13 September 2017
Calling for Case Studies: Leaders in building energy performance
The Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory is aiming to develop a forward trajectory for future energy performance targets for new construction.
ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia invite the industry to contribute a range of case studies of existing buildings that already meet energy performance levels beyond what is required by the current National Construction Code (NCC).
We intend to present a number of different building case studies that provide a snapshot of leading low-energy buildings across all sectors, sizes, locations and energy performance levels (ranging from just above current standards all the way to net zero energy or carbon). The purpose of these case studies is to:
- Demonstrate feasibility: Show that the future energy performance levels proposed by the Trajectory – both the end targets and the steps along the way – are achievable and cost-effective across a range of building types, climate zones, sites/orientations and business models (e.g. large developers, volume builders, small home builders);
- Highlight challenges and solutions: Explore the challenges faced by project teams in achieving high energy performance, and how these were overcome, with a particular focus on known technical issues (e.g. condensation and ventilation) and on the experience of builders;
- Highlight the non-energy benefits: Demonstrate the multiple benefits of high energy performance including cost savings and health improvements; and
- Profile innovative design approaches: Profile the innovative design strategies taken to achieve higher energy performance levels in different building types and climate zones, while maintaining or improving amenity for occupants.
All case studies should have one or more of the following:
- Data available (either simulated or measured) that demonstrate their energy performance level and the costs and benefits of higher energy performance.
- Quotes from involved practitioners, particularly builders, and/or people who would be willing to be interviewed.
- Photographs or other media content.
If you have ideas for case studies you would like to contribute, please either:
- email Michael Li directly (details below); or
- fill in this online form (https://goo.gl/forms/1HakUVYp3QvLelzo1) and we will contact you.
Note that this request is separate and parallel to the work being undertaken by the Australian Building Codes Board to develop case studies specific to the proposed updates to Volume Two of the NCC 2019.
Please respond by Tuesday 26 September.
If you have any questions, please contact Michael Li, Project Manager at ClimateWorks: email@example.com
12 September 2017
2017 GRESB Real Estate Results
The 2017 GRESB Real Estate Results name the Australian and New Zealand real estate markets as the world’s most sustainable. 850 property companies, real estate investment trusts, funds and developers took part in the assessment. This is an increase of 12% in the participation rate from 2016. A 45% increase from 2016 was seen in the voluntary reporting of Health & Well-being module.
Australia and New Zealand’s regional score was 73, down from 74 in 2016. The global average is 63 in 2017 up from 60 in 2016. 66 Australian companies reported to GRESB this year compared to 55 in 2016. The increase is a direct result of increased investor demand for environmental, social and governance related disclosures.
Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial was ranked first out of all of the 850 companies and funds globally for the third time. Lendlease’s International Towers Sydney Trust and One International Towers Sydney Trust were also names the most sustainable development funds globally. Dexus Wholesale Property Fund was recognised as a global leaser for diversified office and retail groups and Stockland ranked number one in global listed companies for the diversified office and retail sector.
More information here.
6 September 2017
Adelaide University Research: Cold Weather More Deadly Than Heatwaves
Researchers from the University of Adelaide have highlighted poor minimum thermal performance standards as a contributing factor to Australia’s higher mortality rates in cold weather than in heatwaves. Other factors identified include the impact of housing that is built with a focus on maintaining cool temperatures in summer and fuel poverty.
Based on interviews conducted in Adelaide the researchers found that when the cost of energy was considered mostly affordable, the poor thermal performance of houses meant that heating was on for long periods of time and did not have lasting affects when turned off as houses lacked insulation or window seals. Other interview participants found the heating bills were unaffordable and resorted to extra layers of clothing or blankets to manage the low temperatures.
The researchers suggest that there needs to be a capacity developed to identify people who would be adversely affected by cold housing and assistance offered to those who are particularly vulnerable. A focus on improving performance standards for new homes and retrofit schemes for older homes is also recommended.
More information here.
15 August 2017
AIRAH Report on the Future of HVAC
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has released a report titled Future of HVAC – in a Net-Zero World. The report is based on a foresighting workshop with experts and practitioners from HVAC as well as representatives from building services and associated industries. The workshop focused on gaining insight into the form that HVAC will take in the net-zero building sector of the future.
The report is designed to provide an early warning of both barriers and opportunities in coming years and to provide evidence for use by government policy makers. Workshop participants were asked to consider how the energy intensive approach to HVAV in buildings could be altered to assist in the delivery of net-zero buildings.
Findings include the need for building regulations to assess true performance and to target net-zero energy as well as the need for mandatory energy disclosure of existing buildings. Other findings include the need for:
- Training and education initiatives to assist stakeholders in understanding the risks and opportunities of a net zero building;
- Increased research into low-emission HVAC and better support for innovative technology and approaches;
- Increased investment in Australian research for Australian innovations in HVAC; and
- Government and industry support for demonstration projects that incorporate innovation and commercialisation of low-emission HVAC technologies
More information here.
9 August 2017
ACOSS, Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute Report Addresses Energy Poverty
A report produced by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute titled Empowering disadvantaged households to access affordable, clean energy calls on the Australian Government to assist people on low-incomes to access affordable, reliable and clean energy. The report identifies the need to improve household efficiency and productivity along with other policies such as stronger consumer protection and cheaper clean energy to resolve the increasing issue of energy poverty.
The report focuses on achieving five outcomes:
- Electricity priced efficiently, including integrated climate policy
- Informed and enabled consumers
- Energy consumed efficiently and productively
- Robust consumer protections
- All households have a capacity to pay their energy bills
The ability to pay electricity bills is linked firstly to income and then to housing. Energy Efficiency was found to be critical providing the multiple benefits of reducing costs, reducing emissions, improving health and wellbeing and reducing the need for concessions. The report acknowledges a shift from centralised base load/peaking grid to a more decentralised and diversified grid. While household solar capacity is expected to rise and provide cost savings to householders an increasing divide is predicted between householders who can afford solar panels and those that can’t.
Investments in access to technology, better consumer frameworks and consumer education are identified as critical to addressing the issue but are also recognised to be limited for reasons of cost, low literacy levels, housing situations and complex lives. The report calls for governments, regulators and decision makers to prioritise factors outside of the national energy market in an effort to provide an easing of energy stress.
More information here.
2 August 2017
COAG Energy Council Agrees to Reforms
COAG Energy Council has agreed to a timeline to implement 49 of the 50 recommendations put forward in the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market. The actions taken by the Energy Council are expected to increase supply security and reliability and to lower emissions and costs to consumers.
Recommendations agreed to include:
- The establishment of an Energy Security Board to monitor the health, security and reliability of the NEM;
- The introduction of energy security requirements for Transmission Network Service Providers (TNSPs) and generators to ensure that generators are sufficiently resilient;
- The provision of greater transparency on price and availability of long-term electricity retail contracts for large consumers;
- New rules for competitive metering under the NEPP that will enable better negotiation of deals from energy service providers;
- An improvement in the supply reliability and a reduction in energy costs in the NEM through effective demand response;
The Australian Government is considering a Clean Energy Target and Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT are commissioning the AEMC to provide advice on this matter.
More information here.
The 12th Energy Council Meeting Communique here.
26 July 2017
Guidelines Released for Smart Cities Standards
The Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) has released a guidance note on smart cities standards and frameworks. The guidance note is designed to raise awareness as to what standards and frameworks are currently available for smart cities and to provide foundational information on global smart cities standards and frameworks. The guidance note has been prepared in collaboration with the Professional Construction Strategies Group (PCSG).
Key smart city elements used to categorise the standards in the document include:
- Building Information Modelling
- Internet of Things
- Sustainable communities
- Smart cities frameworks and process standards
Three levels of standards, strategic, process and technical, are listed in the document. Strategic level standards are considered most relevant to government bodies with process and technical level standards of relevance to management positions.
The guidance note is the first step to building a culture in the built environment industry that will embrace the value of standards and support the advancement of standards.
More information here.
21 July 2017
Report Released on Changes Associated with Construction of More Energy Efficient Dwellings
The Changes Associated with Efficient Dwellings Project report was commissioned by the Department of the Environment and Energy and produced by the Moreland Energy Foundation. The project conducted an independent study into how the introduction of the 6 star energy efficiency standard has been responded to by industry.
A qualitative research component including 17 interviews and a survey with 187 respondents was conducted with industry representatives and stakeholders participating. A quantitative component was also conducted with 58 dwellings examined with regards to the costs of achieving a 6 star or beyond performance ranting.
Key findings in the report include:
- The majority of stakeholders agreed that an increase in the level of specification in glazing and insulation were the main changes in response to BCA 2010.
- Views with regards to the level of cost incurred by the BCA 2010 varied from less than $2000 to more than $5000.
- Incremental cost analysis showed fairly consistent cost increases for Class 1 dwellings at $2700 for a 150sqm dwelling.
- Stakeholders were in general agreement that costs could be managed more effectively with the implementation of alternative strategies however competing priorities such as daylight amenity and orientation restrictions were also recognised.
- Industry capacity was acknowledged as a significant factor in the management of increased costs associated with the stringency increase.
- A learning rate is evident in the research with an annual learning rate of 7.5% per year observed.
- The application of the increased costs combined with the observed learning rate suggest that 7 star dwellings could be cost effective when using an indicative cost benefit analysis.
