Latest News

  • 28 July 2014

    Australian Government Announces $3.7 million to help build a disaster resilient Australia

    The Australian Government has announced $3.7 million in grants for disaster resilience under the National Emergency Management Projects (NEMP) Program.

    Successful projects in 2014-15 include:

    • $230,000 to improve land-use and built-environment professionals’ awareness and understanding of disaster risks, through the development of an education program;
    • $256,300 to help make flood study reports and data publically available through the National Flood Risk Information Project’s Portal;

    Government Media release

    National Emergency Management Projects

  • 25 July 2014

    Green Bonds report highlights opportunities for buildings

    Bonds and Climate Change, The State of the Market in 2014, a new report released by the Climate Bonds Initiative and HSBC, shows that the market for green property bonds is growing fast, with opportunities for property developers, energy efficient buildings and appliances.

    Read the full report HERE.

  • 24 July 2014

    2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge – applications open

    The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants.

    In 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation selected 100 cities – including Melbourne – to receive technical support and resources to improve their urban resilience over three years.

    Applications close on 10 September.

    Apply HERE.

  • 23 July 2014

    Economists recommend role of governments in climate change adaptation

    An article by economic researchers, the CESifo Group, outlines the role of governments in climate change adaptation.

    The article states that the role of the state in adaptation policy is limited where decision-makers (either private sector or at a municipal level) both bear the cost and enjoy the benefits of their own decisions.

    The article outlines three recommended areas in which government should be involved:

    • Improving knowledge and financing research.
    • Provide a regulatory framework for insurance markets.
    • Fostering economic growth and education, as a powerful self-insurance device against the uncertain future challenges of climate change.

    Read the full article.

  • 22 July 2014

    City energy: A new powerhouse for Britain

    The UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research has released a report exploring options and the potential for cities to engage in the energy supply market and raise finance for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure – particularly in local energy generation.

    Read more here.

  • 21 July 2014

    Grattan Institute: cities as engines of prosperity

    The Grattan Institute has released a report entitled Mapping Australia’s economy: cities as engines of prosperity, which shows that eighty per cent of the dollar value of all goods and services in Australia is produced on just 0.2 per cent of the nation’s land mass, nearly all of it in cities.

    The report highlights the following findings:

    • The combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne generate nearly 10 per cent of the value of goods and services produced in all of Australia, three times that produced by the agricultural sector.
    • The nation has moved from prosperity coming from regional jobs in primary industry a century ago, to suburban jobs in manufacturing after World War Two, to city centre jobs in knowledge-intensive businesses today.
    • While city centres are vital to Australia’s prosperity, the concentration of highly productive activity in them presents big challenges for policymakers, because too many workers live too far from these centres to fulfil our cities’ economic potential.
    • CBDs contribute so strongly to economic activity both because jobs are concentrated there and because CBD businesses are more productive on average than others.

    Read the report

  • 20 July 2014

    Committee for Sydney report calls for “New Deal” for Sydney infrastructure

    In 2013, the Committee for Sydney published its first Issues Paper on Sydney’s productivity: Adding to the Dividend, Ending the Divide.

    An update to this paper was released last week: Sydney adding to the dividend, ending the divide 2014 Update, incorporating the latest Federal and State budget announcements.

    Key findings of this paper include:

    • Sydney’s importance to national economic performance and significant tax contribution to the Federal treasury; and the gap in what the city receives in return.
    • The need ‘new deal’ for Sydney to ensure it has the infrastructure investment it needs and the funding mechanism to support this. (Echoing the policy of the Urban Coalition!)
    • Support from all tiers of government for public transport.
    • A policy and investment focus on Western Sydney over the long term to enable it to play its full role in the Sydney of the future.
    • Alignment between Federal and State Governments on key policies, projects and structures required to maximise the Sydney’s productivity and GDP; and a Metropolitan scale governance to manage challenges and opportunities.  (Welcoming the proposed Greater Sydney Commission)
  • 17 July 2014

    Australia’s Carbon Tax Repealed

    Today the Australian Parliament passed legislation to repeal the carbon tax.

    The Senate voted 39-32 to pass 8 bills repealing the Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM). The repeal
    bills passed the House of Representatives on 14 July 2014.

    More details here: http://www.bartondeakin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Barton-Deakin-Brief-Carbon-Tax-Repeal1.pdf

  • 17 July 2014

    White House announces world-class infrastructure to prepare for climate change impacts

    President Obama has announced comprehensive plan to invest in America’s infrastructure, aimed at improving resilience to the effects of climate change and boosting national productivity.

    Noting that that communities across America need more resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change - like more extreme weather and increased flooding, the President established a State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last November.

    The Task Force, made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country, advises the President on how the federal government can best help American communities dealing with the effects of climate change.

    The Task Force came to the White House for their fourth and final meeting yesterday, and will give the President final recommendations later this year.

    Read the full statement from the White House:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/07/16/preparing-communities-impacts-climate-change

  • 15 July 2014

    Congratulations to winners of 2014 Urban Design Awards

    Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Australian Urban Design Awards and Commendations

    The Australia Award for Urban Design (AAUD) is Australia’s premier award for excellence in urban design and is hosted each year by PIA and supported by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Australian Institute of Architects, Consult Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Property Council of Australia and the Urban Design Forum.

