STC takes green steps

After three years of planning and fundraising, Sydney Theatre Company’s solar power station on the roof of the Company’s home base at The Wharf has commenced construction this week.

As installation of the second-largest roof-top solar array in Australia – more than 1900 solar panels – got underway, Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett yesterday gratefully acknowledged more critical support for the groundbreaking project, Greening The Wharf.

Efforts to raise funds for the project have been rewarded with a significant share of $1.17 million from the NSW Government’s Public Facilities Program (a combined application with Arts NSW who will administer the grant on behalf of all tenants of Pier 4/5). In addition EnergyAustralia has become the lead corporate partner and Energy Advisor for Greening The Wharf in a 3-year corporate partnership.

Sydney Theatre Company is now well on the way to transforming The Wharf, the Company’s much-loved home on Sydney Harbour, into a unique demonstration of how buildings (even heritage-listed ones) can be made more sustainable. The project, which will deliver the majority of Sydney Theatre Company’s energy and water requirements from sustainable sources, is believed to be a first for any theatre company in the world in its scale and comprehensive approach to sustainability.

Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett, Artistic Directors said: “Its our hope that Greening The Wharf increases awareness of climate change and demonstrates that there are a wide range of measures that can be taken to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve resources. Since its inception, Sydney Theatre Company’s initiative has already grown and will now, as a result of the support of DECCW, see the rainwater harvesting project and energy efficiency drive implemented not just at Sydney Theatre Company but within other companies at the Wharf. We’re also delighted that EnergyAustralia, our long-time energy partner at Sydney Theatre, has increased and re-focussed their support for the Company through the Greening The Wharf project, not only with financial support but also through their formidable technical resources as energy advisors to the project.”

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor, praised the projects.

“The funding will transform the historic, heritage-listed Walsh Bay finger wharf into a publicly accessible green technology showcase,” he said.

“Every visitor to The Wharf will see the green technology in action and appreciate how it can deliver efficiencies with equal, if not better, performance.”

Arts Minister Virginia Judge said Greening the Wharf was part of the NSW Government’s broader program to improve its own sustainability by reducing water and energy use and carbon pollution.

“This is a fantastic project that will make one of Sydney’s most important art precincts more efficient and climate-friendly,” Ms Judge said.

“It’s a demonstration of what can be achieved through collaboration between the arts community, different levels of government and philanthropic support.

Managing Director of EnergyAustralia, George Maltabarow said: “This program makes Sydney Theatre Company a national leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Around 70% of the Sydney Theatre Company’s current energy use will be provided by solar panels and energy efficiency reductions, which is a huge achievement.”

Greening The Wharf is funded by a unique private and public partnership involving philanthropy, corporate support and government funding. Together with the support announced today from the NSW Government and EnergyAustralia, an extraordinary philanthropic donation of $2m was made by the family foundation of Dr Zhengrong and Mrs Vivienne Shi, a major commitment of $1.2m has come through the Commonwealth government’s Green Precincts Fund and three private gifts from individuals, Cameron O’Reilly, Peter Hall and David Paradice, bring a further $500,000 towards total projected costs of $5.2m.

Sydney Theatre Company has also raised significant in-kind corporate support from engineering, sciences and project delivery firm Sinclair Knight Merz, global leader in energy management and advanced metering technology Landis+Gyr, design architects Tropman and Tropman, waste and recycling companies Veolia and Packaging Stewardship Forum, bathroom specialists Caroma and KPMG, who prepared the business case for the project.

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