The report notes the difficulty in sourcing drawing and specifications data from industry as an issue with regards to confidence in the results presented. The report authors recommend further research be done in the area of setting trajectories and improving compliance.
The report will help to inform the further development of building energy efficiency via Measure 31.2 of the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP).
More information here.
20 July 2017
National Cities Performance Framework Interim Report Released
An interim report has been released by the Australian Government on a National Cities Performance Framework. This Framework is designed to allow governments to better target, monitor and evaluate cities policy and will be a key document in City Deals.
The National Cities Performance Framework Interim Report outlines three objectives for each policy priority identified in City Deals. The six City Deals policy priorities are:
- Jobs and skills
- Infrastructure and investment
- Liveability and sustainability
- Innovation and digital opportunities
- Governance, planning and regulation
The Framework also outlines 12 contextual indicators and 41 performance indicators that relate to Australia’s largest cities as well as Western Sydney. Indicators were chosen from a wide range of existing indicator frameworks and datasets. Key indicator frameworks include the Australian Bureau of Statistics Measures of Australia’s Progress, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Ranking.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) welcomed the interim report and in particular the online indicator dashboard which will provide accessible data to assist in understanding how Australian cities are performing.
Input to the Interim Report is invited via a survey document with regards to the indicators identified for measuring performance against policy priorities and what additions in features, indicators or coverage should be added. The deadline for input is 18 August.
More information here.
GBCA media release here.
12 July 2017
ASBEC Media Release: Industry collaboration seeks long-term energy vision for new construction
A new project led by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia will develop a long-term industry-led vision for how the National Construction Code can deliver energy and emissions savings alongside financial benefits for building owners and occupants.
In an Issues Paper published today, the project notes that buildings contribute more than half of our country’s electricity consumption and almost a quarter of emissions in Australia. Energy requirements for new construction in building codes are key to driving energy and emissions outcomes. Leading jurisdictions around the world, including countries, states and cities across North America and Europe, have established long-term targets of net or near zero energy buildings, to drive innovation, investment and market transformation in the property and construction sectors.
“At a time when energy prices are skyrocketing and energy policies are under critical review, better buildings can ease the strain on our wallets and take the pressure off our ageing infrastructure”, said ASBEC Executive Director Suzanne Toumbourou. “And with climate change starting to bite, they can ensure our emissions meet our obligations under the Paris agreement.”
Australia’s building standards are governed by the National Construction Code. The Code is updated every three years. The next changes will be implemented in 2019.
ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia have partnered on a project to develop an industry-led, evidence-based pathway for the adoption of ambitious long-term targets for the energy performance requirements in the National Construction Code.
“It’s vital for Australia’s energy future that the changes to the National Construction Code help to drive more affordable and more widespread energy efficient buildings.” said Tony Arnel, Chair of ASBEC’s National Construction Code Working Group and Global Director of Sustainability at Norman Disney & Young.
“By 2030, buildings built after net next Code changes could make up more than a quarter of all Australia’s building stock. By 2050, this could increase to more than half of the total stock. There’s great potential to take the pressure off our power stations and power lines, save money and lower emissions – but we need the right standards in place.” said Tony Arnel.
“Our building industry – from architects and engineers to developers and builders – has the knowledge to help steer these changes in the direction that will address Australia’s challenging energy landscape. That’s why we’re working together on an industry-led vision.” said Suzanne Toumbourou.
ASBEC and ClimateWorks will publish an interim report on project findings in November 2017 and a final report on cost benefit analyses and a policy pathway in March 2018. This work aims to help inform the policy considerations and future directions of the COAG Energy Council’s National Energy Productivity Plan.
“Right now, Australia is at an energy crossroads. We can take the shortcut to a secure and low-cost energy future via better buildings, or go the long way round.” said Tony Arnel.
Download the full Media Release
4 July 2017
Residential Buildings Regulatory Impact Methodology
The Residential Buildings Regulatory Impact Methodology has been prepared by HoustonKemp Economists for the Department of the Environment and Energy. The methodology evaluates the costs and benefits of potential increases in the stringency of the energy efficiency provisions in the NCC.
NCC energy efficiency provisions were last considered in 2009. The methodology used in 2009 has been re-examined and necessary revisions have been recommended to reflect current best practise. The Methodology recommends a high-level cost benefit approach to any regulatory impact statements and outlines five key steps for an economic evaluation of proposed changes.
The five key steps are:
- Identify compliance pathways
- Select representative dwellings
- Estimate impact of proposed changes on energy use
- Estimate the dwelling health and wellbeing implications
- Aggregate based on projects of expected uptake
Key recommendations that differ from the 2009 methodology include:
- A 20-30 year costs and benefits evaluation time frame
- Discount rates of 5-7% and conduct sensitivity at 3-10%
- An estimation of the costs and benefits for a number of different dwelling types in different climate zones
The Methodology also recommends changes to key modelling inputs to capture benefits and evaluate costs. Recommendations estimating benefits that differ from the 2009 methodology include:
- Estimates of reduced network and generation costs
- Estimates of reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Associated health, safety and amenity benefits for dwelling occupants
Recommendations estimating costs that differ from the 2009 methodology include:
- Enforcement costs
- Building compliance costs
The Methodology notes gaps in the current evidence base and recommends a continuation of research be conducted to expand the evidence base from which the methodology can draw upon when evaluating the costs and benefits of changes to the NCC.
More information here.
3 July 2017
WSBE17 – Decarbonisation by 2050
Leaders at the World Sustainable Built Environment conference (WSBE), held in Hong Kong, have called on the building sector to decarbonise by 2050 in order to keep global warming below two degrees.
The building sector is not currently on track to meet the temperature target set out in the Paris Agreement, with new building floor area surpassing energy efficiency improvements. However tools and technologies exist to reduce its carbon emissions. Energy performance standards are a priority for construction, renovation and building equipment, in order to lead the market towards energy efficiency solutions that are cost effective.
The need for better data for building products was called for, to address issues with product comparison and new technologies. Urban leaders were also urged to explore adopting new financial models and information systems to accelerate the decarbonisation of the built environment.
More information here.
More about the WSBE here.
30 June 2017
Commercial Building Disclosure Program Extension
From 1 July all commercial building spaces of 1000m² or more must have their energy efficiency rating disclosed when selling, leasing or subleasing. The extension to the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program from 2000m² to 1000m² means that another 1000 commercial office buildings are affected by the CBD requirements.
Building owners and real estate agents advertising properties for lease or sale are required to place the buildings NABERS Energy star rating on all advertising material. The changes are expected to result in over $50 million in energy savings and 3.5 million tonnes of emissions reductions over five years.
The extension to the CBD were determined after an independent review of the program which found it was a successful means to deliver significant benefits at minimal cost to both the industry and the government. The review also found that the program created positive behaviour change in regards to energy efficiency in buildings.
More information here.
7 June 2017
CSIRO Low Emissions Technology Roadmap
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed a Low Emissions Technology Roadmap to inform the 2017 Climate Policy review. The report examines the technology options available to Australia to allow it to meet the emissions commitments undertaken in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The economic opportunities provided by technology options presented are also included.
Four pathways are outlined in the report which details the risks and opportunities of each pathway. Key findings include the identification of mature technologies currently available in the building sector as having the potential to significantly improve energy productivity. The technologies include efficient lighting, heat pumps, improved building envelopes and higher efficiency in appliances and equipment.
The Roadmap will be considered by the Australian Government as part of the Independent REview into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market as well as the 2017 Climate Policies review.
More information here.
1 June 2017
CEFC releases Energy in Buildings: 50 Best Practice Initiatives
The CEFC has released a new resource: Energy in Buildings: 50 Best Practice Initiatives.
This report, commissioned by the CEFC and produced by Norman Disney & Young, is intended to assist property owners and managers improve the energy performance of buildings, helping to reduce costs and position them for a low carbon future.
The report identifies 50 best practice initiatives across a range of property sectors and indicates the climate zones where the initiatives are likely to deliver the most positive benefits.
Importantly, the report indicates the upfront cost premium and payback period for each initiative, 16 of which could typically pay back within 5 years and a further 20 within 10 years. Many of the initiatives are also affordable on an upfront cost basis: about one third, in a new-build scenario, would require an additional cost less than 0.1% of overall asset value.
Read more here.
1 June 2017
World GBC: From Thousands to Billions – Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings By 2050
A new report by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), shows that there are currently 500 net zero commercial buildings and 2,000 net zero homes around the globe (well under 1 per cent of all buildings worldwide), requiring a monumental and coordinated effort by businesses, governments and nongovernmental organisations to bring the building sector within striking distance of Paris Agreement targets.
In From Thousands to Billions – Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings By 2050, WorldGBC calls for a dramatic and ambitious transformation towards a completely zero carbon built environment, through the dual goals of:
- All new buildings must operate at net zero carbon from 2030
- 100% of buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2050
Read more here.
30 May 2017
CRCLCL Report on Policy and Regulation for Low Carbon Outcomes
The Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) has released a report titled Best Practice Policy and Regulation for Low Carbon Outcomes in the Built Environment. The report was prepared by Strategy.Policy.Research and examines Australia’s best practices in energy and carbon performance policy and regulation in comparison to other OECD countries. The report found Australia has some examples of best practice policy and regulation but that there was plenty of room for improvement.