    This year the Award patron was former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull AO. The Award was supported by Gold Sponsor Think Brick.

    Full list of winners

    DELIVERED OUTCOME – Large scale (two awards given)
    Award: NewActon Precinct, Molongo Group/ Fender Katsalidis/ Oculus (ACT)
    Award: Prince Alfred Park and Pool, Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design, City of Sydney (NSW)

    DELIVERED OUTCOME – Small scale
    Award: Fremantle Esplanade Youth Plaza, Convic, City of Fremantle (WA)

    POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Large Scale (no award winner)
    Commendation: Pilbara Vernacular Handbook, CODA Studio, Landcorp (WA)
    Commendation: Darwin City Centre Master Plan, City of Darwin, Northern Territory Government, Design Urban Pty Ltd (NT)

    POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Small scale
    Award: The Goods Line, ASPECT Studios with CHROFI for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (NSW)
    Commendation: Thinking outside ‘the box’: Key design elements for apartments in Ku-ring-gai, Ku-ring-gai Council Strategy and Environment Department (NSW)
    Commendation: King’s Square Urban Design Strategy, CODA Studio, City of Fremantle, Creating Communities Australia (WA)

    SUSTAINED CONTRIBUTION TO URBAN DESIGN (new award)
    Award: Urban Voices – celebrating urban design in Australia, Bruce Echberg, Bill Chandler, John Byrne

    For more information, go to: http://www.planning.org.au/awards/2014-winners-commendations

  • 14 July 2014

    Concerns raised about Victorian Government’s energy-efficiency modelling

    A new report commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association raises concerns about Victorian Government modelling on the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).

    The VEET was introduced in 2009 to help homes and businesses save energy by making it cheaper to install energy-efficient lights, showerheads and appliances. After the 2010 election, the Victorian Coalition didn’t just keep the program – they decided it was so effective that they doubled its size.

    However, in May 2014 the Napthine Government released a ‘Business Impact Assessment’, which suggested that the benefits from the VEET were limited and recommended closing the scheme in 2015. This finding is in contrast to all other recent assessments of the VEET and similar schemes, which found that they deliver significant economic benefits.

    The Energy Efficiency Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association commissioned Jacobs, a respected energy modeller, to find out why the Government’s Business Impact Assessment came to a different conclusion to these other conservative studies. Jacobs found that the Government’s assessment:

    • Potentially underestimated savings from avoided electricity generation costs;
    • Excluded operating and maintenance cost savings from energy efficiency appliances;
    • Assumed that energy savings would last for only a fraction of their full life; and
    • Ignored the substantial financial benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Despite the apparent bias in the Government’s assessment, it still found that:

    • Households would benefit if VEET was continued with a modest target. Participants would benefit from major reductions in their energy bills, and non-participants would effectively face no extra costs (50 cents per annum).
    • The scheme has delivered disproportionately greater benefits to low-income suburbs.
    • VEET supports over 2,000 jobs in Victoria, which will be lost if the scheme is closed.

    Jacobs’ analysis also established that, if the Government changed some basic assumptions in its Business Impact Assessment, the benefits of the scheme would be much higher.

    Media release from Energy Efficiency Council, Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators association and Brotherhood of St Laurence

    Review of VEET Studies Final Report

  • 9 July 2014

    Nominations now open for FM Industry Awards for Excellence

    Do you have a colleague who has excelled? Have you been working on an innovative project? Or has your organisation undertaken a ground-breaking activity that deserves nationwide recognition? If so then you should nominate for a 2014 FM Industry Award for Excellence.

    The Awards honour the hard work and dedication of the individuals, teams and companies whose leading and innovative practices are meeting today’s facilities management challenges while inspiring the industry leaders of tomorrow.

    This year there are new categories, including one that specifically recognises government, and revised criteria to make it simpler to enter.

    Award Categories include:

    • Facilities Manager of the Year
    • Young Achiever of the Year
    • Collaborative Partnerships
    • Provider of FM Services Outsourced
    • Provider of FM Services In-house
    • Government Facilities Management Services
    • People and Productivity
    • Sustainability & Environmental Impact
    • Occupant Safety and Wellbeing
    • Energy Efficiency

    Nominations close 15 August 2014. For more information visit – http://www.fma.com.au/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3733&Itemid=242

    SAVE THE DATE: 20 November 2014, Grand Hyatt Melbourne

    Early Bird registrations will open on 28 July 2014, if you would like to register your interest now, please email awards@fma.com.au

  • 30 June 2014

    USA EPA releases new policy statement on adaptation

    The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has released an updated policy statement on climate change adaptation, outlining actions consistent with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:

    1. Modernize EPA financial assistance programs to encourage climate-resilient investments
    2. Provide information, tools, training and technical support for climate-change preparedness and resilience
    3. Implement priority actions identified in the EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the Implementation Plans
    4. Focus on the most vulnerable people and places
    5. Measure and evaluate performance
    6. Continue agency planning for climate change related risk
    7. Coordinate with other federal agencies

    Read the full policy statement: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/impacts-adaptation/adaptation-statement-2014.pdf

  • 24 June 2014

    Nominations are now open for the 2014 NSW Green Globe Awards

    The Green Globe Awards are the leading environment awards in NSW showcasing environmental innovation, leadership and performance.

