Barangaroo aims to be sustainable today and for future generations. Its commitment is to be carbon neutral and water positive, to create zero waste and contribute to community wellbeing.


Barangaroo is one of the most exciting urban renewal projects in the world today. When completed, it will also be the first precinct globally to be climate positive. Every decision made by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government, has sustainability top of mind. The Authority and its development partners work with sustainability leaders from around the world to help Barangaroo reach its goals.

Climate positive has three key requirements:

  • Reducing and then offsetting all the energy used on the site.
  • Recycling and exporting more water than the drinking water that is imported.
  • Re-using, reducing and recycling more waste than is generated.

As Australia’s first large-scale carbon neutral precinct, Barangaroo includes centralised infrastructure such as Sydney Harbour water cooling, embedded electricity networks, recycled water treatment plants and on-site renewable energy generation.

In 2009, before construction of the precinct had begun, the NSW Government committed Barangaroo to the Climate Positive Development Program. Established under the Clinton Climate Initiative, the program later became part of C40 Cities, a network of mega-cities working to address climate changes. Barangaroo is one of only 19 projects around the world chosen to be part of the C40 Cities network.

What makes sustainability at Barangaroo special?

Development agreements ensure the entire precinct remains in public ownership, with the buildings and infrastructure on 99-year leaseholds.

An Estate Levy in every lease ensures long-term sustainability with cascading obligations in place from the NSW Government through to development partners, building owners, tenants and sub-tenants.

To make a carbon neutral precinct economically viable requires large-scale centralised infrastructure. The Authority has partnered with developers to establish Sydney Harbour water cooling, embedded electricity networks, recycled water treatment plants and on-site renewable energy generation.

External agencies, contractors and organisations at Barangaroo are required to manage their activities with a view to achieving these sustainability goals.  Typically, this will include:

  • Reducing waste going into landfill by 97%, by sorting and separating waste and recycling or reusing as appropriate during the construction phase;
  • Requiring tenants to have their air-conditioning just 2 degrees warmer in summer and 2 degrees cooler in winter to save energy;
  • Planting 100% native plants in Barangaroo Reserve;
  • Using recycled water for flushing toilets through to irrigation and fire sprinklers;
  • Ensuring retailers and suppliers avoid packaging, reduce waste and offer healthy food choices from locally and sustainably produced food;
  • Providing and promoting access to and facilities for walking, cycling and passive and active recreation through design for active living and healthy lifestyles.

100% native plants

More than 75,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted at Barangaroo Reserve

Carbon neutral

International Towers Sydney, the three commercial towers at Barangaroo, are designed to achieve world’s best-practice efficiency for office towers. The buildings operate at the highest efficiency ratings available for office spaces.

The towers are oriented to reduce heat gain on the western façade and they include vertical shading panels aligned to the sun’s path. The panels provide shading and reduce cooling needs.

Cost effective and energy efficient air conditioning is delivered through chilled beam technology which also uses Sydney Harbour water for heat rejection. The southern precinct features a District Cooling Plant for air conditioning of the buildings, using water drawn from Sydney Harbour.  This saves on energy consumption and water use by operating one centralised cooling system rather than separate systems for each building.

The system also avoids the use of drinking water drawn from Sydney's dams for evaporative cooling. The sea water passes through a series of screens, filters and strainers to protect and filter out marine life. The clean Harbour water is then pumped through electric chillers.

The towers include vertical shading panels aligned to the sun’s path.

The panels provide shading and reduce cooling needs.

Water positive

Barangaroo is a ‘water wise’ precinct. When completed, the whole precinct will be capable of exporting more recycled water than it uses.

The use of water efficient appliances, using captured rainwater and treated water for toilet flushing, irrigation, wash down and fire suppression are major features of the entire Barangaroo development.

In the southern commercial and retail district there is a 90,000-litre rainwater tank in each of the three commercial towers to store captured water.  The wastewater recycling system is capable of processing one million litres of wastewater each day.

Beneath Barangaroo Reserve is the Cutaway cultural space and two levels of car park. And beneath all of this is a leading-edge integrated water re-use system. It provides for the capture, treatment, storage and reuse of seepage and storm water for the irrigation of the Reserve.

The two tanks beneath the re-created headland - an enormous 1,200m3 rainwater tank and 180m3 seepage tank - are up to 17 metres below sea level.

Zero waste

Barangaroo is working towards a net zero-waste outcome for the precinct.  By using an innovative waste minimisation, collection and recycling process, more than 80% of operational waste is diverted from landfill.

Community well-being

Barangaroo is a 'city within a city'. It is a place for people to work, live, socialise or connect with Sydney’s Aboriginal and maritime history as well as contemporary Aboriginal culture.

It is opening in stages and by mid-2017 there were already 16,000 people working in Barangaroo’s office towers. When the entire project is complete, Barangaroo will accommodate 23,000 office workers and some 3,000 residents as well as shoppers, diners and visitors. 

More than 50% of Barangaroo will be dedicated public space - and this does not include its roads, laneways and footpaths.

A key feature of Barangaroo is its connectedness to the rest of Sydney’s central business district via the new Barangaroo Wharf, Wynyard Walk tunnel and two new pedestrian bridges over Hickson Road.

Barangaroo will also feature on the new Chatswood to Bankstown Metro line, with the station at Nawi Cove expected to open in 2024.

It is anticipated that most people coming to Barangaroo will use public transport, walk or cycle.

Download Sustainability in Practice Fact Sheet