Climate Change


What's been happening​

Hamilton City Council needs to be prepared to manage the likely impact climate change will have on our city and take steps to reduce the production of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, we adopted 11 Sustainability Principles to guide our decision making and how we work as an organisation, which included understanding, preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change. The Sustainability Principles updated our Sustainable Hamilton strategy, which was in place since 2013. Before then, various other policies and strategies guided our commitment to protecting and enhancing our environment, operating in a more sustainable way and supporting, enabling and leading our city's action on issues such waste minimisation, reducing reliance on fossil fuel energy, and efficient use of natural resources. Following the 2019 local government elections, an Environment Committee was added to Hamilton City Council's governance structure, to provide guidance and oversight of the wellbeing, protection, enhancement and sustainability of the city's natural environment, and the Council's approach and response to climate change.  

What's happening now

In 2019, we committed to developing a comprehensive and city-wide response to climate change, in partnership with Waikato-Tainui, Waikato Regional Council, and other key organisations. The response will have two focus areas. 

The first is the Hamilton Climate Change Accord - a collaboration between the Council and stakeholders across Hamilton to reduce our city's carbon emissions and adapt the city for the effects of climate change. The second is the Hamilton City Council Climate Change Action Plan. This will outline how the Council as an organisation will reduce its carbon emissions.  ​

Hamilton City Council's carbon emissions

The Council's largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions is biogenic methane from the city's wastewater treatment process. Between July 2018 and June 2019, the Council's treatment of Hamilton's wastewater produced 11,159 tonnes of CO2 equivalents (tCO2e​). 

Excluding these, from July 2018 to June 2019 the Council emitted 10,932 tCO2e. 

35.6% (3935 tCO2e) comes from our use of natural gas, diesel and petrol.

Of this:

  • 2558 tCO2e is the natural gas used at the Wastewater Treatment Plant to generate electricity as an alternative power source during peak electricity tariff times to reduce our electricity bill, the boilers to heat the water for the pools at Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre and for gas appliances at our various facilities across the city.
  • 1023 tCO2e is the diesel we use to run our trucks, mowers, and utes used across the city.
  • Only 157 tCO2e is from our petrol fleet and 197 TCO2e from our use of LPG.

30.8% (3376 tCO2e) comes from our electricity use.

Of this:

  • 1619 tCO2e is the from the power used to run our water treatment plant (911 tCO2e) and our wastewater treatment plant (708 tCO2e).
  • 540 tCO2e is from the electricity used to run the street lights across the city.
  • The remaining 1217 tCO2e is from the power used in our buildings such as our libraries, stadia, Claudelands, Museum and our Council offices.

​22.2% (2,433 tCO2e) come from the disposal of biosolids to vermi-composting.

The biosolids produced at the Wastewater Treatment Plan in Pukete are sent to a worm farm where it is mixed with other organic waste to produce a vermicompost. This is a beneficial alternative to sending it to landfill where it would produce additional methane. With the production of compost, the biosolids are neutralised and re-used rather than creating additional waste.

The Council uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and International Standard 14064, the most widely used measures for greenhouse gas accounting, to calculate its carbon emissions. These calculations have been independently checked and confirmed by Toitu (formerly Enviro-mark). 

What is Hamilton City Council doing to reduce its carbon emissions?

As part of wider sustainability measures and our energy management programme, we have implemented a number of projects and ongoing actions to reduce our organisation's carbon emissions.

  • We've replaced 73% of Hamilton's streetlights with new energy-efficient LED lights, reducing energy emissions by 341 tCO2e.
  • We've replaced traffic signal lanterns with LED lights.
  • We've replaced lights within Council buildings to lower-energy LED lights and upgraded our chillers and boilers to more efficient models.
  • We're using renewable biogas generated from the digestion process at the wastewater treatment plant to run the gas boiler, offsetting natural gas use.
  • We're using electric heat pumps to control air temperature at Waterworld instead of natural gas-fired boilers.
  • We've replaced an LPG boiler at the Zoo with an electric heat pump to keep the Chimpanzees warm.
  • Our electricity and gas usage (kwh) has decreased from 55,705,385 in 2012 to 47,556,733 in 2019. CO2e emissions have subsequently decreased from 9901 in 2012 to 7286 in 2019. This equates to a 22% energy intensity reduction per ratepayer.
  • We've made scooters and electric bikes available for staff to use for work-related trips.
  • We've introduced a scheme for staff to purchase e-bikes via a loan, to encourage environmentally friendly commuting to work.
  • We're monitoring the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet. The average fuel use by our car and ute fleet for the year ended June 2019 was 12.14 litres per 100km (our target is 10 litres/100km). The average fuel use by our light truck fleet for the year ended June 2019 was 25.0 litres per 100km. Improvements in fuel efficiency and the ongoing turnover of older vehicles should see continued improvements in average fuel usage.
  • In 2018/19, we recycled 32.3% of the waste picked up from the kerbside collection. Our target was 30%.
  • 18,139 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill at Council-operated waste facilities in 2018/19.
  • We monitor and report energy use in our large buildings and utilise building management systems to minimise energy use.​

Hamilton's carbon emissions

To help us identify what actions would have the biggest impact on reducing Hamilton's carbon emissions, Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council commissioned an emissions inventory from Envirostrat Ltd and AECOM. The report calculated that our city generated a total of 982,284 tCO2e between July 2018 and June 2019. This equates to 5.86 tCO2e per resident.

Transport is the city's largest source of emissions with 62% (619,723 tCO2e), followed by energy used for industry and in homes (29%, 276,594 tCO2e). Petrol and diesel consumption from road transport make up 97% of all transportation emissions. Our city generated a total of 28,919 tCO2e from waste in 2018/19, of which 46.4% was as result of solid waste disposal and 53.6% from wastewater. ​​

What is Hamilton City Council doing to reduce emissions produced by our city? ​

  • We're committed to promoting and enabling people to get around our city by bike. $52 million for biking plan projects was approved in the 2018-28 10-Year Plan.
  • We're encouraging the use of buses. Since July 2019, people 18 years and under can travel on free scheduled buses within the Hamilton network on weekends and public holidays. We've installed 40 new bus shelters, 41 led solar lights into new or existing shelters and accessible kerbing at 21 locations.
  • We're encouraging the use of electric vehicles. We've installed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in our carpark on Caro St with help from WEL Networks. We're now exploring installing EV charging stations at Hamilton Lake and Hamilton Gardens.
  • We're improving traffic signal optimisation to reduce travel time. In May 2019, we achieved a 27% reduction in the average travel time from Mill St-Seddon Rd to Mill St-Victoria St.
  • We're educating and supporting our communities to reduce waste through our 'Fight the Landfill' campaign:
  • We're funding waste reduction and minimisation programmes through our annual $50,000 contestable fund.
  • We're providing the community with information about how they can improve energy efficiency at home:​​​
Page reviewed: 21 Oct 2020 12:01pm