    This year, three new award categories have been announced:

    • Built Environment Sustainability Award – Infrastructure
    • Natural Environment Sustainability Award
    • Young Sustainability Champion Award

    In 2014 there are 16 award categories which are open for nomination to NSW small and large businesses, state and local government, individuals, community groups and not-for-profit organisations who can demonstrate significant environmental achievements in NSW.

    As a nominee, the 15th annual Green Globe Awards will help you to:

    • gain public recognition at the highest level in NSW
    • showcase the innovative work, expertise and vision of your organisation or project
    • network with industry, government and environmental leaders
    • learn about other projects and initiatives and share ideas with key stakeholders
    • motivate your staff and suppliers by recognising their efforts in sustainability and environmental management
    • build on your corporate reputation and community engagement strategies through your public commitment to the environment.

    An independent judging panel will decide the best nominees in the state by announcing the 2014 Green Globe Award finalists in September.

    An invitation-only award ceremony, hosted by The Hon Robert Stokes, Minister for the Environment, will announce and celebrate the 2014 Green Globe Award winners.

    For all details on nominations and the Green Globe Awards please go to: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/greenglobes/

    Key Dates

    Entries close 5pm Monday 21 July 2014

    Award finalists announced in September 2014

    Awards ceremony late October 2014

  • 24 June 2014

    Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme: Certified professionals now in the market

    The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has achieved an important milestone in certifying professionals out in the market.
    The next step is making sure building owners and managers know how to access certified professionals that can lead their building retrofit. As part of this effort, EEC had launched Phase 2 of the EECS website. The website now includes:

    • A searchable directory of certified professionals;
    • Additional information for building owners and managers, and;
    • A new resources section for certified professionals.

    Over coming months the EEC will be rolling out new features, including a section showcasing case studies of comprehensive commercial building retrofits led by certified professionals.

    Visit the new website at www.efficiencycertification.org.au

  • 20 June 2014

    NABERS Indoor Environment public consultation

    The NABERS National Administrator has been working with an Indoor Environment Technical Working Group to identify potential enhancements to the NABERS Indoor Environment tool. The result of this collaboration is a number of proposals that are intended to make the tool easier to understand, more meaningful and valuable to customers, and align the tool with the latest international IEQ standards.
    The full consultation paper is now available on the NABERS website.

    The NABERS National Administrator is seeking feedback on these proposed enhancements to NABERS IE, as well as additional ideas that will improve the existing tool.

    Feedback can be sent to the NABERS inbox: nabers@environment.nsw.gov.au. The consultation will be open until 18 August 2014.

  • 13 June 2014

    Key Findings from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Implications for Buildings

    A new briefing distils the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) for the building sector. The briefing concludes that:

    • In 2010, the world’s buildings accounted for 32% of global final energy use and 19% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under business-as-usual projections, use of energy in buildings globally could double or even triple by 2050.
    • Widespread implementation of best practices and technologies could see energy use in buildings stabilise or even fall by 2050. Many mitigation options promise multiple co-benefits.
    • Know-how exists on retrofitting and how to build very low- and zero-energy buildings, often at little marginal investment cost; and there is a broad portfolio of effective policy instruments available to remove barriers to uptake.
    • Buildings face major risks of damage from the projected impacts of climate change, having already experienced a big increase in extreme weather damage in recent decades.

    AR5 represents the most comprehensive overview of climate science to date and is the fact base that will utilised by governments and businesses to formulate climate policy in the coming years.

    For more information and to download the report, please visit the CISL webpage.

  • 3 June 2014

    Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star Library

    The doors have opened on Australia’s most sustainable library, as Melbourne’s Library at The Dock is awarded the nation’s first 6 Star Green Star rating for a public building.
    Located on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour, Library at The Dock has been granted Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star – Design PILOT rating, an achievement that represents ‘world leadership’ in sustainable design.

    The GBCA congratulated the City of Melbourne, Places Victoria and Lend Lease for a collaboration which has delivered an outstanding public asset.

    The building’s passive design promotes natural ventilation, daylight and fresh indoor air quality, resulting in reduced energy consumption and a healthier, more productive indoor environment.

    Read more – First 6 Star Green Star library is one of Australia’s best places for people

  • 1 June 2014

    Standards Australia Thermal Imaging Forum

    Standards Australia held a thermal imaging forum in May, which brought together experts from a range of different sectors to discuss the needs and challenges of the thermal imaging industry.
    Participants discussed opportunities to develop thermal imaging standards in the areas of; Electrical, Building, Mechanical, and Pest Inspections.

    International standards alignment was agreed as a priority, and the group identified a set of champions from each sector to lead the development of an appropriate work program. For further information about the thermal imaging group and to find out how to become involved, contact the National Sector Management team.

