiative Adelaide Northeast (OBahn) Busway
Location Adelaide, SA
Date Two stages, completed 1986 and 1989
Initiator South Australian Government
Type of Initiative Provision of infrastructure
Description The Adelaide Northeast (OBahn) Busway constructed in the 1980s provides a guided track for buses along a segregated right of way on a freeway. This offers passengers some of the benefits of rail travel through the speed and lack of need to stop for traffic lights. It covers 12 kilometres from the CBD to northeastern suburbs.
Results of Initiative A detailed analysis of patronage before and after completion of the line showed a net increase in passengers of 8.4 percent after opening Stage 1, a further 3 percent growth before Stage 2 was completed, and another increase of over 9.4 percent after completion of Stage 2. Thus the overall increase in use has been about 21 percent.

Nearly 58 percent of new riders after the opening of Stage 2 had previously used cars for their trip. About 27 percent were new passengers who previously did not make trips.

Influences on Outcome The convenience of the service attracted a substantial number of older people to the bus who had not previously traveled to the CBD.
Applicability Convenient, desirable public transport appears to divert commuters from carbased travel when it is available.
Reference PakPoy & Kneebone Pty Ltd. (1990) North East Busway Project Stage 2. Before and After Study. Evaluation Report.

Initiative Bicycle Victoria, Ride To Work Campaign
Location Melbourne and Regional Centres, Victoria
Date Ongoing; initiated 1993
Initiator Bicycle Victoria (nongovernmental organisation)
Type of Initiative Provision of infrastructure, education, information
Description Bicycle Victoria encourages companies to set up Ride to Work groups. Their Ride to Work Coordinator works with company groups to run activities to encourage more people to cycle to work. These activities include: written information; hands-on workshops on good routes to work, bike maintenance, etc.; negotiation with management to improve bike parking, showers; agreements/ contracts with local bike shops for repairs; bulk purchase of bikes paid by salary deductions over a year; twice yearly Ride to Work Days; and other bike rides. The cost of the start up program is $500. Bicycle Victoria offers accident insurance for members.

The benefits of bicycle riding promoted to companies are improved health and fitness of employees, faster travel time, so employees arrive at work on time, and reduced air pollution and improved quality of life.

Results of Initiative The March 1995 Ride to Work Day involved 100 companies and organisations and 24 schools and campuses. Over 1700 people were involved. Prizes were awarded to companies for participation. A breakfast was provided for riders.

Surveys found that the reasons people ride to work are: fitness (29%), enjoyment (22%), low cost (15%), and environment (13%). The measures found by surveys to encourage cycling to work are: availability of showers and changing facilities, information about safe routes to work, secure and accessible parking, guaranteed ride home, and personal lockers.

Influences on Outcome none noted
Applicability Bicycling to work is applicable to all locations. Initiatives to encourage company participation in Ride to Work programs could be provided by bicycle groups with sufficient resources anywhere. Similar programs already exist in a number of locations around Australia.
Reference BV news (1995) Bicycle Victoria newsletter, March, May, July.

Rice, J. (1994) Report — Ride to Work Pilot Program, Bicycle Victoria.


Initiative Car Pooling Pilot Program, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)
Location Noble Park (25 km southeast of Melbourne), Victoria
Date 1992
Initiator RACV, with Office of the Environment, Victorian Government
Type of Initiative Provision of infrastructure, education, information
Description The RACV carried out a pilot work based car pooling scheme at its suburban Melbourne head office, which employs about 800 people in several shifts. The aim of the program was to determine employee attitudes to car pooling, identify aspects of a program that would encourage employees to car pool, and measure the success rate of an employer based car pooling scheme.

A questionnaire was completed by 80 people to provide information on attitudes to car pooling, travel behaviour, travel mode, and other issues. The results of the survey were used in designing the car pooling program and in determining the best ways to encourage employees to car pool. Incentives were offered to car poolers include preferential parking and taxi vouchers for emergency rides home.

The survey found that although 16 percent already car pooled, traveling alone by car was the preferred mode of travel for 94 percent of those surveyed. Over 90 percent of people said they need a car during the day or on their way home, primarily for shopping, picking up children, for work related purposes, or for other reasons. Advantages of car pooling were seen as fewer cars on the road leading to less congestion and accidents (39%), reduced air pollution and greenhouse gases (29%) and financial savings (18%). The main disadvantages were seen as reduced flexibility to travel elsewhere (43%) and inconvenience in adhering to strict travel times (31%). No incentives would encourage 36% of people to car pool.

