Sustainable households

Saving energy

We have partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to provide you with energy advice you can trust. The Australian Energy Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, leading the way to an equitable zero carbon society.

Australian Energy Foundation advisors can help you work out exactly what you need to do to make your home energy-efficient and can connect you with reliable suppliers.

Get advice on:

  • solar panels and battery storage
  • insulation and draught proofing
  • LED lighting
  • hot water heat pumps
  • reverse cycle air conditioners
  • pool pump controllers
  • window films

Arrange a complete home energy assessment to get practical, tailored advice specific to you and your home.  

For more information visit the Australian Energy Foundation website, call 1300 23 68 55 or email advice@aef.com.au  

Go solar and save!

The Victorian Government is offering eligible households a rebate on the cost of installing solar panels, solar hot water systems and solar battery storage. Interest free loans are also available to eligible applicants. 

Find out more and apply on the Solar Victoria website.

Reduce energy use

Loan a Power-Mate from any City of Stonnington library to measure your energy use, running costs and green house gas emissions. Introduce energy reduction initiatives and see the difference!

Tips to reduce

  • Insulate, insulate, insulate! Insulating your home can reduce heating and cooling costs by about 65 per cent!
  • Seal draughts around windows, doors, plumbing, heating units and ducted systems.
  • Use your reverse cycle air conditioner as a heater.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall when not in use. Standby power can cost households hundreds each year.
  • Avoid the clothes dryer.
  • Set your air conditioner thermostat between 18°C and 20°C. Every degree higher can increase your bill by up to 10 per cent.
  • Use a heater timer. Set the timer for 20 minutes before you wake up. Leaving heaters on overnight can cost a small fortune.
  • Set your fridge to 3 to 5 degrees and your freezer at -15 to -18 degrees.
  • Run your washing machine with full loads only.
  • Keep the oven door closed. Each time you open the door, your oven temperature drops 5 to 15 degrees.

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Helpful resources

Victorian Energy Saver - information and tools to save energy and money on bills

Sustainability Victoria - information on how to save energy in your home

Your Home - a guide to buying or renovating a sustainable apartment

Green Strata - ideas for sustainable apartment buildings

Saving water

Adopting water efficiently principles in your home has many benefits. It will:

  • lower your water bills
  • give you an independent water supply
  • help your garden survive through low periods of rain
  • reduce sewage discharged to rivers and the oceans.

Here are some ways you can save water at home:

Install a rainwater tank

Using rainwater to water your garden can reduce the use of scheme water by up to 25 per cent, and is preserving our precious resource.

In line with advice from Melbourne Water, due to potential water quality issues we do not support drinking rainwater tank water in urban areas.

Things to consider before installing a rainwater tank

  • Check your drainage - ensure there is adequate drainage that won’t cause any issues for neighbouring properties. The tank needs an overflow pipe that matches the size of the inlet, and can return excess stormwater to the property drain.
  • Check building requirements - domestic rainwater tanks don’t require a building permit but you should consider where they are placed to ensure there are no issues with neighbours or local amenities.
  • Estimate your water use - consider what the water will be used for and the volume needed.
  • Planning conditions - in most cases a planning permit is not required to install a domestic rainwater tank with a capacity of 4,500 litres or less.

 To check if you need a planning permit call our Planning Services team on 8290 1333

Greywater treatment systems

Greywater is all non-toilet household waste water, such as water from washing machines, showers and laundry sinks.

It can be a good water resource in dry periods however, if misused, can carry health and environmental risks.

Kitchen and toilet water is not allowed to enter a greywater system and greywater cannot be used for drinking purposes. However, you can use greywater on your property to replace scheme water for toilet flushing and garden watering.

We support water conservation methods and believe greywater can be reused effectively and safely in households by following these few simple dos and don'ts.

Greywater Dos Greywater Don'ts
DO use greywater from baths, showers, hand basins and washing machines (preferably the final rinse water) DON'T water vegetable gardens with greywater if the vegetables are to be eaten raw
DO use greywater on the garden DON'T use greywater that might have faecal contamination, such as water from washing nappies
DO alternate the areas of your garden you water - only apply enough water for the soil to absorb DON'T use greywater from the kitchen (including from dishwashers)
DO wash your hands after watering your garden with greywater DON'T store greywater for more than 24 hours
DON'T let children or pets drink or play with greywater
DON'T allow greywater to leave your property or enter stormwater systems
DON'T use greywater during wet or rainy periods
DON'T use greywater if it’s smelly or your plants aren’t looking healthy

Before considering a greywater system for your home please refer to information on the EPA Victoria website.

Permanent installations require EPA Victoria approval and should also be discussed with your local water retailer - South East Water or Yarra Valley Water. 