  • 31 May 2014

    A new chapter for Docklands – Library at the Dock

    A new environmental standard will be set for Melbourne when the new community hub, Library at The Dock, opens its doors this month. The Library will be a community hub enabling people to come together to create, explore, connect, belong, learn and participate. The Library at The Dock is a tri-partnership between the City of Melbourne, Lend Lease and Places Victoria.
    In addition to the traditional library collection, there will be a recording studio, creative editing suites, community spaces and a performance venue to hold up to 120 people. A gallery and exhibition space will celebrate Docklands’ rich heritage.

    Located at the in intersection of Bourke and Collins streets in Docklands, the new building is a vision for environmental excellence, with many resource-efficient features such as its special, cross-laminated timber construction.

    Read more – The Library at The Dock

  • 30 May 2014

    State and Federal Ministers agree to make the 2015 NCC freely available online

    Federal and state ministers have agreed to significant building regulation reforms to the National Construction Code (NCC). These reforms aim to ensure the NCC is robust, without strangling the sector with red tape. The forum agreed in principle to make the 2015 National Construction Code (NCC) and future editions freely available and online, with details to be finalised in the coming months.
    The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) welcomed the State and Federal building ministers’ agreement. AIB General Manager Robert Hunt stated:

     “Removing the $400 cost to purchase the National Construction Code will result in better quality, safer and more affordable construction, and will help to build Australia’s productivity”.

    New proposals for changes should be submitted as a Proposal for Change for consideration as part of future NCC editions.

    Comments on the NCC public comment drafts must be submitted on the Public Comment Template (below) in Microsoft Word format using the Public Comment Upload Form.

    Read – Professional Builders Give Thumbs Up to Free NCC

    Read – Building ministers’ forum agrees to National Construction Code reforms

  • 30 May 2014

    NSW Government announces improvements to the Energy Savings Scheme

    The NSW Government announced improvements to the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS), a market-based mechanism delivered by industry that encourages households and businesses to reduce electricity consumption and costs by installing, improving or replacing energy saving equipment.

    Large electrical goods retailers can provide discounts to customers on energy efficient products such as televisions or white goods and then claim credits.
    The improvements to the ESS give communities greater access to rewards for energy efficiency, with:

    • New incentives for households to purchase quality and affordable energy savings upgrades to their home, including high efficiency heating and cooling, lighting, window glazing and draught sealing;
    • Quick and easy incentives for businesses to purchase highly efficient commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment;
    • Better performance standards for commercial lighting products that ensure customers receive high quality and long lasting products and services; and
    • Red tape removal to make it easier for appliance retailers and service providers to access the scheme and to enable service providers to use the same accreditation for multiple customers rather than having to prepare a new application individually.

    The GBCA has welcomed the changes, noting that they will help households and business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and boost productivity.

    Full details are available on the Resources and Energy website: www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/sustainable-energy/efficiency

    Read – NSW enhances energy savings scheme

    Read - Expanded Energy Savings Scheme a winner, says GBCA

  • 30 May 2014

    New NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy & Tool Review & Development Plan

    The National Administrator has released the NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy. The policy sets out the core principles that underpin NABERS consultation. It has been developed to inform stakeholders about the NABERS approach to obtaining stakeholder feedback on analysis, alternatives and decisions and increase understanding of the NABERS consultation process.

    Read – NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy
    The National Administrator has also released the NABERS Tool Review & Development Plan. The plan presents NABERS stakeholders and the public with a snapshot of critical activities and time frames associated with the enhancement of NABERS rating tools.

    Read – NABERS Tool Review & Development Plan

  • 29 May 2014

    Peter Verwer to head up Asia Pacific Real Estate Association

    Congratulations to Peter Verwer on his appointment as head of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.

    Earlier this year Peter stepped down as chief executive of the Property Council. In recognition of his contribution to Australian Building Sustainability Peter was named as a Life Fellow of ASBEC.

    Read – Interview: Peter Verwer – going global after 32 years

  • 22 May 2014

    ABSA responds to WA Energy Minister cuts to consumer protection measures

    The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) has criticised the WA Energy Minister’s decision to abolish the Program Facilitation and Review Branch of the Public Utilities Office (PUO) as of May 2014.
    The PUO was responsible for many energy efficiency initiative that helped to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs on WA householders.

    A critical outstanding issue that now remains unresolved is the accreditation of house energy assessors under the scheme.

    Read – Another backward step – WA Energy Minister Scraps ‘consumer protection measures’

  • 21 May 2014

    Better Buildings Neighbourhood Initiative saves US$730 Million on Energy Bills

    Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative, the Energy Department announced that the Department’s Better Buildings Neighbourhood Program has helped more than 40 state and local governments upgrade more than 100,000 buildings and save families and businesses over US$730 million on utility bills.
    Supported by the Recovery Act, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighbourhood Program worked with 41 competitively selected state and local governments and their partners to upgrade the energy efficiency of homes and local buildings and leverage early federal funds to launch sustainable community-based programs.

    Read – Better Buildings Neighborhood Initiative Upgrades 100,000 Buildings, Saves $730 Million on Energy Bills

  • 20 May 2014

    Brookfield Place Perth takes top honours at the 2014 Innovation & Excellence Awards

    Brookfield Place Perth has taken out the top honours at the Property Council’s 2014 Innovation & Excellence Awards.