Australia’s barriers and opportunities to the adoption of best practices are outlined, as are a proposed set of optimal measures and an indicative implementation pathway. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), Commercial Building Disclosure and the NABERS ratings tools are identified as measures that could be expanded and/or updated. The lack of a forward trajectory for regulatory settings in the National Construction Code is highlighted as contributing to regulatory uncertainty. The report recommends a comprehensive review of national regulatory and policy measures estimating the delay in adopting building efficiency opportunities at $43 billion over 10 years.
The report was used to inform discussions at the CRCLCL National Forum: Regulating the Transition to a Low Carbon Built Environment in Canberra.
More information here.
26 May 2017
Commercial Building Disclosure Program
Recent changes to the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program mean that as of 1 July 2017 1000 square metres will become the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial office buildings. The threshold is currently 2000 square metres.
The CBD Program requires that energy efficiency information is provided when a commercial office space is listed for sale or lease. The CBD program ensures that any prospective buyers or tenants are kept informed and that the energy efficiency of large office buildings is improved.
More information here.
24 May 2017
GBCA, PHI and APHA Partnership
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA),the Passive House Institute (PHI), and the Australian Passive House Association (APHA) have agreed to a new partnership to promote ultra-low energy buildings. The organisations will be working together to develop guidelines for a recognisable Passive House certification within Green Star. They will also be hosting site tours and workshops as professional development opportunities.
The GBCA will update the Green Star – Design &As Built rating tool to recognise a Passive House pathway that would achieve credits in the areas of ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ and ‘Thermal Comfort’.
Passive House (Passivhaus) is a voluntary building standard. A typical Passive House is comfortable, energy efficient and affordable, using 80% less energy than a standard home. There are over 80 000 Passive House buildings worldwide in both cold and hot climates.
More information here.
17 May 2017
Ken Maher 2017 UNSW Alumni Award
Professor Ken Maher has received the 2017 UNSW Alumni Award for Design, Engineering and Sustainability.
The UNSW Alumni Awards for Achievement are awarded in recognition of outstanding professional achievements, outstanding contributions to the community, exceptional leadership or civic, cultural and charitable or volunteer involvement. Awards are presented in the areas of arts and culture, business and innovation, design, engineering and sustainability, medicine and health, social impact and public policy, science and technology, and sports and sports administration.
More information here.
16 May 2017
Prime Innovation Hub for Heating and Cooling
The proposed PRIME Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling will act as a key mechanism to assist the HVAC&R industry to transition to a low emissions future. The Innovation Hub would also stimulate job growth and showcase innovations in the industry.
PRIME has been established after five years of industry consultations. It is a whole of industry pathway to a low emissions future and is supported by AIRAH and the CSIRO. The proposed Innovation Hub would provide virtual and physical spaces for designers and educators to access knowledge, develop skills and build capacity with the aim of enabling the acceleration of product development by small to medium Australian enterprises.
The Innovation Hub aims to:
- create over 200 jobs from new products and services;
- retain Australian entrepreneurs in Australia;
- get innovative low-energy designs applied in at least 10 major construction projects; and
- establish Australia’s only dedicated undergraduate major in Buildings Services.
More information here.
20 April 2017
IEA Release Report on Market-Based Instruments for Energy Efficiency
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report titled Market-Based Instruments for Energy Efficiency. The report was commissioned by G7 energy ministers and is the first global overview of its kind to examine the growth and impact of market-based instruments (MBIs) that target energy efficiency. The key policy design issues that were associated with the MBIs successful implementation are also examined in the report.
MBIs such as auctions, energy efficiency obligations on utilities and white certificate programs offer policy makers access to cost effective efficiency gains by allowing the market actors the ability to choose the most suitable measures and delivery methods. Since 2005 the number of MBIs worldwide have quadrupled. The investment generated by MBIs has also rapidly increased during this period.
The report outlines a number of key policy design issues such as:
- The need for MBIs to work within existing policy frameworks
- The need for obligations and auctions to have well crafted rules
- Flexibility within the programme design to allow for savings to be delivered across a broad range of customers and fuels
- Rules need to be as simple as possible but as complex as necessary
- Monitoring, verification and evaluation is a vital component for the integrity of the programmes
More information here.
29 March 2017
Consult Australia Release Digital Principles
Consult Australia have released the Australian Digital Built Environment Principles at the Smart Cities Forum in Sydney. The Principles were developed in consultation with hundreds of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. The Principles are a point of reference for work and policies to be aligned to. They have been created within a technical context and are designed to be:
Consult Australia said “The Principles are a policy tool created within a technical context that enable stakeholders to focus on those actions that will help to ensure the delivery of long term benefits”.
More information here.
22 March 2017
NSW Government publishes information on BASIX Energy Targets
The NSW Government has published information about increased BASIX Energy Targets, which will come into effect across the state in July 2017.
These changes are designed to respond to changes in construction design and new technologies and will be more in tune with the national building standards in the Building Code of Australia.
The increases in energy targets for houses and low-rise units will increase by 10%, with a 5% increase for mid and high-rise units. There will also be changes to the settings for thermal comfort heating and cooling. The changes are expected to be achievable at little or no additional cost and will continue to assist NSW in delivering energy efficient housing.
The Government is also considering what further changes should be made to BASIX and what other energy efficiency measures should be adopted. The Minister for the Environment is seeking feedback on the Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money. In relation to BASIX, the Plan asks:
- how to improve BASIX through future reviews of the targets;
- higher target increases in selected high-growth land release areas and in specific local government areas with participating Council;
- additional information on BASIX certificates to help consumers understand the benefits of homes with best better design standards that more energy efficient.
More information here.
17 March 2017
Australian Smart Cities and Suburbs Program Guidelines Released
The guidelines for the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program have now been released. The program is seeking innovative, technology based projects that offer solutions to urban problems. The program encourages local governments, the private sector, research organisations and not for profit bodies to work together with the goal of improving the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities suburbs and towns.
The program has two separate components:
The incubation package is open to local governments. Local governments who are not familiar with smart cities and smart technology are invited to register for the Future Ready incubation Package. This package is not part of the grant program however it supports capability building in local government and offers opportunities for collaboration with industry.
Grant applications close on 30 June 2017.
More information here.
10 March 2017
GBCA Develop New Carbon Positive Road Map
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has launched a discussion paper titled A carbon positive roadmap for the built environment. The paper was launched at the Green Cities 2017 conference in Sydney. The paper invites industry feedback on how the built environment can assist in meeting the Australian greenhouse gas emissions targets.
To meet these targets the GBCA believes that all new buildings need to be net zero emissions by 2030 and all existing buildings need to be net zero emissions by 2050. The GBCA has identified four key priorities:
- Promoting energy efficiency through passive design and efficient systems;
- Driving investment in resilient, renewable energy infrastructure;
- Increasing markets for net zero carbon products, materials and services;
- Promoting offsets for remaining emissions
The GBCA said “We believe this approach will be a cost-effective pathway for buildings and portfolios, and will also achieve other positive outcomes for Australia – such as efficient, comfortable and healthy buildings, energy security and a thriving renewable energy industry, jobs growth in emerging sectors, and enhanced biodiversity.”
The ideas in the discussion paper and feedback from industry will be used to develop a ‘Carbon Positive Roadmap’. Industry feedback is invited until Friday, 28 April.
The discussion paper can be downloaded here.
More information here.
28 February 2017
Victorian ESC Increases Solar Feed-in Tariff
The Victorian Essential Services Commission has announced an increase to feed in tariffs from 1 July 2017. Businesses and households who feed power back into the electricity grid will be paid 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate is currently set at 5 cents a kilowatt hour. The change is in recognition of the social and health benefits provided by renewable energy.
The 6.3 cent increase is broken down into 3.8 cents per kilowatt hour as a wholesale market price increase and 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour for the avoided social cost of carbon. The change is expected to benefit 130 000 Victorian households.
More information here.
29 January 2017
Victorian Government Release Climate Change Framework
The Victorian Government has released Victoria’s Climate Change Framework which sets out the Government’s long term vision on climate change as well as setting an interim emissions reduction target. The Framework has a vision of net zero emissions in a climate-resilient Victoria by 2050. The Framework also addresses how action on climate change affects jobs, cost of living and health, the steps the Government is taking to commence the transition to net zero emissions and the challenges being a net zero emissions economy faces.
More information here.
Victoria’s Climate Change Framework here.
23 December 2016
COAG Energy Council: Principles for a Collaborative Approach to Residential Building Ratings and Disclosure
The COAG Energy Council has released a set of principles for a National Collaborative Approach to Residential Building Ratings and Disclosure, supporting the 2016 National Energy Productivity Plan Annual report. The COAG Energy Council recognises the ability for improvements in energy productivity within Australia’s new and existing residential buildings to lower costs for households while also improving comfort, reducing energy use and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The Council also recognises that current minimum standards, while necessary, are unable to drive large scale improvements.
A lack of information in regards to the energy performance of residential buildings is highlighted as leading to buyers or tenants, as well as property owners, being unclear about the value and benefits of energy efficient buildings. Other market barriers identified in the publication include information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and split incentives for owners and tenants of rental properties.