A staff member was named as Car Pool Coordinator, and Car Pool Motivators were appointed for departments. Employees were matched with others living near them and were provided with a booklet on car pooling etiquette, carpoolasaurus, and the money dioxide reckoner, for determining money and carbon dioxide savings from car pooling. The scheme was well promoted both within the organisation and in the media.

Results of Initiative The rate of car pooling in the organisation increased by 4 to 20 percent of staff on peak days (above the 16 percent previously car pooling). The rate of car pooling declined substantially during school holidays.
Influences on Outcome RACVprovides about 600 free car parking spaces onsite. The facility is close to major freeways. Public transport access is difficult. These factors contribute to ease of driving to work and probably discourage car pooling.
Applicability Car pooling is applicable to organisations around Australia. Facilities with greater constraints on parking and driving may be more promising targets for such programs.
Reference Greenwood, I. (1993) Work Based Car Pooling — A Pilot Study, presented at 16th Australian Road Research Board Conference.

Initiative Shellharbour Trial of Computerised Bus Demand Management System
Location Shellharbour, NSW
Date 1992–1993
Initiator Shellharbour Council (funded by Commonwealth Government and German Government)
Type of Initiative Infrastructure
Description The Translink project was intended to substantially improve access to public transport by providing comprehensive timetable and information systems for the public, providing better coordination between bus lines and between buses and trains, and by introducing supplementary “demand responsive” services. The demand responsive services were in addition to the regular bus service, and allowed buses to deviate upon passenger request from their base route to a number of “on demand” bus stops installed throughout the urban area. The service was considered to be particularly important in newly developing suburbs where traditional bus services are difficult to provide because of low patronage and economic viability.

The System designed for Shellharbour involves advanced communication technology and information technology, intended to improve efficiency, availability, reliability and safety. The demand system allowed passengers to make regular bookings for trips made at the same time each day, week or month. Day ahead bookings were required at first, same day bookings were added later, although the communication system between the control centre and driver was never installed, so such bookings were made by voice radios.

One aim of the project involved improving operator management by providing real time passenger information, vehicle tracking and traffic light preemption. Failures and delays in computer technology meant this aim was not tested. Planned extensive advertising was not implemented because of delays and computer inadequacies.

Results of Initiative The system brought bus service within 100 metres of 84 percent of users' homes, where before only 18 percent of these respondents were within 100 metres of a bus stop. An onboard survey found that 8 percent of users were previously unable to make the trip, 16 percent had previously made the trip by car, 9 percent previously walked or rode a bicycle, 65 percent previously took the bus. Numbers of increased passengers were quite low.

A cost benefit analysis concluded that the system as trialled and even a lower cost option may not be economically viable because of the low level of usage for the demand service. The trial project did not generate sufficient usage to warrant permanent implementation.

Influences on Outcome Problems with technology meant the system was never fully operational and was not advertised, which may have reduced potential patronage.

Implementation of the program was complex, involving two countries, three spheres of Government, a number of private sector firms, both in Australia and overseas, and a large number of interest groups.

Applicability Simpler, less expensive on demand systems are in use in many communities to address the needs of disabled and elderly people. Such systems may have broader applicability. It appears that the highly sophisticated and expensive system trialled in Shellharbour would have limited applicability.
Reference Shellharbour Council (1994) Translink. Final Supplementary Report.

Changing Fuels and Vehicles

Initiative Increased Excise Tax on Leaded Petrol
Location Nationwide
Date 1994
Initiator Commonwealth Government
Type of Initiative Economic instrument
Description To encourage motorists with pre1986 cars to switch to use of unleaded petrol, the Commonwealth Government increased excise tax on leaded petrol by one cent on 1 February 1994 and an additional cent on 1 August 1994. These increases were passed on to consumers. The increase in excise was accompanied by a substantial public advertising campaign.
Results of Initiative In the months following the introduction of the increased excise, significant increases occurred in the rate at which motorists switched from leaded to unleaded petrol. In February 1994, the increase in switching from leaded to unleaded was 10 times the average monthly rate; in August 1994, it was nearly 4 times the average monthly rate. (The average rate of switching, owing mainly to purchase of new cars, was 0.4%; in February it was 4%, in August in was 2.3%.) Use of unleaded petrol continued after the initial switch.