    5 Murray Rose at Sydney Olympic Park, owned by The GPT Group, was presented with the WSP Award for Best Sustainable Development – New Buildings, for its impressive environmental features, including the largest solar installation in an Australian commercial building of this size.

    Mirvac won the JLL Award for Best Sustainable Development – Existing Buildings for its $60 million refurbishment of 10-20 Bond Street.

    The Awards were presented at a gala dinner in Sydney on Saturday 17 May, and celebrate innovation and leading practice within Australia’s property development and investment industries.

    For a full list of winners please visit www.propertyoz.com.au/awards

  • 17 May 2014

    New ISO Standard to evaluate city’s service delivery and quality of life

    A landmark ISO standard outlining key measurements for evaluating a city’s service delivery and quality of life has just been published. Its use will help city managers, planners, designers and other professionals to focus on key issues, and put in place policies for more liveable, sustainable, resilient, and prosperous cities.

    Currently, 53 % of the world’s population resides in cities, a figure that is expected to rise to 70 % by 2050. Cities are cultural and economic centres which today generate 70 % of the global GDP. Investing in them may be a priority for many governments, but doing so sustainably and effectively can be a challenge.

    The indicators included in ISO 37120:2014 will help cities to assess their performance and measure progress overtime, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life and sustainability.

    The standard launched on 15 May during a global cities summit organized by the Global City Indicators Facility.

    Read – How does your city compare to others? New ISO standard to measure up

  • 14 May 2014

    GBCA disappointed in Government’s decision to scrap the NRAS

    The GBCA has said that the Government’s decision to scrap the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a disappointing step.

    Since it was established, NRAS has delivered 14,000 affordable homes, with a further 24,000 homes in the pipeline across the country.

    Monash University’s Briggs Hall & Jackomos Hall, an NRAS project and the first building to achieve 5 Star Green Star – Multi Unit Residential As Built v1 certification in Australia, consumes 45 per cent less energy than similar sized buildings that don’t meet Green Star benchmarks.

    Read – Is affordable housing elusive in the ‘Age of Opportunity’?

  • 7 May 2014

    Australia’s business group joins forces with global business leaders

    The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has announced that Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) has been appointed as the Australian Global Network partner to drive national business leadership and action for sustainable development.

    At a time of increasing national uncertainty regarding Australia’s policies for sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship, the country’s leading progressive business body will join the WBCSD’s Global Network to collaborate on business solutions to complex sustainability issues.

    Read more – Australia’s business group joins forces with global business leaders

  • 6 May 2014

    US Government calls for urgent climate change action following the release of a four year study

    The White House has called for urgent action to combat climate change following the release of a study on the impact of global warming. The four year survey warned of serious threats to homes and infrastructure and industry in the face of extreme weather events.

    The study, known as the National Climate Assessment, was supervised and approved by a large committee representing a cross section of American society, including representatives of two oil companies. It is the third national report in 14 years, and by far the most urgent in tone.

    Read more – U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods

  • 29 April 2014

    Consult Australia launches The Business of Sustainability website

    The Business of Sustainability website helps to guide professional services businesses of all sizes, towards a more sustainable business.

    The Business of Sustainability website—including the Decision Support Tool, challenges and best practice case studies—exhibits opportunities for professional services firms to become more sustainable, demonstrate the benefits of this for their value and competitiveness, and encourage professional services firms to initiate or advance conversations around sustainability.

    Visit - The Business of Sustainability

  • 29 April 2014

    New head for the Property Council of Australia

    The Property Council’s incoming CEO is Ken Morrison.

    After an extensive search process, the Property Council has appointed Ken Morrison to the role of Chief Executive Officer.  Ken is the Property Council’s former chief operating officer and current Tourism and Transport Forum CEO.  He will commence this new role in the first week of August.

    His unique understanding of the property industry, proven political and policy skills and extensive campaigning experience make him the ideal candidate for the role.

    Big congratulations and welcome to Ken!

    Congratulations also to the Property Council’s outgoing CEO, Peter Verwer, who will be moving on to lead the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.

  • 22 April 2014

    National Energy Market reforms will boost green energy

    The first successful customer led rule change to reform the National Energy Market (NEM) was adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). It will assist cleaner energy (such as larger solar, co/trigeneration, wind) connect to the national electricity grid and takes effect 1 October 2014.

    Led by ClimateWorks Australia, the Property Council of Australia and Seed Advisory, these reforms will make it cheaper and faster to connect co/trigeneration plants and renewable energy to the electricity grid.

    Governments, businesses, industries, local councils and the clean energy sector acknowledge connection barriers have been major obstacles to cleaner energy for well over a decade.