Do you need a permit?

Before installing a greywater system please confirm permit requirements with our Environmental Health team on 8290 1333.

Steps to obtaining a permit

Step 1 - Confirm your chosen greywater treatment system is on the list of EPA certified systems.
Step 2 - Complete a Domestic Greywater Treatment System(DOC, 76KB) application
Step 3 - Before installing the system, arrange a preliminary site inspection with one of our environmental health officers.
Step 4 - Following installation, arrange a final inspection with one of our environmental health officers.

A permit will only be issued if all site inspections have been completed.

Important:  Only greywater systems with a current Certificate of Approval from the EPA will be permitted. Irrigation systems must be designed and installed in compliance with EPA Certificate of Approval CA1.5/08. The system must not be constructed until a 'permit to install' has been issued. The system must not be used until a 'permit to use' has been issued.

If you have any questions please contact our Environmental Health team on 8290 1333.

Build a raingarden

A raingarden is just like a regular garden but is positioned so that it catches rainwater from hard surfaces such as rooftops, paths or roads. 

We have installed 47 raingardens across the city to improve the quality of stormwater entering our waterways and help reduce the impacts of flooding.

We also support residents who would like to build a raingarden at home.

Read our Green Blue Infrastructure Manual(PDF, 12MB) to learn how you can improve stormwater quality by installing raingardens, tree pits, permeable pavements and structural soils.

For tips on how to build a raingarden visit the Melbourne Water website, email our Environment team or call 8290 1333.

Backyard Biodiversity

Help provide habitat for our local plants and animals by creating a wildlife haven on your balcony or in your backyard. By providing birds and animals with food, nesting, shelter and water, they’ll be drawn to your garden and add a whole range of benefits to both your garden and the wider community.  

How to make your garden bird-friendly 

  1. Create a multi-layered habitat of ground covers and small and medium shrubs
  2. Plant their favourite foods, such as nectar from native flowers and native grass seeds
  3. Put in a bird-bath or pond, and
  4. Create dense habitat using prickly shrubs such as Acacia paradoxa(PDF, 236KB)

Visit the Birds in Backyards website for more tips on designing a garden for birds.

Tips to creating a sustainable garden

  • plant indigenous plants (local to Melbourne)
  • don't leave pet food outside for foxes or Indian Myna birds
  • install a nesting box for a feathery friend
  • keep cats inside and only let dogs off leash in specified areas
  • pull out weeds
  • use natural alternatives to synthetic chemicals, like worm castings or compost.  

Visit the Sustainable Gardening Australia website for tips on sustainable garden design.

Living with possums

Stonnington is home to two varieties of possum - the Common Brushtail Possum and the Common Ringtail Possum.

While living with possums isn’t always easy, it is possible to live in harmony in our shared urban spaces.

Please note: Possums are protected by law, and you have a legal obligation to deal with possums humanely. Possums can be trapped in order to remove them from a roof, but must be released on the same property within 50 metres of the capture site.

One of a possum's biggest challenges is finding shelter and nesting sites, and the Brushtail possum will often be found seeking shelter in our roof spaces and wall cavities. Ringtail possums will rarely enter a roof, instead preferring to build a shelter in dense foliage metres off the ground.

If possums are a nuisance at your house visit the DELWP website or Sustainable Gardening Australia website for tips on managing possums.

Injured possums

If you find an injured possum please call Wildlife Victoria on toll free 1300 094 535.

You can also email the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or call them on 136 186.

Sustainable Gardening

With a little planning, it’s easy to create a beautiful garden that suits our climate, attracts local wildlife, enhances biodiversity and provides health and wellbeing benefits to you and your family.

Read Sustainable Gardening in Stonnington(PDF, 8MB) for tips on how to create your own sustainable garden and for lots of sustainable garden design inspiration visit the Sustainable Gardening Australia website.

Green roofs, walls and facades

Visit the Growing Green Guide website to learn how to create and maintain quality green roofs, walls and facades.

Growing food

Growing your own food at home is a fantastic way to increase your physical activity, improve your mental wellbeing, your diet and nutrition, and build a greater connection with the local community through a common activity and purpose.

Read Stonnington Home Harvest(PDF, 6MB) for advice on planning, planting and maintaining your own home food garden.

If you would like to grow your own food but don't have the space, the Armadale Baptist Church Community Garden on Kooyong Road, Armadale could be the answer. Follow them on Facebook or contact the committee at abccommunitygarden@gmail.com.

Keeping poultry

To keep chickens, quails or other poultry in Stonnington you much first obtain a Poultry Permit.