The concentration of lead in air has fallen dramatically as the lead emitted by cars has declined. Between March 1993 and March 1994 lead in air in Sydney declined by 28 percent. More recent estimates show the decline to be as much as 50 percent in Sydney.

Recent improvements in air quality are not all attributable to the response to the excise. On 1 January 1995, permitted lead content of leaded petrol in NSW was lowered from 0.4 grams per litre (g/L) in the Sydney metropolitan area and 0.84 g/L in NSW country to 0.3 g/L in all of NSW. (It was lowered further to 0.2 g/L on 1 January 1996.) Shell introduced leaded petrol with half the permitted amount of lead in NSW and Victoria (0.15 g/L in NSW and 0.125 g/L in Victoria). According to the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy, the current actual average of lead in petrol is 0.15 g/L in NSW and Victoria, 0.3 g/L in Queensland, and 0.21 g/L for all Australia.

Influences on Outcome Health impacts of lead were widely publicised during 1993. Considerable information appeared in the media and was available at petrol stations to encourage motorists to switch to use of unleaded petrol in pre1986 vehicles. Older cars are disproportionately owned by lower income people, so an increase in petrol prices would be more significant to these motorists.
Applicability This initiative shows the effectiveness of a market instrument when applied in an area in which people can make choices and publicity is given to other motivating factors. It also demonstrates the power of public pressure to change Government policy and regulation and industry practice.
Reference DPIE (1995) Sales of Petroleum Products, Australia; Share of Unleaded Petrol Sales in Total Petrol Sales.

Anon. (1994) Fall in Leaded Petrol, Environment Business, November.

Berry, M., Garrard, J. and Greene, D. (1994) Reducing Lead Expo sure in Australia, Canberra, NHMRC.


Initiative Introduction of Natural Gas Buses in Sydney, Adelaide and other Cities
Location Several cities
Date 1995
Initiator State Government, Commonwealth Government, private sector
Type of Initiative Infrastructure
Description Buses fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) have been introduced in Sydney, Adelaide, Geelong, Canberra and other Australian cities. Environmental aims include reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A primary attractions for operators is the reduced cost, because the 22 cent per litre tax on petrol is not applied to natural gas. Adelaide already has 100 natural gas buses and will go to 110 by the end of 1995 (out of a total fleet of 750 buses).
Results of Initiative Only limited testing of the air emissions of CNG buses has occurred so far. All participants expect to achieve substantial improvements in particulate and hydrocarbon emissions. According to one participant, there will be no improvement in greenhouse gas emissions. The two reasons for this are: The natural gas engines used in the buses are less efficient than diesel engines. In addition, because acceleration of the gas buses is much smoother than that of diesel buses, bus drivers tend to drive faster, reducing fuel efficiency. Better data on the performance of the buses should be available towards the end of the year.
Influences on Outcome unknown
Applicability Natural gas buses would appear to have wide applicability in Australian cities.
Reference Bamford, J., Australian Gas Association (1995), personal communication.

Lee, H., AGL Gas Companies (1995), personal communication. Fisher, A., South Australian Gas Company, personal communication.

Mastrangelo, J., SA Passenger Transport Board (1995), personal communication.

Sisselli, A., SA EPA(1995), personal communication.

Kadayifici, M., NSW EPA(1995), personal communication.

 

Initiative National Average Fuel Consumption Targets
Location Nationwide
Date 1978 to 1987
Initiator Government
Type of Initiative Infrastructure
Description A voluntary program to improve the fuel efficiency of Australian cars was adopted in 1978 as an agreement between Commonwealth and the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) that the industry would take steps to ensure that the trend in the sales weighted national average fuel consumption (NAFC) of new passenger vehicles sold in Australia continued to decline in relation to what the trend would have been in the absence of such a program.

In 1993, as part of a commitment under the National Greenhouse Response Strategy, the Commonwealth and vehicle industry agreed upon a national average fuel consumption target for new passenger vehicles to be met by the year 2000. Greenhouse 21C issued by the Commonwealth in 1995 included a commitment to review the status of motor vehicle fuel efficiency levels in 1996, and to undertake additional supporting initiatives.

Results of Initiative The fuel efficiency of Australian cars has declined extremely slowly since 1979, compared to changes overseas. A review of the National Energy Management Program found that the impact of the NAFC targets on fuel consumption was “negligible.” Since 1983, fuel efficiency has improved only 7 percent. Although industry points to a 24.6 percent improvement since 1979, the improvement would be considerably less if today's fuel consumption was compared with that of about 1974 (Holdens of the late 1970s were particularly inefficient).

