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Greening the House

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Improving the efficiency of our air conditioning
Sydney Opera House is working to make the air conditioning system more efficient. We replaced older pumps and motors with new, more efficient ones. We have changed the way the seawater cooling is used in the air conditioning system to enable the equipment to operate more efficiently. We are in the process of installing a small, efficient air conditioning chiller to handle low loads so that the large chillers can be turned off when not required. We predict this will result in energy savings. 

Turning off lights
We have reduced the operating hours of Sail lighting, turning the lights off for around an extra 4 hours per night. This saves around 12 megawatt hours per year.

Energy Efficient Lighting
We are progressively replacing older lighting with newer energy efficient lighting. We switched to compact fluorescent lights in the dressing rooms that use 80% less energy. We replaced old, energy hungry tubes with energy efficient LEDs in the Green Room.


Efficient design - Sea Water cooling
Sydney Opera House uses sea water from Circular Quay as part of the air conditioning system. This saves 15 million litres of drinking water per year – that’s around 15 Olympic swimming pools!

Water Efficient Fittings
In 2009, Sydney Opera House replaced all the shower heads with water and energy efficient devices, saving 40% of water from showers, estimated at per 600 000 L per year – that’s around 13 standard swimming pools! We replaced kitchen spray guns, saving about 50% of water used by these guns.

New recycling system
We implemented recycling bins across the offices and back of house areas in 2009.  
As part of the roll out, we created a film to educate people on where our waste goes, and why it is important to recycle.

Watch A Load of Rubbish

All the things we recycle
Sydney Opera House recycles reusable equipment to Reverse Garbage; recycles our electronic components and toners through our supplier, and recycles light bulbs from back of house and theatre areas.

Green Cleaning
We use ‘green cleaning’ such as and olive oil to clean bronze fittings, and a mixture of baking soda & water to clean the concrete slabs, soap flakes and mud to clean the Utzon Room and Western Foyers’ floor. This gentle non-toxic cleaning techniques help 'sustain' the building for its 250 year lifespan.

Greening Our Events
In a first for Sydney Opera House, biodiesel generators were used to light the sails for Luminous and Smart Light Sydney with carbon emissions offset through independently verified Greenhouse Friendly™ carbon credits.


Engage our staff
With the new role of Manager, Sustainability and Energy appointed in November 2008, a ‘Green Team’ was created to encourage environmental awareness throughout the organisation. We have developed a Greening the House brand to raise staff awareness, and use informative 'Greening the House' screensavers for internal communication.

Inspire our Audiences and Visitors
Recognising we are in a unique position to influence beyond our footprint, we aim to Sydney Opera engage and inspire our audiences and visitors. Sydney Opera House is proud to present acclaimed environmental speakers and where possible make the talks available online.

Watch Talks

Earth Hour

Sydney Opera House supports Earth Hour every year by joining iconic buildings worldwide in turning off our non-essential lights by one hour. For more info visit



Energy efficiency project savings calculation template 
Sydney Opera House provide this template as a starting point for others. We hope that you find it useful. If you have any questions or would like the excel version of this template, please contact


Vivid Live 2011 carbon footprint verification report
Festival Of Dangerous Ideas 2011 carbon footprint verification report

SOH Event Carbon Calculations Template

Event Carbon Data Collection Template

Sydney Opera House provide this template as a starting point for others. We hope that you find it useful. If you have any questions or would like the excel version of this template, please contact


Corporate Carbon Footprint 2010  in annual report (see pg 67)
Corporate Carbon Footprint 2011 in annual report (see pg 103 – 104)


Data collection template for daily waste and recycling data 
 Load of Rubbish video

Communication campaign template

Sustainability Advantage Member

Sydney Opera House is committed to strengthen its environmental performance through collaboration
with the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW.
Greening the House - Sustainability Advantage Member
More Info
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