Ratings and disclosure schemes have been shown internationally to be an essential part of driving change in this area, however the publication also recognises the importance of a consistent, coherent and flexible approach. An Australia wide collaborative approach to residential building ratings and disclosure is hoped to provide information that will enable home owners, buyers and tenants to better understand the value of a building’s energy performance.
ASBEC welcomes the publication of the principles which align with our call for a nationally harmonised approach to residential ratings.
The principles can be downloaded here.
15 December 2016
Finkel Review Releases Preliminary Report
The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, or Finkel Review, has released a Preliminary Report. The Review, which was instigated by COAG Energy Ministers in October 2016 is to advise the government on a national reform blueprint for the National Electricity Market (NEM).
The Preliminary Report recognises the rapid changes that have occurred in the energy market, particularly in relation to wind and solar photovoltaic energy generation. It also recognises a decline in the demand for energy from the NEM with increasing energy efficiency and self-generation as well as a reduction in the consumption of energy from the industrial sector.
The Preliminary Report also identifies Australia’s transition to a lower emissions economy with energy generation being the largest single source of emissions. The Review aims to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the NEM providing resilience and enabling better services.
The Preliminary Report sets out observations and questions to guide consultation on the design of a new blueprint.
Seven key themes have been identified in the Report. These are:
- Technology is transforming the electricity sector
- Consumers are driving change
- The transition to a low emissions economy is underway
- Variable renewable electricity generators, such as wind and solar PV, cn be effectively integrated into the system
- Market design can support security and reliability
- Prices have risen substantially in the last five years
- Energy market governance is critical
The Preliminary Report also outlines a number of key questions. Submissions are welcomed in regards to these themes and their associated questions or to any of the more detailed questions that are contained throughout the Preliminary Report.
The public consultation process will include meetings to be held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney. The meetings include both public meetings and meetings with specific organisations.
The full report and information on the consultation sessions here.
12 December 2016
A2EP Launches 2xEP Built Environment Road Map
The Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) has launched a road map aimed at doubling the energy productivity within the Built Environment by 2030 (2xEP). The roadmap has been drafted in consultation with built environment stakeholders and contributions. Further comments are welcome.
The proposed measures cover four broad strategy areas: traditional energy management (efficiency), system optimisation, business model transformation and value creation/preservation. The roadmap also proposes to reframe the conversation around energy productivity by placing the consumer at the centre of the conversation.
ASBEC has worked closely with A2EP to ensure alignment and consistency with the recommendations in the Low Carbon, High Performance report.
More information here.
8 December 2016
Australian Government announces National Cities Performance Framework
The Australian Government has announced a new National Cities Performance Framework, to be developed in 2017, to assist in developing smart cities policy and allow the public to see how cities are progressing.
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor also announced the formation of a new Cities Reference Group to assist with inquiries on City Deals and the publishing of feedback on the Government’s Smart Cities Plan launched earlier in the year.
The Government has also released a submissions report on the Smart Cities Plan.
ASBEC has welcomed the proposed National Cities Performance Framework, which could track progress, incentivise best practice and support long-term evidence-based policy development for Australia’s major cities.
“Cities are the economic drivers of the nation, providing jobs and housing over 60 per cent of Australia’s population, along with economic, cultural and social exchange centres and a doorway to the world.” said ASBEC Executive Director, Suzanne Toumbourou. “It is vitally important that the progress of Australia’s major cities is measured and reported, to drive best practice and enable better policy making.”
ASBEC has long called for transparent and consistent indicators to be applied across Australia’s major cities. Indicators for the National Cities Performance Framework should draw core categories which include:
- Economic prosperity
- Sustainable land-use and transport
- Natural resources
- Green infrastructure & ecosystem health
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Health and liveability
- Social inclusiveness
- Good governance
- Housing diversity & supply
Benchmarking indicators should be developed in consultation with stakeholders and encourage public debate about city performance.
Existing, reputable rating tools such as NABERS, IS rating tool and Green Star align with many of the indicators and can be used to measure progress across a range factors.
“The proposed National Cities Performance Framework is a very good measure of the Australian Government’s commitment to more productive, sustainable and liveable cities.” said Ms Toumbourou. “ASBEC looks forward to participating in the Government’s Cities Reference Group as a positive consultation mechanism across industry, government and the community.”
Read ASBEC’s media release here.
Read the Australian Government’s media release on cities benchmarking here.
Read the Smart Cities Plan Submissions Report here.
6 December 2016
Government Releases Terms of Reference for Review of Climate Change Policies
The Australian Government has released the terms of reference for its review of climate change policies. The review will be led by the Department of Environment and Energy and take place in 2017 building on work already underway such as the Finkel Review and the National Energy Productivity Plan. The Government will be seeking public submissions throughout the review from business and community.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) welcomed the review saying “the broad-ranging nature of the review should create opportunities within sectors that have not been able to take advantage of existing government policy.”
The Property Council of Australia (PCA) also welcomed the review, in particular the recognition of sector-by-sector opportunities and the integration of climate change and energy policy. Citing ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance report, the Property Council stated “the built environment can deliver $20 billion in energy savings by 2030, up to one quarter of Australia’s national emissions target and over half the Government’s energy productivity target.” The PCA is urging the review to take up policies that will address the current obstacles for the property sector to utilise the Emissions Reduction Fund.
The Minister’s media release here.
GBCA media release here.
PCA media release here.
5 December 2016
Preparing for Disruption in the Australian Property Industry
EY, the Property Council of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia have released the results of new research in a document titled “Will the Australian property sector seize the upside of disruption”. The research builds on EY’s previous research on “the Upside of Disruption”. 550 property industry executives and 15 real estate CEO’s were involved in the research.
The executives were asked to assess global megatrends with regards to their likelihood and were also asked what their own organisation’s were doing to prepare for the forecast changes. The six megatrends identified were:
- Digital Technologies
- Compromised cybersecurity
- Smart future
- The sharing economy
- Autonomous transport
The Property Council stated “Disruption is occurring and will occur and it either means new entrants transforming the way the industry does business, or existing market participants anticipating and preparing for change.”
The Green Building Council of Australia stated “Green building was a disruptive force a decade ago, and Australia’s industry seized the opportunity. We are well placed to embrace the next wave of disruption to drive greater efficiencies in energy and material usage, to enhance the resilience and liveability of our growing cities, and to deliver homes and workplaces that are more sustainable, as well as smarter and safer.”
More information here.
1 December 2016
BASIX Energy Targets to Increase
The NSW Department of Planning & Environment has announced increases to the BASIX energy targets as of July 2017. The increases recognise the importance of energy efficiency measures within homes in both decreasing energy use and costs to consumers. The changes were announced in the paper released by the Minister for the Environment in October titled “A Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money”. The increases will see energy targets for houses and low-rise units increase by 10% and high-rise units to increase by 5%.
The Government is currently seeking feedback on the paper, specifically in regards to further changes to BASIX and other energy efficiency measures that could be adopted.
More information and submissions here.
30 November 2016
Public Consultation Open on Carbon Neutral Buildings and Precincts
The draft National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and Precincts are open for public consultation until 10 February 2017. While Australia’s property sector ranks highly according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark in the delivery of low carbon buildings the standards will establish clear frameworks for removing emissions from buildings by setting rules for measuring, reducing, offsetting and reporting emissions.
The Standards were drafted by the Department of the Environment and Energy in consultation with NABERS and the GBCA
The GBCA and NABERS will host a webinar on the draft standards on Friday,16 December. GBCA announced the draft Standards saying “clear standards and guidelines are essential as we transition to a zero carbon economy”.
More information and submission details here.
22 November 2016
NSW Climate Change Framework Released
The NSW Government released a new NSW Climate Change Policy Framework and announced a $500 million ‘Environmental future funding package’.
The Climate Change Policy Framework sets out two aspirational objectives:
- achieving net zero emissions by 2050
- NSW being more resilient to a changing climate
Two draft climate change and energy savings documents have been released for public consultation:
- Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan
- A Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money
Several of the recommendations outlined in Low Carbon, High Performance have been picked up in the Draft Plan to Save Energy and Money, including:
- Advocating for the Australian Building Codes Board to introduce robust, cost-effective standards for new commercial buildings(LCHP Recommendation 2.1)
- Supporting the GEMS program by advocating to the COAG Energy Council that the work be better resourced. (LCHP Recommendation 2.4)
- Improving energy efficiency for tenanted homes, potentially through performance standards, such as meeting minimum energy efficiency ratings before properties can be leased (LCHP Recommendation 2.5)
- A mechanism for new State significant developments and major infrastructure to achieve higher sustainability and energy efficiency standards and/or implement cost effective energy-saving opportunities; and Minimum energy performance standards for hotels used by government for accommodation and events in metropolitan areas. (LCHP Recommendation 3.1)
- A program to support local councils to apply GREP and target facilities and assets which consume large amounts of energy. (LCHP Recommendation 3.2)
- Continue the Home Energy Action Program for vulnerable households (LCHP Recommendation 3.12)
- Advocating for the Commonwealth Government to require commercial buildings other than medium to large office buildings (such as retail buildings and data centres) to disclose their energy performance under the CBD program. (LCHP Recommendation 5.3)
- Introducing a program to enable home owners and investors to assess energy efficiency performance ratings and display a rating at the point of sale. (LCHP Recommendation 5.4)
The Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan also picks up on several of the State-level recommendations outlined ASBEC’s Built Environment Adaptation Framework, including improving information on local climate change impacts; improve building standards and planning requirements to take into account the impacts of climate change; and unlocking funds for local communities to respond to climate change.
