Sustainability in Kingston

Our Climate and Ecological Emergency Response Plan

Climate change is affecting our local beaches, biodiversity, infrastructure, residents and businesses. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the adverse effects of climate change.

In January 2020 the City of Kingston declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and in July 2021 endorsed Kingston’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Response Plan(PDF, 5MB) (CEERP) to guide action.

Our ultimate target is: 

  • net zero community emissions by 2030
  • net zero by 2025 for our own emissions 

To have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, priority areas have been identified:

  • support low carbon living
  • future proof business and industry
  • transition to sustainable transport
  • draw down or capture carbon from the atmosphere
  • adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • transform Council operations.  

Reducing Kingston Council’s own emissions

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from street lights

We’ve replaced over 7,000 of Kingston’s street lights with energy-efficient LED globes and all of our unmetered street lights are powered by renewable energy. Our street lighting change-over program will:

  • save 55,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years – this is equivalent to removing over 600 cars from the road each year
  • save ratepayers and Council $8 million over 20 years 

Increasing renewable energy on Council buildings

Rooftop solar systems have been installed at many of our buildings:

  • Solar panels have been installed across a range of our buildings
  • Parkdale Family & Children's Centre Case Study
  • Westall Community Hub Case Study 

Engagement and Partnerships

South East Councils Climate Change Alliance

Kingston is a member of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA). Nine local governments in the South East of Melbourne that together deliver high quality innovative projects and research to accelerate climate action. 

  • SECCCA member Councils recognise that the transformational action and investment needed in transport, business and energy projects are best achieved by working regionally and collaboratively. 
  • More information on SECCCA projects and research delivered through the alliance can be found on the SECCCA website.  

Cities Power Partnership

Kingston has joined the Cities Power Partnership. The program is a free national program run by the Climate Council.

Membership means:

  • We benefit from connection to knowledge on climate change action shared amongst over 145 member local councils, access to independent research and the best available climate science, access to climate change education tools. 
  • We are accountable to the five action pledges Council chooses across the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, collaboration and advocacy.  

Community engagement and education

Kingston’s community represent a diverse and significant opportunity to take action to live, work and play in a more sustainable way.

To assist our community to become more informed and supported to incorporate sustainability into their lifestyle we offer the following: 

Promoting residential rooftop solar

Kingston continues to investigate avenues to increase the uptake of residential solar and to support residents to understand solar Government rebates available.

Business Engagement and Environmental Upgrade Finance Agreements

Kingston along with commercial and industrial property owners and the Sustainable Melbourne Fund can develop an Environmental Upgrade Finance Agreement to improve their business’s environmental sustainability and help save money. 

The Environmental Upgrade Finance Agreement can be used to support a broad range of works to improve the environmental sustainability performance of commercial and industrial buildings in Kingston. 

More information, including a local business case study, FAQ’s, eligibility criteria and more can be found on the Sustainability in Business webpage.   

Current environmental strategies

Climate Change Strategy 2018-2025

Kingston's Climate Change Strategy 2018-2025(PDF, 8MB) sets out Council's Vision to:  

Build climate resilient environments, infrastructure, facilities and communities through the reduction of carbon emissions and an increasing focus on renewable energy generation.

This Strategy was developed prior to the Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration by Council in 2020 and set out two key targets for emissions reductions:

  • Reduce corporate emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 – which we achieved.
  • Corporate operations to be completely powered by clean and renewable electricity by 2050.

The original target of reducing Council’s corporate emissions by 30 percent by 2020 has been achieved, so a new more ambitious target has been established in the recent Kingston’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Response Plan(PDF, 5MB) of July 2021 with the current target being net zero corporate emissions by 2025.    

Urban Cooling Strategy 2020

We encourage all private developments to consider using ‘cool’ materials and colours in their design as well maximising green infrastructure. 

Council’s Urban Cooling Strategy for Kingston(PDF, 20MB) considers how materials used in the built environment and vegetation influence the urban heat island effect.