    Read more - Reforms will boost green energy

  • 24 April 2014

    Direct Action white paper released

    The Federal Government has released its Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper, which sets out the final design for its Direct Action Policy.  It has been designed around three principles, namely that the Fund aims to:

    • purchase emissions abatement at the lowest cost;
    • deliver reductions that will reduce Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions; and
    • have a streamlined administration, so that it is easier for businesses to participate in the scheme.
    • The process followed by the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) will be to:
    • credit reductions against pre-established methodologies, guided by the independent Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee;
    • purchase abatement through quarterly auctions run by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), with funding of $2.55 billion, with additional funding considered in future budgets.  The CER will provide a 12-month forward schedule of auctions and publish the weighted average price after each auction; and
    • set emissions baselines based on the highest emissions over the past five years for 130 facilities with direct emissions of over 100,000 tCO2-e per year, as a safeguard to ensure that any abatement achieved is not displaced by significant rises elsewhere in the economy.  This safeguard mechanism will commence on 1 July, 2015.

    Read more – Emissions Reduction Fund

  • 17 April 2014

    National Energy Market has been adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission

    The first successful customer led rule change to reform the National Energy Market (NEM) was adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in April. Led by ClimateWorks, the Property Council of Australia and Seed Advisory, these reforms will make it cheaper and faster to connect co/trigeneration plants and renewable energy to the electricity grid.
    With other rule changes to follow, ClimateWorks is lending their experience and support to industry groups that wish to achieve tangible improvements to the energy market.

    Read the AEMC’s final determination – Connecting embedded generators final determination

    Read ClimateWorks summary of the reforms – Reforms will boost green energy

  • 12 April 2014

    Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Report from the IPCC

    The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.  The report notes that, for buildings, most mitigation options have considerable and diverse co‐benefits in addition to energy cost savings.

    Other key messages for the building sector are:

    • In 2010, the building sector accounted for around 32% final energy use and 8.8 GtCO2 emissions, including direct and indirect emissions, with energy demand projected to approximately double and CO2 emissions to increase by 50–150% by mid-century in baseline scenarios.
    • Recent advances in technologies, know‐how and policies provide opportunities to stabilize or reduce global buildings sector energy use by mid‐century. For new buildings, the adoption of very low energy building codes is important and has progressed substantially since AR4.
    • Retrofits form a key part of the mitigation strategy in countries with established building stocks, and reductions of heating/cooling energy use by 50–90% in individual buildings have been achieved.
    • For developed countries, scenarios indicate that lifestyle and behavioural changes could reduce energy demand by up to 20% in the short term and by up to 50% of present levels by mid‐century.
    • Strong barriers, such as split incentives (e.g., tenants and builders), fragmented markets and inadequate access to information and financing, hinder the market‐based uptake of cost‐effective opportunities. Barriers can be overcome by policy interventions addressing all stages of the building and appliance lifecycles (robust evidence, high agreement).

    To read the full report - Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change

  • 10 April 2014

    PIA’s response to the IPCC report

    Planning and good governance will be vital to managing climate change adaptation responses, the Planning Institute of Australia has said in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released Working Group II report (See “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Report from the IPCC, below).

    While urban and regional planning were essential to managing climate change, so too was enhanced coordination of disaster mitigation and management across government to boost resilience to predicted climate impacts, Planning Institute chief executive Kirsty Kelly said.

    Ms Kelly, who is chair of resilience strategy for ASBEC, said planners and allied groups would approach governments to seek regulatory support, funding for research and the development of tools and benchmarks to help make decisions about the funding and governance of change in urban and rural areas.

    Read more - PIA: planning vital to climate change response

  • 1 April 2014

    GBCA releases scoping paper and is calling for industry feedback

    The Green Building Council of Australia has released a scoping paper for the new Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool and is calling for industry feedback.

    Green Star – Design & As Built, the ‘next generation’ Green Star rating tool, will be able to assess most building uses in Australia with the exception of single-unit dwellings, and will cover single and mixed use buildings at both the design and construction phases.

    The scoping paper outlines the GBCA’s proposed approach to the new rating tool, including an improved certification pathway, online delivery platform and revised weighting system.

    The feedback period is open until 31 July 2014.

    Read more - Green Star Design & As Built Scoping Paper

  • 1 April 2014

    City of Melbourne research finds recent heatwaves impacted the economy

    The extreme heat experienced in Melbourne between 14th and 17th January 2014 is estimated to have cost businesses in the municipality approximately $37 million in lost revenue, according to new City of Melbourne research. These findings are part of research commissioned by the City of Melbourne as part of its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

    A survey of more than 600 local businesses found an overall decline in revenue of almost 10 per cent. The sectors which were impacted the most were retail, food and beverage and accommodation.

    Other key findings from the research include:

    • 59% reported an impact on the comfort, motivation or moral of their workforce
    • 40% reported an impact on the reliability of their workforce
    • 62% of businesses experienced additional operational costs (such as increased air-conditioning operation) Seven per cent reported air-conditioning failures.
    • The City of Melbourne is firmly focused on building Melbourne’s resilience to climate impacts.

    Download the report here: 2014 Heatwave Business Impacts

    Read more - City combatting heatwaves to protect economy

  • 27 March 2014

    Victoria axes Greener Government Buildings program

    The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has criticised the axing of the Greener Government Buildings program by the Victorian Government, which is says will cause job losses and damage the budget.

    The decision could cost the budget up to $2 billion and the EEC revealed that one of the biggest losers, the Health Department, alone will lose well over $21 million per year.