The NSW Climate Change Policy Framework can be downloaded here.
The Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan can be read here.
A Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money can be read here.
Feedback is invited and can be given here.
6 November 2016
Australian Technologies Competition 2016
The Winners for the Australian Technologies Competition 2016 have been announced. The awards showcase technology companies who are delivering solutions to sectors such as energy, resources and cities. ASBEC sponsored the ‘Smart Cities’ Award which was won by Independent Products for their work in providing energy saving technology innovations in the HVAC sector. The iP Kenetik technology solution uses the waste water created by air conditioners to reduce energy consumption. The system can be retrofitted to most split system air conditioning and refrigeration units. As well as winning the ‘Smart Cities’ category Independent Products also won the Australian Technology Company of the Year Award.
More details and winner of the Awards can be found here.
More information about Independent Products can be found here.
25 October 2016
Urban Resilience the Key to Happier, Healthier Communities
Australian cities and urban areas face more challenges than ever before. A growing and increasingly urbanised population is putting increased pressure on cities, infrastructure and the housing sector. How can our built environment handle these demands, as well as dealing with climate change and emergency events like natural disasters and extremist acts?
The answer lies in urban resilience: the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kind of stresses and shocks they may experience.
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has released a set of fact sheets on urban resilience for three segments:
- Cities – Population growth is providing challenges in managing demands on available space, transporting people and goods, and keeping communities safe, cohesive, fulfilled and happy.
- Infrastructure – Maintaining and expanding the critical infrastructure that provides Australians with high-quality utilities, transport, healthcare and other essential services will require significant investment from governments.
- Housing – Available, affordable housing with access to employment, services and facilities is a major issue.
The Chair of ASBEC’s Resilience Task Group, Adrian Piani said the fact sheets were designed for organisations involved in the planning, design, delivery and operation of the built environment.
“ASBEC’s aim is to help built environment sector professionals embed resilience thinking into their decision-making, and begin a discussion with stakeholders and supply chains.” Mr Piani said.
The fact sheets were developed by the ASBEC Resilience Task Group in collaboration with specialist resilience advisers from integrated infrastructure firm, AECOM.
“Each fact sheet provides a series of questions organisations can work through,” said Kieran Power, AECOM Senior Consultant – Sustainability and Resilience.
“They provide a practical way for organisations to self-assess and gain an understanding of what resilience means to them and the projects they deliver.”
ASBEC President Prof Ken Maher noted this initiative is part of ASBEC’s focus on community wellbeing and a more sustainable future.
“By understanding the principles of urban resilience, organisations can discover opportunities to contribute to a better quality of life for Australians.” said Prof Maher.
“Urban resilience is not just about dealing with problems – it improves the wellbeing of communities by enhancing economic, environmental and social outcomes. It is a model for good times as well as bad.”
Download the full media release here.
Download the Resilience and the Built Environment Fact Sheets:
19 October 2016
ASBEC President Ken Maher wins Lifetime Achievement Award
Congratulations to our President Ken Maher who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Architecture & Design 2016 Sustainability Awards held in Sydney on 13 October. Already a recipient of the Australian Institute of Architect’s Gold Medal (2009) and Australian Award in Landscape Architecture from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (2010), Ken received a standing ovation at the ceremony.
The award recognises Ken’s “undying and frankly excitable commitment to improving the built environment in Australia over the course of his career”.
More details about the awards can be found here.
14 October 2016
2016 Australian Urban Design Awards Announced
Winners of the 2016 Australian Urban Design Awards have been announced. In announcing the awards the jury were impressed by both the number of entries and the calibre.
The four category winners are:
Australian Award for Urban Design, Delivered Outcome – Large Scale
- Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project (Sydney, New South Wales)
TurfDesign Studio and Environmental Partnership with Alluvium, Turpin + Crawford Studio and Dragonfly Environmental
Australia Award for Urban Design, Delivered Outcome – Small Scale
- Bowen Place Crossing (Bowen Place, ACT)
Lahznimmo Architects and Spackman Mossop Michaels
- The Goods Line (Sydney, New South Wales)
ASPECT Studios, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, CHROFI and
Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts – Large Scale
- Turramurra Community Hub Masterplan (Sydney, New South Wales)
CHROFI in association with Ku-ring-gai Council
- Green Square Town Centre (Sydney, New South Wales)
City of Sydney
Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts – Small Scale
- WGV at White Gum Valley (White Gum Valley, Western Australia)
CODA Studio, Urbis, Landcorp and Josh Byrne and Associates
Congratulations to all winners and commended projects.
The full list of winners can be found here.
- Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project (Sydney, New South Wales)
16 September 2016
ABCB undertakes work to advance Energy Efficiency Provisions in NCC
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will be undertaking work this 2016-17 financial year on work aimed at advancing the Energy Efficiency Provisions in the National Construction Code (NCC). The work will look specifically at the energy efficiency initiative with a view to changes being considered for inclusion in the NCC 2019.
Two separate working groups have been established, a Residential working group and a Commercial working group. ASBEC will join representatives from organisations such as the AIA, PCA and HIA to work on issues such as Performance Requirements, Verification Methods, Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions and supporting education material.
There will be an opportunity for public comment on the proposed changes in early 2018.
More details here.
An infographic of work to be undertaken can be downloaded here.
7 September 2016
Australia Outperforms Rest of World in GRESB 2016
Newly released GRESB data shows that Australian and New Zealand companies and funds have continued to outperform their international peers in the areas of environmental, social and governance performance.
GRESB noted that some of Australia’s success was due to Australian companies and funds being uniquely open to exchanging experiences and insights with competitors and frequently working together to address new issues. Collaboration and competition between companies and funds was also highlighted as a driver to for companies and funds to attain higher levels of performance.
In recognising Australia’s continued achievement Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) said that investors expected reliable data on energy efficiency and sustainability when making investment decisions, emphasising the challenge for the industry to keep raising the bar whilst working towards zero carbon.
A snapshot of the report can be read here.
The GBCA media release can be read here.
31 August 2016
New RMIT Study Reveals Broader Benefits of Sustainable Housing
Researchers from RMIT, in conjunction with the Victoria State Government, have released a report that challenges the traditional cost benefit analysis of sustainable housing. The report authors argue that traditionally the ongoing costs of heating and cooling homes, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and benefits to health and wellbeing that sustainable house can provide have not been taken into account.
The study was conducted over a three year time period and focused on a small sustainable housing development in Horsham, Victoria. The sustainable housing was compared to seven control houses in the same suburb and to a technical model of standard industry practice.
The study found that the re-sale value of the sustainable housing was higher and that the utility consumption was consistently lower than the control houses.
Read the full report here.
24 August 2016
Government Commits Funding for a NABERS Residential Apartments Tool
Federal and State governments have announced funding for a new rating tool for apartment buildings that will support emissions reduction goals and reduce power costs by encouraging higher standards for energy efficient systems in new builds and retrofits.
The tool will be developed by the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) and run as part of the Australian National Energy Productivity Plan to help achieve a 40 per cent increase in national energy usage productivity. The tool will use a six star scale to rate apartments based on an assessment of central services energy performance and potential retrofits for lighting, HVAC systems, hot water systems and more.
Current tools for the commercial office sector have proven effective, with emissions savings so far equivalent to 160, 000 cars off the road and over $100 million in power costs. NABERS has also expanded awareness of energy efficiency benefits, including improved wellbeing for occupants and leaseability.
The tool will be under development for the rest of 2016, with a pilot expected to run in 2017.
Media release here.
22 August 2016
Victorian Greener Government Buildings Program
The Victorian Labor Government has announced the reinstatement of the Greener Government Buildings Program (GGB) to improve the state’s energy efficiency performance. The GGB will receive a $33 million investment over two years to improve government buildings and infrastructure, including:
- LED technology installed in all freeway lighting.
- Solar power and LED lighting installed in regional healthcare facilities and 200 schools.
- New lighting plus upgrades to heating and cooling systems for Gordon TAFE and Peninsula Health facilities.
The upgrades aim to improve the quality and efficiency of public hospitals and educational facilities, create hundreds of jobs across sectors, and deliver a stronger Victorian budget. Along with the recently launched Take 2 Pledge Program, the initiatives are estimated to abate 25, 000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, and result in up to $100 million in savings that would more than offset the initial investments.
The Energy Efficiency Council welcomed the announcement which aligns with their 2016/17 priorities for government action, and sees Victoria join NSW and South Australia in delivering on best practice energy efficiency programs.
23 August 2016
COAG Energy Council commits $18 million towards National Energy Productivity Plan
The Government, together with the states and territories, has committed $18 million towards the Nation Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP). The COAG Energy Council developed the NEPP to help meet Australia’s 40 per cent National Energy Productivity Target by 2030.
Funding will go towards improving Australia’s competitiveness, reduce GHG emissions and consumers’ energy costs, with actions including:
- Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, through updated commercial building standards in the 2019 National Construction Code, the development of a case for new residential building standards, and new NABERS tools.