It builds on important work already undertaken regionally through the development of the Living Melbourne urban forest strategy and identifies:

  • Actions to deliver on the vision: ‘A municipality with no urban heat islands. It is a community that actively manages the impacts of urban heat on people and the environment through decisions that encourage urban cooling’.
  • Programs and services that mitigate and build community resilience to the impacts of urban heat. 

Melbourne City Council’s Green Factor Tool can also help inform your design to incorporate effective green infrastructure.

Biodiversity Strategy 2018 - 2023

The Biodiversity Strategy(PDF, 4MB) sets goals for protecting, preserving and improving biodiversity within Kingston’s Natural Resources Areas including:

  • maintaining and increasing vegetation in Kingston
  • assisting in carbon emission drawdown and carbon storage
  • providing shade and assisting with urban cooling
  • improving natural habitats

Integrated Transport Strategy 2020

Kingston’s Integrated Transport Strategy(PDF, 2MB) (KITS) provides the long-term direction and guidance for integrated transport and land-use planning across Kingston. It is focused on ensuring that the future growth of Kingston meets the diverse needs of our residents, visitors and workers, including responding to climate change. 

Key aspects of the KITS aligned to climate action include:  

  • The prioritisation of sustainable transport modes (bus, cycle, pedestrians) over private cars
  • Allocating more road space to sustainable transport modes (bus, cycle, pedestrians)   
  • Installing bike lanes, paths and other cycling infrastructure throughout Kingston which link key public transport routes and destinations.  

Integrated Water Cycle Strategy

The Integrated Water Cycle Strategy considers the issues and opportunities associated with mains water, stormwater, wastewater and groundwater, recognising the pressure on every part of the water cycle from changes to our climate and increased urbanisation. 

Aims of the Strategy: 

  • Considers the opportunities that are available to Council and the community, in order to ensure that we use water in a smarter way
  • Promotes water projects that are sustainable considering energy consumption, embodied energy, life cycle costs, carbon emissions
  • Outlines the vision and steps required to achieve our goal of becoming a ‘water sensitive city’ by 2040.  

For more detail on Kingston’s sustainable water management approach and projects, including the Edithvale stormwater harvesting and reuse project, the variety of raingardens installed in reserves and streetscapes, and more see Kingston’s Water Management webpage.  

Environmentally Sustainable Design for buildings

Kingston ensures Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) clauses are part of our planning scheme. The clauses aim to ensure that straightforward and inexpensive adjustments to building designs occur early in the planning process.  

All residential developments of three or more dwellings, and all types of developments with a gross floor area more than 1,000m2 require an ESD report.  

We encourage all new development to achieve net zero carbon through the following basic principles:

  • Only power the building through electricity (no gas), and provide renewable energy to power the dwellings   
  • Maximise thermal performance of the building including maximising access to natural light and ventilation 
  • Maximise energy efficiency of appliances within the building
  • Ensure switchboard capacity to allow electric vehicle charging infrastructure to be connected at a later date
  • Use an embedded network provider that can ensure net zero is achieved through offsets, if required  

For Council owned buildings the Community Buildings Environmentally Sustainable Development Policy guides performance standards for all new Council buildings, refurbishments, maintenance and demolition. 

Recent changes to this council policy include Zero Carbon Council Building Targets and require alternatives to the use of natural gas to be investigated.   


Current environmental programs 

Programs to increase vegetation

To complement Council’s tree planting program on public land, Kingston’s incentives to increase vegetation on private land include:

  • Free plant vouchers for residents each year during Autumn for five native plants
  • Gardens for Wildlife Program offers free onsite habitat planting advice in your garden and a follow up report and information booklet to help you improve local native biodiversity
  • Nature Strip Planting Guidelines to allow you to utilise the nature strip outside your home (Council land) for planting, subject to meeting height and other planting specifications.  

Food waste recycling

Food waste makes up about 50% of Kingston’s household waste sent to landfill. Food in landfill rots and creates the potent greenhouse gas methane which contributes to global warming.

Food waste recycling for households in Kingston means we can accept food waste in Council’s green bin collection. 

Food and garden waste is then turned into compost at a commercial facility in Dandenong South. It is then used on farms, parks and gardens to improve soil.

Visit our Food Waste Recycling page to find out more.