Today, Australia has the least efficient cars in the OECD, with a NAFC of 8.9 litres per 100 km. Comparative figures for 1988 show Australian NAFC at 9.10 litres per 100 km, compared with the UK at 7.4 litres per 100 km and Italy at 6.8 litres per 100 km. The on road fleet average for 1988 of 11.8 litres per 100 km was 39 percent above the 8.5 litres per 100 km achieved by cars in New Zealand and Denmark. Although companies and Government operate less than 10 percent of the total Australian car fleet, they bought over 50 percent of all new cars (1991 figure). This percentage has been increasing. More than 95 percent of these purchases are luxury cars. This probably explains the significant increase in the size of cars purchased in Australia. In 1984, only 19 percent of cars purchased had 6 or more cylinders. This increased to 33 percent in 1987–88, and to at least 45 percent in 1994–95.

Influences on Outcome unknown
Applicability May provide some indication of the degree of effectiveness of voluntary industry initiatives in the absence of effective programs to increase consumer demand for products with less environmental impact.
Reference Nelson English, Loxton and Andrews (1991) Study on Potential to Improve Fuel Economy of Passenger Motor Vehicles.

Scholar, R., Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (1995) Status Report for National Greenhouse Advisory Panel on NGRS Sec tion 2.4 Transport Issues, May.

 

Changing Urban Form and Development

Cities with low density development promote car dependence and make provision of public transport and services difficult or expensive. They also consume more land, impacting on water runoff, flora and fauna. Large houses (and large gardens) generally consume more resources than smaller ones in the form of materials, energy and water.

One aim of changing urban form and development is to promote more efficient cities. Such cities would lower car requirements, facilitate public transport use, and promote more efficient delivery of services. This would reduce resource use, fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions. An additional aim is to promote housing which is more efficient in its energy and water use.

Indicators of change are the density of development, size and nature of housing, consumption of resources, and the energy, transport and water used.

Initiative Australian Model Code for Residential Development (AMCORD)
Location Nationwide
Date Issued in 1991, updated in 1995
Initiator Commonwealth Government
Type of Initiative Information
Description AMCORD provides guidance on a performance based planning approach to residential development and control. It is intended to promote improved urban form and medium density development. To encourage the development of affordable housing which meets the AMCORD guidelines, the Commonwealth established the Green Street program, a partnership with State and local government and the land and housing development industry.
Results of Initiative Although a number of developments have been undertaken around Australia as part of the Green Street program and additional developments have made use of the AMCORD guidelines, there is insufficient data available to measure the impact of these initiatives. Figures on urban density are not published in any accessible manner. Some cities calculate urban densities, but definitions of density are not consistent between cities. It is not apparent what other indicators could be used to measure the effectiveness of AMCORD.
Influences on Outcome unknown
Applicability Better reporting of data on urban form and urban design is needed to provide information to planners, policymakers and developers.
Reference Department of Housing and Regional Development (1994, 1995) Development Now, News on Innovative Residential Developments.

 


Improving Energy Efficiency

Australians consume vast amounts of energy, the production of which results in localised air and water pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. The largest use of energy in households is usually water heating, most of it based on electricity from coalfired power stations, which is the most greenhouse intensive energy source. Energy use also has other environmental impacts that result from the coal mining, oil and gas drilling, or wood harvesting.

The aim of improving residential energy efficiency is to reduce use of fuels, through more efficient use in houses and appliances, and to promote use of renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy.

Indicators of change are overall energy demand from the residential sector, the quantities of different energy sources used, and the performance efficiency of appliances and other equipment.

 

Initiative Leichhardt Council, Development Control Plan 17
Location Leichhardt, NSW
Date Adopted 1994
Initiator Leichhardt Council
Type of Initiative Regulation
Description Leichhardt Council has adopted requirements for energy efficient building design to reduce burning of fossil fuels so as to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The Council covers more than 60,000 residents in the innerSydney suburbs of Annandale, Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt, Lilyfield and Rozelle.

New homes must demonstrate compliance with Council's energy efficient building design guidelines, including provision of solar access to internal and external living areas, external shading, insulation in roofs (to a minimum of R 2.5) and walls (to a minimum of R 1.5) and other energy efficiency measures. Solar water heating must be installed in new buildings and in major renovations and extensions which require installation of a new hot water system. Solar water heating can displace up to 80 percent of the energy used in water heating in a typical Leichhardt home. Energy Assessments must be prepared for new buildings and major renovations.

