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Sustainable Townsville is an innovative public-private partnership designed to engage, connect, support and promote local businesses, organisations, projects and initiatives focused on sustainability.

As a not-for-profit organisation, Sustainable Townsville is supported by local businesses, Townsville City Council and a network of volunteers. The organisation provides a vehicle for industry collaboration and is an important voice for the emerging local sustainability sector.

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We're part of Australia’s commitment to deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

With an unprecedented focus on low-emissions technology, sustainability and support of a circular economy, Sustainable Townsville is playing an important role in connecting and supporting the local sustainability sector.

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Sustainable Townsville promote and encouraging our business community and residents to become more sustainable is the way they operate…

Townsville City Council

Cooler home, less cost. Just add white.

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The Candia Bruce Sustainability Scholarship

Townsville City Council

Cooler home, less cost. Just add white.

You would not turn on your heater if you feel hot. So why would you install a ‘heat trap’ for your home when you live in tropical Townsville?

A dark roof loves excessive heat. It cooks your house and transforms it into a huge furnace. More and more people are transforming Townsville by painting their house roofs with white reflective paint – whether on their new house or as a retrofit to their existing home. You and your friends can become a part of the exciting and innovative White Roofs Townsville Community!

But guess what, cooling your house and yourself is only the start of the story. There are benefits beyond your imagination… These benefits will unveil as you dive into the other sections of this website…


That’s Pretty Cool.

The more energy (heat) you block from entering your house, the less energy (electricity) you will use! A white roof can cool your house. But how you feel and perceive the changes matter the most and your perception can affect how much energy you use.

This links to an amazing discovery in a Townsville community pilot project in 2011. After their roofs were painted white, residents in the pilot program felt their homes were cooler and more comfortable even with less air conditioning.

The energy bill shrunk notably leaving them to wonder how that happened! One home in Townsville reduced its average electricity demand by 57%, with an average across the participating homes of just over 30%.

Some of the residents reflected on white roofs and said: ‘we don’t use air-conditioning as much as we don’t need it as much and it impacts our electricity bill’; and ‘Already told several work colleagues – main interest is from the lower power bill’.

Townsvillians have uncovered a local living style unique to the tropics!

Getting free cooling from your roof, rather than paying for costly air conditioning makes good sense. With its high incidence of solar radiation and high year-round temperatures Townsville is the ideal location for white roofs.


Cool Facts.

The benefits of cool roofs are becoming well known around the world and the results of a Townsville City Council survey in 2011 that involved 1200 residents finding that:

90% anticipated cooler inside temperatures

86% anticipated reduced electricity cost

75% anticipated increase in home energy rating

57% anticipated an improvedlifespan of roof materials

49% anticipated increased property value

A white roof will protect your home against excessive heat, compared to a dark or a bare metal roof, especially on days that are over 24°C.

On the same day in Townsville a home with a black roof can heat up to as much as 60°C, and the home next to it with a white roof will only be slightly hotter than surrounding air, which is often as much as 30°C less.

The Pilot Program.

In 2011 the Townsville City Council conducted a pilot program with painters and residents in Townsville to test the change in temperature in homes before and after having a white roof, with the findings analysed by The Natural Edge Project (TNEP). We discovered that Townsville homes with white roofs could have:

Up to 17°C cooler roof cavities

Up to 2.5°C cooler internal temperatures

As much as 30% lower energy bills


More Than Cool

A white roof will reduce the amount of heat blasting into your house by reflecting sunlight from the roof, and by quickly releasing any heat that might be absorbed.

White paint can reflect as much as 80 – 98% of the sun’s heat away compared to red or green paint which reflects around 45%, galvanised steel that reflects around 35%, or dark paint which only reflects 5 – 10%.

In technical terms these two processes are called the ‘Solar Reflectance’ (also known as the ‘Albedo Effect’) and the ‘Thermal Emittance’. Both of these characteristics are important so look for the white paint with the highest solar reflectance and thermal emittance percentages (sometimes shown on a scale of 0 – 1).

Countries around the world are now requiring a minimum solar reflectance of between 65 and 78%, and a minimum thermal emittance of between 70 and 85%.


What happens when sunlight hits your roof?