Before considering chickens for your backyard we recommend you read the Victorian Government's Department of Health and Human Services Keeping backyard chickens - What you need to know(PDF, 191KB) and our fact sheet Keeping poultry(DOC, 38KB) 

The permit is free and is needed to ensure poultry are kept in a safe and humane manner, and neighbours are aware and approve of the situation. Before a permit is issued an inspection of your property and the poultry coop must be completed.

Apply online

For more information call our Animal Management team on 8290 1333.

Keeping bees

Residents are allowed to keep two recreational beehives. To keep more than two hives you must register as an beekeeper with Agriculture Victoria.

For hobby beekeeping information including tips on getting started, tools and protective equipment visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

For more advice and support, join a local beekeeping group such as the Victorian Apiarists' Association or The Beekeepers Club.

Recycling food waste

Food waste makes up over a third of the average garbage bin in Stonnington. When this rots in landfill it produces methane – a powerful greenhouse gas and big contributor to climate change.

Food waste recycling keeps your food scraps out of landfill by using the material to produce compost, helping our farmers grow healthy crops.

To find out what happens to your food and green waste after it's picked up, visit the Back to Earth Initiative.

Worm farms and composting

Worm farming and composting is a great way to minimise food waste by turning your food scraps into nutrient rich plant food for your garden.

We offer residents 40 per cent off the cost of worm farms, bokashi bins and compost bins (including delivery).

Visit the Compost Revolution website to purchase a discounted worm farm, bokashi bin or compost bin. 

Apartment composting

If you live in an apartment and want to reduce waste going to landfill, join our Apartment Composting Program which supports owners’ corporations to set up communal worm farms or compost bins at apartment buildings.

The program is also a great way to get to know your neighbours and improve local gardens and the broader environment. 

How we can help you get started

To get you on the road to composting success, we provide:

  • 40 per cent off the cost of Hungry Bin worm farms and Green Cone solar composters (discounts available for up to three composting systems per apartment building)
  • Free resident workshop delivered online or at the apartments
  • Free kitchen caddies
  • Information and support materials to help your worm farm or compost bin succeed.

We discount the cost by 40 per cent, for up to three composting systems per apartment building (including worms for the Hungry Bin worm farms), and recommend at least one composting system for every 10 apartments.

The owners' corporation is responsible for paying the balance of the composting system, plus the cost of installing the system and any signage.  Signage will be provided by us.

To check the price of the different systems visit the Compost Revolution website.

Choose a system that's right for your apartment building

The first thing you need to do is decide on a composting system and find somewhere within the complex to install the system.

Hungry Bin worm farm

About the Hungry Bin worm farm: 

  • Self contained system that must be installed on a stable surface, in the shade.

  • Approximately the size of a large wheelie bin.

  • Infrequent emptying is required - by removing castings at the bottom of the worm farm.

  • Produces liquid ‘worm tea’ which can be diluted and used as a plant fertiliser.

  • Processes up to 2kg of food scraps per day.

  • Can be fed with a range of food scraps - but no citrus, onions or bread.

Green Cone solar composter

About the Green Cone solar composter:

  • Cone shaped system standing 110cm above ground with a base diameter of 38cm.

  • Needs to be partially buried in a sunny patch of soil or grass (up to a depth of 42cm).

  • Needs to be professionally installed. Please follow manufacturer’s instructions and contact Dial before you dig first.

  • Low maintenance - no need to turn or empty.

  • Takes a large range of food scraps - including citrus, onions and bread.

 

How to apply

  1. Contact your owners’ corporation and tell them you would like to join the Apartment Composting Program, and that you will be the champion resident.
  2. Find neighbours willing to participate in the program, noting that to join the program at least 30 per cent of apartment residents (a minimum of three) must indicate a willingness to participate.
  3. Use our template letter to engage with your neighbours and collect their signatures. Download Apartment Composting letter template(DOC, 32KB) .
  4. Ask the owners’ corporation to complete a the online Apartment Composting Program application.

After you apply

After we receive the application from the owners' corporation:

  1. The owners’ corporation will receive an email from our partner, Compost Revolution, with a link to order the composting units.
  2. When the owners’ corporation orders and pays for the bins (at the discounted price), the units will be delivered to your property.
  3. It is the owners' corporation's responsibility to arrange installation.
  4. Once the units have been installed the owners' corporation needs to send us a photo of their location.
  5. A Council officer will then contact the resident champion to arrange a visit and deliver an information pack, including instructions on how to manage the new composting system.
  6. Finally, our contractor will contact the resident champion to organise a resident training workshop. All residents who complete the training are eligible for a free kitchen caddy.

Useful information

View the Apartment Composting Program Fact Sheet(PDF, 142KB)  

For more information please email our Environment team or call 82980 1333.