Opera House: Now a star for the environment

Onya’ Straya! Sydney Opera House, the iconic Australian building, has been awarded a 4 Star Green Star Performance rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Put aside the harsh chemical-laden liquids, the Opera House is now cleaned and maintained by the same household items we use to clean our homes. That's right, we're talking bicarbonate soda and the likes.

The range of eco-friendly cleaning methods used to maintain the World Heritage building includes using bicarbonate soda to clean its concrete, olive oil to shine the bronze and ozone-treated water to disinfect various areas.

And this is just a small part of the wider range of environmental and social sustainability initiatives made by the heritage listed building.

In recognition of its initiatives, The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has awarded the Sydney Opera House a 4 Star Green Star Performance rating, putting the national icon among a select few World Heritage buildings that have received green certification globally.

"It puts the Sydney Opera House on the same level as the remarkable Empire State building in New York which has also achieved a similar rating," said Troy Grant NSW Minister for the Arts.

The Opera House has reduced its energy consumption by 10% over the past five years through a range of lighting-retrofit and lighting-control projects – even as the Opera House is putting on more performances and welcoming more visitors than ever before.

It also has a highly innovative seawater cooling system that sources water directly from the harbour to power the Opera House's main heating and air-conditioning.

"If you can green the Opera House, you can green anything"
- Romilly Madew, CEO of the GBCA

All that is quite an achievement considering that the Opera House is over 40 years old.

"The endorsement of the Opera House by the GBCA sends a clear message that green buildings don't have to be new – even the most recognisable and historic landmarks can earn a place among the most celebrated sustainable buildings in the world," said Troy Grant NSW Minister for the Arts.

"In Australia, about 340 million square metres of commercial and public building space needs upgrading… The general consensus has been that it's 'too hard' to improve the sustainability of these buildings," said Romilly Madew, CEO of the GBCA.

"The Sydney Opera House has laid down the gauntlet for the property industry with a pragmatic, practical approach which shows even the most iconic, historic and challenging buildings can be high-performing, energy efficient and sustainable."

The 1 Million Women team is based in Sydney and we are so fortunate that change is happening right in our backyard! On behalf of the 1 Million Women team, a massive congratulations to the Sydney Opera House and the GBCA on the great news!

[Images: Green Building Council of Australia]

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