Results of Initiative Since the Development Control Plan became effective in June 1994, Council has required installation of a solar water heater, insulation and shading on 32 residences, insulation only (for renovations with existing water heaters) on 41 residences, insulation and shading on 8 residences, solar water heater only on 1 residence, and shading only on 1 residence. Dwellings given development approval prior to June 1994 are not subject to energy controls.

In addition to the required installations on new and renovated residences, solar water heaters are being chosen voluntarily by a number of people when replacing their old hot water heaters. One manufacturer estimates sales are up by 80 percent compared to prior years.

Influences on Outcome Manufacturers of solar water heaters offer a discount to people installing their equipment in the area because the concentration of sales reduces their costs. This reduces the cost of solar water heaters below $2000. As new development and major renovations in the area tends to be at the upper end of the market, the small increase for solar water heating is not considered a significant burden. Some people are using the new Green Card for financing the water heaters.

According to the Council's Environment Officer, residents of the increasingly gentrified area pride themselves on being environmentally responsible and are pleased with the requirements.

Applicability Requirements for energy efficiency in new and renovated buildings could be applied by local governments in most areas.
Reference Seidlich, B., Leichhardt Council (1995), personal communication.

Leichhardt Council (1993) Energy Efficient Building Policy. Development Control Plan No. 17.

 

Initiative South East Queensland Electricity Board (SEQEB) Rebates for Energy Efficient Homes
Location Billy Heads, on Queensland South Coast
Date 1992–1993
Initiator South East Queensland Electricity Board
Type of Initiative Economic instrument
Description A SEQEB pilot program offered $250 rebates to people complying with SEQEB criteria for new energy efficient homes. These required inclusion of ceiling insulation, specified number of power points, a dedicated circuit for permanently wired in appliances, `adequate' size offpeak electric hot water system, minimum of four energy efficient lights, safety switch protection and water efficient shower rose.

The program was tried for 18 months and promoted through radio advertisement, newspaper coverage, and seminars.

Results of Initiative Only 20 people agreed to meet the conditions required to receive the rebate. In the view of a SEQEB officer involved with the program, it didn't work because people in that area have little need for either heating or cooling. so saw little benefit in energy efficient houses .
Influences on Outcome The area chosen was not conducive to interest in energy efficient housing. In addition, several of the criteria for the rebate do not actually promote energy efficiency and may actually increase use. It is not known whether one deterrent to participation was a desire to install a gas water heater or a smaller electric water heater than specified.
Applicability Energy efficiency rebate programs could be and have been applied successfully in many areas. Without more detailed analysis of the reasons for failure of this program, it is not possible to identify all the lessons to be drawn.
Reference Asmar, R., SEQEB (1995), personal communication.

SEQEB (1992) Demand Management Activities for Greater Energy Efficiency.

 

Initiative Energy Rating Labelling of Electrical Appliances
Location Introduced in Victoria and NSW, then extended to other states.
Date Begun in 1986
Initiator State Governments, with Commonwealth coordination. Implemented by energy utilities and appliance industry.
Type of Initiative Information
Description Energy labelling was applied to refrigerators and freezers sold in NSW and Victoria in 1987. It was extended to dishwashers and air conditioners in 1988, and to clothes washers and dryers in 1990. Appliances are given one to six stars based on their energy efficiency; more stars mean greater efficiency. Labels also show average energy consumption per year. Recently, a national system of coordination and decisionmaking was adopted to ensure uniformity among systems used in different states.
Results of Initiative The effectiveness of energy labelling has been analysed from a number of different perspectives. Recent surveys by Test Research found 91 percent of people have seen star rating energy labels. About threequarters understand that they indicate the efficiency of appliances. The majority believes that five or six stars are required for an appliance to be very efficient. An overwhelming majority (79%) believes that the information is reliable.

George Wilkenfeld and Associates estimated that if labelling had not been introduced, the electricity consumption in 1992 for all new appliances of the labelled types would have been about 11 percent higher than it was, and total household electricity consumption would have been about 1.6 percent higher. Energy and savings attributable to energy labelling were estimated to be 630 gigawatt hours (630 million kilowatt hours) each year. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 1992 was estimated to be 620,000 tonnes.

The role of the energy label on appliance selection was estimated to be important for 55 to 85 percent of buyers, according to a 1991 survey by Victorian utilities. More detailed research on this issue is scheduled for later this year.