    Read more – Hospitals to suffer as Victoria axes Greener Government Buildings Program

  • 20 March 2014

    Australian Government – Infrastructure Outlook Report

    The Federal Government has released a report into the outlook for Australia’s infrastructure and transport sectors to 2030.

    Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030 collates information from a range of government departments to provide an indication of the most significant impacts on the infrastructure and transport sector.

    Read the report: Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030 

  • 20 March 2014

    Skyscraper Life-Cycles

    The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has reached the next stage of a research project which aims to assess the environmental impacts and energy consumption of tall building structures, from the production of the building materials to their end-of-life.
    Read more – New Research Assesses Life Cycle of Skyscrapers

  • 20 March 2014

    GBCA, AECOM launch local government guide to sustainable communities

    The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and AECOM recently launched a new guide for local governments designed to support the development of liveable, prosperous, and sustainable communities.

    The Green Star – Communities Guide for Local Government was launched at the Green Cities 2014 conference in Melbourne.

    The guide explains how councils can use the Green Star – Communities national framework and the Green Star – Communities rating tool to achieve better economic, social, and environmental outcomes across the built environment.

    The new guide will help local governments to play an integral role in implementing and administering planning controls, policies, and programs to ‘get it right’ for existing and future communities and deliver more sustainable outcomes.

    Read more – http://www.gbca.org.au/news/gbca-media-releases/new-guide-supports-local-government-efforts-to-deliver-more-liveable-prosperous-/35350.htm

  • 17 March 2014

    Berlin climate-neutral by 2050

    A feasibility study argues that Berlin can reduce its CO2 emissions from present levels of about 21 million tons to 4.4 million tons by 2050 – despite economic growth and population increase.

    Read more – Berlin can be climate-neutral by 2050: Feasibility Study

  • 15 March 2014

    First Green Star Hotel On The Horizon

    Canberra-based development company, GEOCON, is on track to achieve Australia’s first Green Star rating for a hotel.

    Abode Woden, an adaptive reuse project, is the third hotel developed by GEOCON.  The project has registered to achieve a Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

    GBCA has worked with GEOCON to create a custom-built Green Star rating tool which enables Abode – The Apartment Hotel to join the league of Green Star leaders, according to Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

    Read more – First green star hotel on the horizon

  • 14 March 2014

    New Architecture Foundation to promote benefits of good design

    A new Foundation has been launched by the Australian Institute of Architects to promote the benefits of architecture and design to the wider community through a national program of initiatives.

    Chaired by former director of the art gallery of New South Wales, Edmund Capon AM OBE, the Foundation will focus on architecture and design projects that positively impact Australian communities, including exhibitions, scholarships and education programs.

    Read more – AIA launches new Architecture Foundation to promote benefits of good design

  • 10 March 2014

    Property Council CEO Peter Verwer stepping down

    Peter Verwer, chief executive of the Property Council, is stepping down after 22 years to purse career opportunities in Asia.  Property Council President Darren Steinberg said the process to appoint Mr Verwer’s successor is under way.

    During his time as chief executive, Mr Verwer has been influential in establishing Australia’s lead position in commercial building sustainability.

  • 5 March 2014

    US Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes

    On 5 March, 2014, Republican and Democratic members of the United States House joined together to pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014.

    The bill includes several provisions to save energy in buildings: The Better Buildings Act to encourage commercial building tenants to save energy through:

    • a “Tenant Star” recognition program and green leases;
    • a provision to encourage benchmarking and public disclosure of energy use in commercial buildings;
    • the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act for federal agencies to develop strategies to implement energy-saving information technologies from building energy management to telework, and to improve efficiency of federal data centres; and
    • a provision to address concerns that recent efficiency standards for water heaters could interfere with their use in demand response programs run by rural and other utilities.
  • 3 March 2014

    Victoria’s new home of architecture at 41 Exhibition Street officially opened!

    Victoria’s new home of architecture at 41 Exhibition Street has officially opened. Developed by the Australian Institute of Architects, 41X is a 22-storey Five Star Green Star strata-titled commercial tower that accommodates the Australian Institute of Architects Melbourne offices, including the Victorian Chapter, over five levels. 41X is the first strata commercial office building in Melbourne to target carbon neutrality over its 30 year operating lifespan -accounting for embodied energy, base building operational energy, transport and waste.

    Read more – New heights and a new home for architecture as Governor General opens strata tower in Melbourne

  • 20 February 2014

    Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market

    The latest Australia Green Property Index has found that green office buildings continue to outperform the general market on investment return, net operating income, capital expenditure, vacancy rates and weighted average lease expiry.

    The latest results showed that Green Star (Design and As Built) rated offices across Australia delivered an average total annualised return of 10.3 per cent to December 2013, outperforming the general market by 60 basis points. High NABERS-rated properties (4-6 star) also delivered significantly stronger investment returns.

    Vacancy rates also showed noticeable differences. Green Star and high NABERS-rated buildings had vacancy rates of 3.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively. This was lower than the average of 5.5 per cent for the overall Australian office market.
    Read more - Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market

  • 14 February 2014

    World Bank: cities can become global engines of green growth

    World Bank report says that cities can become global engines of green growth. There is a clear correlation between investments in energy efficient solutions in infrastructure and economic growth in South East Asia. Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions supports local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.