- A new prioritisation strategy for accelerating appliance energy efficiency standards
- An Energy Use Data Model, to support better forecasting and policy.
- Research to make energy choices easier for consumers.
17 August 2016
NatHERS Governance & Operational Review
The NatHERS Administrator recently engaged ACIL Allen Consulting to undertake a review of NatHERS governance and operating model as per the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan. The current model was assessed against NatHERS vision and objectives, along with OECD’s principles of good regulatory governance and ASX’s principles of good corporate governance.
Stakeholders consulted during the process recognised NatHERS as a world leader that was set on a pathway to address critical design issues. However, it was noted that underinvestment and a lack of integration into the building design process limits the potential benefits of the scheme.
The review has provided comprehensive recommendations, and the COAG Energy Council’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Team has also produced a response and welcomes stakeholder feedback.
Comments on the future direction of NatHERS will be open until 5.00pm 2 September 2016.
The review and response are available to read here.
The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) aims to support the improvement of the energy efficiency of Australian residential buildings through the availability of scientifically valid, cost effective and reliable thermal performance rating tools.
10 August 2016
Evaluating the costs and benefits of energy efficiency programs
A newly released paper from Tony Isaacs and Alan Pears examines traditional evaluation methods for energy efficiency policy, to explain why improvements to analysis and development are necessary, and how a fresh approach could deliver more effective outcomes.
How cautious analysis could lead to ‘do nothing’ policy – A case study of the 6-star housing Regulation Impact Statement examines the 2009 RIS for 6-star houses as an example case study, in terms of up-front costs, energy prices, discount rates, additional potential costs and benefits, and other issues. The 6-star housing standard was previously found to have marginal benefits, fuelling debate about the rationale and stringency levels of regulation for residential energy efficiency.
Their new approach to analysis found significantly higher benefits and lower costs for consumers and industry. The findings highlight the need to keep up with market changes and data availability, and to establish a consistent method for accurate and comprehensive evaluations of costs and benefits. This method aims to provide decision makers with a better understanding of the full impacts of energy policies.
18 July 2016
National Housing Forum Leads Industry to Low Carbon Future
ASBEC and the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) hosted the first National Housing Forum in July. The Forum brought together leaders and experts to discuss opportunities and challenges for the housing sector to contribute towards Australia’s emission reduction goals.
Participants formed a united industry approach to working with government and moving forward with actionable recommendations that support the transition to a low carbon future.
- A more ambitious building energy regulatory target to be put in place for new housing;
- Regulation of energy standards for rental properties to protect the most vulnerable to energy poverty;
- Disclosure of energy performance should be mandated to provide independent information and empower consumers;
- Incentives should be established to drive the market beyond minimum regulations;
- Greater effort should be made to engage the community through the development and promotion of exemplars, providing tangible examples of low carbon housing.
The Forum outcomes complement the findings of ASBEC’s Low Carbon High Performance and National Framework for Residential Rating reports, by further unlocking the potential emissions reductions in the built environment, and cementing the industry’s commitment to follow through with support from government.
The CRCLCL is currently funding research in South Australia to make low and zero carbon housing a reality, with positive support from communities and evidence of significant economic gains.
Full CRCLCL media release here.
6 July 2016
UN Habitat’s Urban Data Web Portal
The UN-Habitat’s Urban Data Portal is an online interactive tool for exploring key urban indicators across participating cities. The tool collates and analyses statistics from around the world in a simple format that allows users to visually learn about the state of cities based on their choice of indicators, in areas such as resilience, health, population, and transport. Cities and regions can be compared for further detail, and includes future projections up until 2050.
The data for over 700 cities is provided by national statistics authorities, and compiled by the UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Observatory. The original datasets are available for download and the tool can also generate infographics for project and research use.
1 July 2016
World Green Building Council Launches Net Zero Building Project
The World Green Building Council has announced the new Advancing Net Zero project that will deliver on their commitment to reducing emissions from the building sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050.
The project will start out with eight participating Green Building Councils, and partner with non-profit Architecture 2030 to provide technical expertise. The Councils will each develop action plans including national net zero certification schemes and complementary net zero training for green building professionals.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is among those involved and says their participation in the global project recognises Australia’s leadership and achievements that prove net zero buildings are possible, and a realistic path to emissions reduction. The GBCA have already committed to recognising net zero buildings and have since been working on adapting the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Standard for buildings and precincts.
Long-term goals of Advancing Net Zero include:
- All new buildings and major renovations are net zero in 2030, and no buildings are built below net zero standards beyond 2030
- 100% of buildings are net zero by 2050
- 75,000 professionals are trained on net zero building by 2030, and 300,000 professionals by 2050
- All GBCs which operate certification schemes have net zero rating tools in place by 2030.
WorldGBC media release here.
GBCA media release here.
28 June 2016
Y Combinator Launches Better Cities Research Project
Startup seed funding firm Y Combinator, has announced their $100 million research lab will fund a major project to build better cities. The investment firm is well known in Silicon Valley for launching the likes of Dropbox and AirBNB, with their success and acumen in building partnerships leading to the launch of the YC Research non-profit institution that backs innovation for the betterment of humanity.
The comprehensive project will question the role of a city, how to measure its effectiveness and how to ensure adaptability. President Sam Altman and Partner Adora Cheung have identified housing affordability as one of the main constraints for building a liveable city and unlocking the potential of residents and communities. Their aim is to explore ways to reduce housing expenses by 90 percent and rewrite city planning laws. Along with housing, the project will cover all aspects of the built environment including construction, design, energy, vehicles and transport, urban planning and policy.
Outcomes from the first phase of the research project will be publically available and will determine their next steps – all going well they hope to build a prototype city.
The project team is now seeking full time researchers as well as interest in contributing ideas.
More details in the media release.
Find out more about YC Research.
21 June 2016
ASBEC Welcomes Expansion of Commercial Building Disclosure Programme
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) welcomes the announcement from the Federal Minister for Energy, Josh Frydenberg, on the expansion of the Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme (CBD) and improvement of appliance efficiency through the Equipment Energy Efficiency programme.
ASBEC’s President Prof Ken Maher said “The CBD scheme has led to improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in GHG emissions. It has also been effective in raising awareness of building performance and creating a market incentive for higher-performing buildings.”
“The expansion of this program is an excellent initiative, which will engage many more commercial buildings in energy efficiency endeavours.”
The pathway set by the Equipment Energy Efficiency program aims to deliver energy savings in building appliances.
ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance report has found that Australia’s building sector can deliver up to 28% of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target and save $20 billion, if a strong suite of measures is adopted.
“An expanded CBD program and a pathway for improved appliance efficiency are both strong steps in enabling the built environment to meet its emissions reduction potential, whilst also creating healthier and more productive buildings.” said Prof Maher, “We look forward to working with policy makers on the adoption of the fuller suite of measures identified in Low Carbon, High Performance.”
Download full ASBEC Media Release.
Download media release from Minister Frydenberg.
20 June 2016
Coalition Government Commits to Funding for Sustainable & Smart Cities
The Coalition Government has released their Smart Cities policy that, if re-elected, will see the establishment of a Sustainable Cities investment fund, a Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, and subsequent City Deals, including Western Sydney.
The Sustainable Cities Investment Fund will provide $100 million towards precinct-scale renewable energy plants, transport management systems, green buildings and retrofits to improve affordable housing. The Fund will be administered through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and managed to ensure allocation to projects with strong business cases and a reliable pool of funding that will boost investment from the private sector.
A $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program for local governments was also announced, which will incentivise the use of innovative technology by councils to analyse their data and identify urban problems and their solutions.
Green Building Council Australia says it is a good start towards recognising industry recommendations and they look forward to further details on how the management process for both funds will be kept accountable and ensure best practice.
A city deal for Western Sydney is one of the first projects announced to benefit from the new funds, with a partnership between the NSW Government and local councils set to leverage the projected growth and opportunities for jobs, affordable housing and transport links, provided by the Western Sydney Airport development.
Property Council of Australia commended the joint initiative that will create a strategic approach to building a strong economy for the area. They also praised a proposal from the opposition to allocate $400 million to Western Sydney rail, awaiting independent assessment by Infrastructure Australia, as a complementary move in the right direction.
Read the Coalition’s policy here.
26 May 2016
UN-Habitat Release World Cities Report 2016 Ahead of Habitat III
UN-HABITAT has released the World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures, an analysis of urban development over the past twenty years. The report demonstrates that the current approach to urbanization is not sustainable for future healthy communities and environments, and urges the creation of a New Urban Agenda to build on the successes, and face the challenges of implementation of the Habitat Agenda adopted in 1996.
Governments and all decision-makers are called upon to innovate and use the positive, transformative power of cities and urbanisation to their advantage. The report recommendations form a pathway for the development of cities to meet the necessary housing, equality and emissions standards, and utilise the right methods to monitor and regulate this process. This includes population growth and the implications for social equality and housing as an integral part of city planning, along with a human rights approach to urban environment driven by united multi-level governments, to achieve low-carbon cities and urban resilience.
The Habitat III Conference to be held in July 2016, will establish the New Urban Agenda, forming strong links with complementary international agreements including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Read the World Cities Report 2016 and supporting information on the website.