Influences on Outcome none known
Applicability Labelling is considered to provided important information for consumers at the point of purchase. In different forms, it is applicable to a variety of products.
Reference Test Research, ADivision of the Australian Consumers'Association (1995) Appliance Use Survey Report.

SECV and Gas and Fuel Corp. (1991) An Evaluation of the Electricity Energy Labelling Scheme.

George Wilkenfeld and Associates (1992) Estimates of the Energy Impacts and Costs of the Appliance Energy Labelling Program to June 1992.

G e o rge Wilkenfeld and Associates (1994) P rojected Impact of Response Actions on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Energy Sector in 1999/2000 and 2004/05.

Smith, B. Energy Victoria (1995), personal communication

 

Initiative Queensland Grants for Installation of Solar Water Heaters
Location Queensland
Date 1995
Initiator State Government, conducted in conjunction with manufacturers
Type of Initiative Economic incentive
Description The Queensland Government is offering homeowners grants for installing solar hot water systems at their homes. The grants are $500 for a twopanel system and $300 for a single panel system. Most manufacturers are offering discounts to purchasers, Solahart's discount is $300. Purchasers are also provided with the opportunity of financing their systems using the Energy Card. The Government allocated $6 million for this initiative, expecting this to fund the program for a threeyear period. The program also provides rebates for other energy efficient equipment.
Results of Initiative Prior to the program initiation, about 4 to 5 percent of people purchasing hot water systems were installing solar systems. The initiative increased that percentage to 10 percent and even 15 percent in some areas, although manufacturers expect these rates to decline somewhat after satisfaction of the demand built up between announcement and inception of the scheme. In Queensland, solar energy can replace 75 to 80 percent of the electricity used by on off peak electric water heater, for a savings of about 2300 kilowatthours per year for a household.

Rebates paid since the program came into effect on 1 July, 1995 total over $500,000. This covers 1983 rebates for compact fluorescent lamps, 389 for efficient shower roses, 236 for replacement solar hot water systems and 932 for new solar hot water systems.

Influences on Outcome publicity, manufacturer's advertising
Applicability Could be applied in other locations
Reference Versluis, P., Solahart (1995), personal communication.

Ede, D. Queensland Energywise Advisory Centre, personal communication.

 

Reducing the Impact of Food Production

Environmental effects of food production include the effects of chemicals on flora and fauna, runoff of chemicals and nutrients (from fertilisers) into streams, with resulting effects on water quality, which affects flora and fauna and drinking water quality. Production of food, particularly meat, results in land degradation and consequent impacts on water quality. Large amounts of energy and water are also consumed in the production of food. Fishing can have significant effects on biodiversity. Some methods of fishing also result in death of birds and other sea animals.

The aim of changing patterns of food consumption is to encourage people to base more of their diet on products with lesser environmental impact.

Indicators of environmental effect are chemicals, water and energy used in food production, soil and land condition (salinity, acidification), extent of land clearance, biodiversity and water quality in streams. A different set of indicators applies to consumption of fish: size and location of catch, and method used in fishing.


Initiative Sale of Organic Food
Location Nationwide
Date Ongoing
Initiator Private sector
Type of Initiative Information, infrastructure
Description Certification of a farm or food processor as Organic indicates that the food is grown using appropriate land management practices without the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, growth regulators, antibiotics, or hormone stimulants or intensive livestock systems.

National Standards for Organic Foods for Export were adopted by the Commonwealth Government in 1992. Industry organisations inspect and certify farms and food processors for compliance with the Standards. The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service audits certifying organisations. (At present no regulation exists for domestically sold organic food, but some producers adhere to the standards and certification used for exported food.)

Results of Initiative The organic food industry is still a tiny portion of the market, but is growing. A recent consultancy by Hassell's estimated that 1995 retail sales of organic produce would be about $80.5 million. This is 0.2 percent of all retail produce sales, up from 0.13 percent of sales in 1990.

Because of the range of products included in the category of organic foods, and the variation among them in terms of farming and processing methods, it is not possible to estimate the quantity of chemicals avoided by the production of organic foods.

Influences on Outcome Many consumers of organic foods are motivated primarily by health considerations rather than environmental protection.
Applicability Standards applying to exported organic foods could be applied to domestically sold foods.
Reference National Association For Sustainable Agriculture Australia (1994) Is It Really Organic?

Clark, M., Hassell's (1995), personal communication.


Contents for Detailed Analysis


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