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March 2014

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Victoria axes Greener Government Buildings program

27 March 2014

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

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 Australian Government – Infrastructure Outlook Report

20 March 2014

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 

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Skyscraper Life-Cycles

20 March 2014

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

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GBCA, AECOM launch local government guide to sustainable communities

20 March 2014

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

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Berlin climate-neutral by 2050

17 March 2014

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

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First Green Star Hotel On The Horizon

15 March 2014

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

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New Architecture Foundation to promote benefits of good design

14 March 2014

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

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Property Council CEO Peter Verwer stepping down

10 March 2014

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.

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US Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes

5 March 2014

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.

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

3 March 2014

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

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Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market

20 February 2014

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

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World Bank: cities can become global engines of green growth

14 February 2014

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.

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Calculating Cool Aims to lower HVAC energy usage

18 February 2014

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

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Obama commits US$1 billion to Climate Resilience Fund

14 February 2014

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.

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

14 February 2014

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

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Australian real estate trusts failing to meet sustainability targets

8 February 2014

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.

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New CEO for Australian Conservation Foundation

6 February 2014

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”.

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Infrastructure Australia releases Urban Strategy Report

1 February 2014

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.

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

31 January 2014

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.

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GBCA new green partnership with Kathmandu

30 January 2014

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

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Australia Day Honours for Deo Prasad & Peter Newman, CRCLCL

27 January 2014

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.

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ISCA on quantifying the role of green infrastructure to Carbon Performance

14 January 2014

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:

  1. Identify existing tools and guidelines for calculating the carbon impacts of green infrastructure
  2. Review existing tools and guidelines to determine those which are most relevant to the various types of infrastructure assessed under the IS rating scheme.
  3. 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

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