12 May 2016
High Performance Buildings Open the Door to Australia’s Climate Future
Australia’s building sector can deliver up to 28% of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target, save $20 billion and create healthier, more productive cities if a suite of targeted policies are introduced, according to a new report by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
ASBEC President Prof Ken Maher said “Buildings account for almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions. This sector must be a strong focus if Australia is to meet its international obligations under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
“Over the last decade, market leaders in the building sector have shown that rapid improvements are possible, and this report demonstrates just how much more opportunity exists.”
“Our modelling found that without further action, buildings would consume almost half of Australia’s total national carbon budget. This is not an option.”
“The good news is that major improvements are possible with the right public policies.”
Key findings of the Low Carbon, High Performance report, authored by ClimateWorks Australia, show:
- buildings account for 23% of Australia’s emissions, so strong action in buildings is essential to meet our international obligations to transition to zero net emissions by around 2050
- buildings can achieve zero carbon by 2050 using existing technologies
- in addition to $20 billion in energy savings, buildings can deliver one quarter of the national emissions target and over half of the national energy productivity target by 2030
- leading property companies have demonstrated a rapid improvement in energy performance is possible, but a range of complex barriers limits progress across the sector
Property Council of Australia Chief Executive and chair of the ASBEC’s Energy Efficiency and Emissions Task Group Ken Morrison said the report was a blueprint for government action.
“Major emissions reduction gains can be made with the property industry, but it requires a focused plan that includes regulation, strong incentives, energy market reform and market information to support transformation.”
“When we’re talking about the built environment, we’re talking about literally millions of individual home owners as well as thousands of businesses across the property supply chain. That is a level of complexity which requires a nuanced approach.”
“Australia consistently tops international tables for green building leadership, and we have more than 1,000 low-carbon, Green Star-rated buildings around the country. While buildings generate 23 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions, we have the technology, the skills and the knowledge to halve emissions, while also boosting the productivity, health and wellbeing of the people who live, learn, work and play in our buildings,” says Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia.
“This report makes a clear business case that the residential and commercial building sector can punch well above its weight to help Australia achieve a goal of net zero emissions before 2050. Zero carbon buildings are not a pipedream but a reality.” said WWF spokesperson Monica Richter.
The Low Carbon, High Performance report provides a roadmap with five policy solutions to drive the transition to a zero carbon building sector and improve the living and working environment of all Australians:
- A national plan towards 2050 zero carbon buildings
- Strong mandatory minimum standards for energy performance of buildings and appliances
- Targeted incentives and programs, including: ccelerated depreciation to encourage the uptake of green plant and equipment; stamp duty discounts for the purchase of green homes and properties; and planning incentives
- Energy market reforms, to remove market distortions that undermine the business case for energy efficiency and distributed generation
- Enabling data, information, research and education measures
Prof Maher said delaying action to reduce emissions from buildings would mean a substantial amount of opportunity is lost.
“Every year we delay will cost us significantly in emissions, climate change, money, and quality of life. Installing inefficient equipment or appliances locks in excessive emissions for many decades into the future. Even five years of delay in the take-up of these opportunities could lead to $24 billion in wasted energy costs and more than 170 megatonnes of lost emissions reduction opportunities.” said Prof Maher.
“The time is now. ASBEC calls on governments to open the door to our low carbon future.”
Download ASBEC’s Media Release
Read ASBEC’s Low carbon, High Performance Summary report
Read ASBEC’s Low carbon, High Performance Full report
5 May 2016
Engineers Australia – National Infrastructure Investment Update 2016
The National Infrastructure Investment Update 2016 released by Engineers Australia has raised concerns that Australia’s current approach to planning for future infrastructure will not meet upcoming challenges and opportunities. The report analysed the changes in national infrastructure since the 2010 Engineers Australia Infrastructure Report Card, finding there has been inadequate change to meet new demands of population growth, which must be addressed to continue economic growth.
The Update recommends long-term thinking, embracing ICT-enabled technology and integrating land use planning into the process for effective contributions to national productivity and innovation. Engineers Australia also recommends unlocking the potential in existing infrastructure and in the knowledge and skills of the 60,000 plus engineers in the industry.
Media release available here.
29 April 2016
Australian Government paves the way for a smarter approach to Cities
ASBEC welcomes the release of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan, which outlines a vision for enhancing liveability, sustainability and productivity in our urban communities.
ASBEC President Prof Ken Maher said “The building sector, through ASBEC, has long called for a whole-of-government approach to planning, energy efficiency measures, infrastructure investment and urban design, to create better long-term outcomes for cities. We congratulate the Federal Government for their focus on the future of our cities, and look forward to this process leading to tangible action.”
“The City Deals model, involving a compact between all spheres of government, reflects a form of planning and infrastructure investment that supports jobs and more liveable, healthy, productive and sustainable communities.”
Of course, sustainable cities are vitally underpinned by sustainable buildings.
“Australia’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement binds us to meaningful action on reducing emissions. A major element towards meeting this objective includes a long-term metropolitan-scale approach to city planning, essentially underpinned by efforts to improve the environmental performance of buildings.”
“Governments, industry and the community will need to work collaboratively together to deliver transformative outcomes for our cities and built environment. As one of the world’s most urbanised countries, we can’t afford not to.” said Prof Maher.
Download ASBEC’s media release here.
Read the Smart Cities Plan here.
27 April 2016
The Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities (RFSC)
The Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities (RFSC) is an online self-assessment tool to assist city planners, leaders and private organisations in the development and implementation of sustainable city strategies. It was developed to support the vision integrated urban development in cities across Europe and delivery of the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities.
The RFSC provides a step-by-step approach to managing a project for cities of any size. The tool allows you to check your strategy and monitor progress against 30 sustainability objectives based on the five dimensions – economic, environmental, social, spatial and governance.
The RFSC is currently managed by the French Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Homes, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the CEREMA, a public body in support of national and local authorities in the field of sustainable development, and the French network of planning agencies (FNAU).
Check the website for more information and inspiration.
20 April 2016
Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) Form Alliance with China to Develop Accreditation Scheme
During China’s ‘Australia Week’, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) joined forces with the China City Development Foundation (CCDF) and Green World City (GWC), signing a collaboration agreement to develop and deploy the Green Infrastructure Finance Accreditation (GIFA) scheme. The alliance was formed after Prime Minister Turnbull announced a $100 million joint Australia-China innovation precinct and previously an agenda to drive change in Australia’s economy through innovation.
The ISCA will support the CCDF, a not-for-profit connecting technical expertise and investment capital to urban development opportunities in China, along with GWC, a global network of CEOs and experts in sustainable projects, to implement the scheme based on the ISCA’s Infrastructure Sustainability rating scheme. The voluntary scheme can be applied throughout the design and construction process, with benefits ranging from emissions reduction, enhanced infrastructure design and engaged, supportive communities. The partnership aims to bring these benefits to China as well as open up opportunities to access Australia’s expertise and services. The launch of a not-for-profit organisation to run the scheme is expected to be announced soon.
ISCA Media Release here.
11 April 2016
CRC for Low Carbon Living Release New Report ‘Value Proposition: Low Carbon Housing Policy’
The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) has funded new research by Adelaide Living Laboratories, using data from Renewal SA’s Lochiel Park development. The findings have provided further evidence that low carbon living has significant benefits across energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, and wellbeing of residents, that outweigh the financial costs of building low carbon housing.
Lochiel Park in South Australia is an award winning green village that has successfully facilitated sustainable lifestyles of more than 150 residents and produced extensive data and research opportunities, culminating in several papers and reports gradually being released.
The most recent report analyses value propositions of low carbon housing policy to demonstrate the cost benefits for householders and State governments. The report explains the impacts and influences of a range of factors including energy, construction costs, industry standards and health & productivity, and finds multiple policy outcomes and economic benefits for a Government investor.
The CRCLCL are planning to continue the research to answer specific questions around differences in consumer energy use and types of housing precincts.
CRCLCL media release and report download available here.
4 April 2016
Launch of ‘ABC for Sustainable Cities’ Glossary for Policy Makers
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT) have launched the ABC for Sustainable Cities, a glossary of terms and definitions commonly used across sectors working in the built and urban environment. The glossary was created in cooperation with the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and their European counterpart, the EFCA. FIDIC is an active contributor to the UN HABITAT World Urban Campaign and advocate for sustainable development in the consulting engineering industry.
The ABC for Sustainable Cities aims to help facilitate the discussion on cities by developing a common language and providing clarity for technical and non-technical audiences. The glossary terms range from the basics such as pollution and greenhouse gases, to more recently popular jargon such as green building, urban resilience and wellbeing.
The explanations are not set international definitions, rather the developers compiled publically available definitions from recognised institutions, journals and reports from around the world and emphasised the key essential information. The document was peer-reviewed and developed in consultation with numerous international organisations and experts to further broaden the collaboration and knowledge sharing goals of the project and to ensure the definitions meet the needs of policy makers worldwide.
30 March 2016
GBCA and IWBI Form New Partnership to Progress Healthy Building Movement
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) announced a new partnership at Green Cities last week. Their memorandum of understanding will provide an opportunity to align the Green Star and WELLS rating systems and collaborate on progressing the healthy building movement.
The GBCA says that Green Star’s focus on indoor environmental quality for health and wellbeing is complemented by WELLS scientific and medical research in the area. There is increasing demand from consumers who recognise the impacts of buildings on their health and a combination of rating systems will effectively address buildings and people together.