It is important to note that ‘Solar reflectance’ is different to ‘Visible reflectance’. Solar energy is comprised of visible light (around 43%), as well as near-infrared (around 52%), and ultraviolet light (around 4%).

High ‘solar reflectance’ implies that all three types of solar energy are reflected. Hence a paint product can have high ‘visible reflectance’ without necessarily having high ‘solar reflectance’.

Talk to your local licensed painter about a White Roof coating to find out what is suitable for your home. They will be able to tell you about the solar reflectance and thermal emittance characteristics of the product.


Real Stories.

Hear what our local community has to say about living with a white roof!

Mark's House (West End)

I had my roof painted with reflective paint because I was looking for a way to cool our house down without relying on air conditioning. We live in an old Queenslander in West End which is hard to air condition as it “leaks” cool air. I also knew that operating air conditioners was going to get much more expensive over time.

I did a lot of research on bulk insulation, foil insulation and the reflective paint options. I discounted most insulation products and companies very quickly as they did not seem to understand the requirements in tropical environments where it is all about keeping heat out of your house.

The effect of the paint was dramatic. We used to feel the heat being radiated down from the ceiling which was warm to touch. Now, the inside temperature of the house is quite acceptable and we have reduced our air conditioner use to night time only during exceptionally hot periods. Coupling the white roof with a PV solar system and energy efficient behaviour we have reduced our electricity bills to less than half what they were five years ago despite the huge price increases sine then.

I would thoroughly recommend reflective paint for houses in the tropics. As with anything do your research, use a local company who you can go back to if anything goes wrong, and find some references if possible.”


Feeling Thirsty For More Technical Information?

More technical details can be found in the full report of our 2011 community pilot program.

Flip through the report, and you can let us know what you think – nothing is silly when it comes to sharing your thoughts and experiences


Working On It

The Candia Bruce Sustainability Scholarship

Inspired by an explorer, animal lover, learner, partner, transformer and true giver, the Candia Bruce Sustainability Scholarship is the legacy of the amazing Candia Bruce. Candia was a foundation supporter and philanthropist to many causes including Sustainable Townsville. The scholarship was established by Candia’s husband, Greg Bruce, to honour her legacy.

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We support and promote our local community.

Leaders in Sustainability

Townsville is in a unique position to take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge in the push towards net zero emissions by 2050 and the increasing commitment from community, Government and businesses to emissions reduction.

IBM

Smarter Cities

Electric Vehicles

EV North

quality soil

Atlas Soils

ecosystem balance

VRM Biologik

revolutionising infrastructure

LIXiA

IBM

Smarter Cities

Electric Vehicles

EV North

Converting Vehicles since 2017, EV North is your Custom Electric Vehicle restoration and conversion expert in Far North Queensland.

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quality soil

Atlas Soils

Using Townsville’s very own organic waste as raw material, Atlas Soils is increasing the city’s resource efficiency while creating a quality soil for the region.

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ecosystem balance

VRM Biologik

Since 1987, VRM Biologik® has developed and implemented technological advances globally that catalyze reactions in nature, aiding in soil restoration, resolving environmental emergencies and cleaning through attaining and sustaining ecosystem balance.

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revolutionising infrastructure

LIXiA

LiXiA is revolutionising infrastructure by developing low-cost, low-energy, wireless-based sensors for installation on critical infrastructure like structures, utilities and light poles.

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People We Support

Community & Business Membership

When you become a member of Sustainable Townsville, you will be part of a network that believes that working collaboratively makes a difference to the way we see and use our natural resources.

Individual Membership $20

When you join as an individual member, you will receive invitations to events and information on sustainable activities happening in Townsville and become a part of the fabric of Townsville’s sustainability network. 

 

Corporate Membership $100

As a corporate or community group, this membership will allow you to become a part of a sustainability network, offer platforms to engage with other like-minded business and organisation and support the local sustainability movement. 

Volunteering

How you can take part in improving Townsvilles future.

There are many opportunities for you to volunteer for Sustainable Townsville as a brand ambassador. From supporting Sustainable Townsville events to assisting in our communication platforms and spreading the message – Sustainable Townsville is an open and inclusion platform.


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