  • 18 February 2014

    Calculating Cool Aims to lower HVAC energy usage

    The Calculating Cool Online HVAC Rating Tool is set to have an impact on the reduction of energy use in Australian HVAC systems.

    Managed by Sustainability Victoria, the Calculating Cool project will develop an online calculator to coordinate operation and maintenance practices, including data collection, long-term monitoring and comparative analysis.

    In order to deliver further improvements in buildings, Calculating Cool will look to the significant energy-consuming components of buildings – such as HVAC – and provide a similar measure of performance.

    ASBEC members – AIRAH, the PCA, FMA, AMCA – have been working with government to progress the Calculating Cool project. It is now in the development stage, with trials and public review set for later this year. Anyone interested in being part of the trial process should email phil@airah.org.au

    Read more - New HVAC rating tool to slash energy use

  • 14 February 2014

    Obama commits US$1 billion to Climate Resilience Fund

    US President Obama has committed US$1 billion on improving the US’s resilience to climate change.

    The Climate Resilience Fund will be included in the 2015 budget. According to the White House, the money will go towards research into the projected impacts of climate change and how to prepare communities and infrastructure to deal with them, as well as funding new technology that will increase resilience in the face of extreme weather events.

  • 14 February 2014

    Melbourne City signs off on new strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    The Zero Net Emissions and Total Watermark strategies identify new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the municipality over the next four years, and build on efforts to capture and use water in a smarter way.

    The strategies were released for public feedback last year and endorsed at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting, setting a clear direction for council over the next four years.

    Read more - Melbourne City sign off on zero emissions plan

  • 8 February 2014

    Australian real estate trusts failing to meet sustainability targets

    Australia’s multi-billion dollar commercial real estate and property sector is failing to meet even modest sustainability benchmarks, according to new research released by progressive policy network Catalyst Australia.

    The report examined the 19 property sector companies listed on the ASX 200, which have a combined market capitalisation of $97.5 billion, rating their reporting standards and outcomes in the areas of environmental performance, gender equality, labour standards, supply chains, sustainability engagement and community investment.

    The report, Building sustainability: A review of company performance in the commercial real estate and property sector, found a clear distinction between the various companies, with four clear leaders – Stockland, GPT Group, Dexus Property Group and Mirvac Group – in the sector and others lagging far behind.

  • 6 February 2014

    New CEO for Australian Conservation Foundation

    Kelly O’Shanassy will succeed Don Henry as the new CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation.  Ms O’Shanassy, was previously CEO of Environment Victoria.

    Ms O’Shanassy, who takes up the position on 7 April, said, “I’m thrilled to be joining such an influential organisation and an amazing team of people.  For nearly 50 years, ACF has been synonymous with protecting Australia’s environment and the future of all Australians, and I look forward to continuing that legacy and building on the tremendous work of outgoing CEO Don Henry”.

  • 1 February 2014

    Infrastructure Australia releases Urban Strategy Report

    Infrastructure Australia released its Urban Transport Strategy report. This report heralds urbanisation as the engine for Australia’s economic growth and considers the development of an Urban Transport Strategy to be of paramount importance.

  • 31 January 2014

    Michael Bloomberg appointed as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to United Nations

    Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and currently President of the Board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) has been appointed to serve as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to the United Nations.

    In this role, Bloomberg will consult with mayors around the world to spur both political commitment and concrete action to combat the growing impacts of climate change and severe weather.

  • 30 January 2014

    GBCA new green partnership with Kathmandu

    The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has forged a new partnership with Kathmandu, Australia’s leading specialist in quality clothing and equipment for travel and adventure.

    Kathmandu is committed to developing a sustainable retail offering, and working with the GBCA to develop a sustainability-focused design framework for its retail tenancies.

    Research has found that integrating green design – such as access to natural light and ventilation, and choosing materials that are low in harmful chemicals – can improve retail takings.  A 2003 Heschong Mahone study in the US found evidence that good daylighting was found to increase sales by up to 40 per cent.

    Read more – New green partnership signals a sustainable future for retail

  • 27 January 2014

    Australia Day Honours for Deo Prasad & Peter Newman, CRCLCL

    A commitment to sustainability and the development of greener cities has resulted in Australia Day honours for Scientia Professor Deo Prasad, CEO of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) and Professor Peter Newman was awarded for contributions to urban design and transport sustainability. They have both been appointed as an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia.

  • 14 January 2014

    ISCA on quantifying the role of green infrastructure to Carbon Performance

    The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has commenced a new research project to provide guidance on quantifying the carbon impacts of green infrastructure that will:

    • Identify existing tools and guidelines for calculating the carbon impacts of green infrastructure
    • Review existing tools and guidelines to determine those which are most relevant to the various types of infrastructure assessed under the IS rating scheme.
    • Develop further guidance on use of the most relevant and appropriate tools.

    ISCA is seeking assistance. If you have any information please email Parisa at p.pakzad@unsw.edu.au