The organisations will also work together on promoting educational initiatives and encouraging sustainable building practices, with the aim of broadening the reach of both rating systems and forming a unified approach to designing healthy, productive home and work environments around Australia.
Full media release available here.
10 March 2016
Expansion of Carbon Certification to include Committee for Cities, Precincts & Buildings
The Australian National Carbon Offset Standard was introduced in 2010 to set requirements for businesses, products, services and events seeking carbon neutrality. It has now been updated to include sustainability certification of carbon-neutral cities, precincts and buildings.
An Expert Committee has been formed to expand the current scheme as well as work towards a carbon-neutral certification for buildings, with the first meeting to be held in April 2016. This development is hoped to result in Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral precinct or city by the start of 2017.
The GBCA, a member of the Expert Committee, praised the expansion which recognises the industry’s leadership and achievements in delivering low-carbon buildings and the capabilities to progress to zero-carbon buildings, cities and precincts. Other members of the Committee include the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System and the CRC for Low Carbon Living.
9 March 2016
‘Megatrends Shaping Our Future’ Report from Planning Institute of Australia (PIA)
The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) has launched a report on the megatrends driving Australia’s future, leading the debate on the need for a national strategy to manage population growth. Through the lens: megatrends shaping our future is part of PIA’s Journey towards 50 million policy framework for the support and advocacy of better cities.
The report identifies nine megatrends – defined as major shifts in environmental, social and economic conditions that will substantially change the way people live. These are described in terms of their impact on Australia based on current lifestyle trends and population projections. Among the megatrends are increased urbanisation, resource dependence, climate change & disaster resilience, infrastructure, and smart settlements & new technology.
The report aims to form a basis for planners and decision makers to long-term strategies for liveable cities, by considering the challenges of a population heading towards 50 million people.
PIA media release here.
Read the full report here.
17 February 2016
Infrastructure Australia Releases 15 Year Infrastructure Plan and Priority List
Infrastructure Australia (IA) has released the first 15 year Australian Infrastructure Plan, setting out recommendations for reform and a roadmap for addressing the challenges and opportunities of infrastructure. The plan aims to reduce household costs and deliver solutions for current gaps in transport, energy, water and telecommunications services.
The Plan outlines a clear agenda for cities, including investment to address imbalances between the inner and outer suburbs of our cities, and increasing the delivery of higher density housing that in turn provides high-quality, affordable housing with close connections to infrastructure, community public spaces and world-class amenities. The delivery of consistent long-term metropolitan planning, supported by integrated governance frameworks, is also emphasised as high priority for state and territory governments.
Green Building Council of Australia says this plan meets the need for an objective, transparent approach to decision making for planning in cities, that will remain robust against changes in government.
As part of the Plan, IA has created the ‘Priority List’ of submissions from government, peak bodies and community, to clearly set out the focus of investments that meet the strategic objectives of the Plan. The projects and initiatives submitted were evaluated based on strategic fit, deliverability and economic, social & environmental value. Urban congestion, national connectivity, and corridor preservation were identified as the categories of highest priority.
Consult Australia backs the provision of a pragmatic approach that does not ignore the ‘tough issues’ and includes many of their recommendations.
Property Council of Australia is also supportive of IA’s work in providing the informed list whilst remaining cautious of the challenges the report highlights, such as having only two high priority projects ready for delivery and crucial gaps for further work in governance proposals.
Full media release available here.
Australian Infrastructure Plan and Priority List available here.
15 February 2016
Angus Taylor appointed Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, with special responsibility for Cities and Digital Transformation
Angus Taylor has been appointed as the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister with special responsibility for Cities and Digital Transformation.
This arrangement supersedes the previous Minister for Cities and Built Environment, and will be driven through the leadership of the Prime Minister.
Mr Taylor has highlighted affordability, amenity and congestion as issues for both regional and capital cities, stating “This must be a priority for the Federal government, as a major investor in transport infrastructure.”
For more information see the Assistant Minister’s media release.
12 February 2016
National Environmental Science Programme Launches Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub
The Australian Government has launched the Clean Air and Urban Landscape (CAUL) Hub, as part of the Department of Environment’s National Environmental Science Programme. The hub has been allocated over $8 million to address the planning gaps in Australian cities, over the next six years.
Several scientific research projects will be carried out to inform future policies that will be the foundation of healthy, productive and green cities in the near future. The hub plans to collaborate with Indigenous communities in their urban design and planning research projects, to explore new perspectives and innovative strategies.
The current projects planned for the hub include:
- Western Air-Shed and Particulate Study for Sydney (WASPSS)
- Benchmarking Clean Air and Urban Landscapes
- Urban Greening for Liveability and Biodiversity
- Improved Urban Systems for Liveability
- The Shared Urban Habitat
Further information on the National Environmental Science Programme and CAUL Hub is available on the website.
Full media release available here.
10 February 2016
Funding for Energy Efficient Housing a Welcome First Step to Improving Built Environment
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) welcomes the Government’s announcement of a $250 million program to finance the development of energy efficient homes for low income earners.
ASBEC President Ken Maher said: “Given that Australia’s housing is responsible for 13% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, this is a good first step towards improving the country’s building stock.”
Further efforts are required to ensure that we meet the great potential that the building sector holds, in improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption in Australia’s homes.
“A coherent, nationally consistent framework for rating housing sustainability is essential to ensure that any efforts to improve housing energy efficiency are properly delivered, credibly verified and clearly communicated.”
ASBEC has called for a new nationally consistent rating framework for housing sustainability, consisting of three key elements: minimum regulatory performance standards in new buildings; benchmarks for market comparison of best practice sustainability performance; and communication messages explaining the value of sustainability features to renovators and homebuyers.
“Investment in long term energy efficiency should be informed by a clear regulatory, market and communications framework to ensure that value and performance are delivered.” said Prof Maher.
Download the ASBEC media release here.
8 February 2016
Public Consultation & Final Report for Commercial Buildings Disclosure (CBD) Program Review
The Australian Government has released the final report on the Commercial Buildings Disclosure (CBD) Program Review.
The report findings highlight the success and relevance of the program in effecting behaviour change and improved energy performance of office buildings. The focus on commercial office buildings will remain, as the program is still the principal Commonwealth Government program for the sector.
The review also demonstrated the potential for significant reductions and educational benefits, by specifically targeting mid-tier office buildings. The GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew, supports the refinement of the program’s goals, including proposed changes that would expand their reach to empower a larger range of building owners to take up opportunities for energy and cost reductions.
Public consultation is being sought until 12 March 2016, on the following proposed changes:
- Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency information on buildings from 2,000m2 to 1,000m2 to capture smaller office buildings; and
- Extending the certification validity period for the energy efficiency office lighting assessment, (tenancy lighting assessment TLA), from one to five years.
The full report can be read here.
More information on the program and public consultation is available on the website.
3 February 2016
‘Fund Our Future’ Campaigns for Infrastructure Fund for Outer SuburbsThe National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) has launched the Fund Our Future initiative, advocating for a national funding mechanism for improving the development of infrastructure in growing outer city suburbs. The NGAA, a representative of local councils and communities in outer areas of capital cities, commissioned an analysis of the infrastructure deficit and impacts on residents.
Communities in these areas are growing quickly, however a lack of investment and long-term planning is reducing the liveability of suburbs, by increasing travel times and social isolation. Their findings align with previous research that has found 5 million residents are currently living in a disadvantaged state, with 90 per cent of the need being for better transport and 10 per cent for health facilities.Whilst the initial investment is significant, the NGAA claim the creation of new jobs and increased tax revenues will outweigh the costs.
Read more about the campaign here.
20 January 2016
Building Industry Calls for Nationally Consistent Framework for Residential Ratings
The Australia Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), has today called for a new nationally consistent rating framework for housing sustainability.
ASBEC President Ken Maher said: “Housing is responsible for 13% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Improving the sustainability of our housing stock is crucial to meeting Australia’s targets for emissions reduction.”
“At the same time, with energy costs rising, greater energy efficiency in our homes will improve the cost and quality of living for all Australians.”
Right now, there is no coherent national framework for rating housing sustainability. Instead, a plethora of ratings and measurement tools make things complex for industry professionals and incomprehensible to consumers.
“The industry is clear”, said Prof Maher. “We need governments to work with us to implement a nationally harmonised sustainability ratings framework for houses.”
Such a framework should consist of three key elements: minimum regulatory performance standards in new buildings; benchmarks for market comparison of best practice sustainability performance; and communication messages explaining the value of sustainability features to renovators and homebuyers.
The Council of Australian Governments’ National Energy Productivity Plan shows that there are huge opportunities to empower consumers if we improve way we rate and disclose the energy efficiency of our homes.
At the same time, the findings of the National Energy Efficient Buildings Project highlight that Australia is falling well short of its potential when it comes to the energy efficiency of our homes.
“We know the Turnbull government is committed to improving Australia’s built environment. The very welcome creation of Australia’s first federal ministry for Cities and the Built Environment showed that. Now it’s time to act on the building industry’s recommendations and deliver the right tools for measuring housing sustainability.” said Prof Maher.
Download the full media release here
Read ASBEC’s Policy Platform on a National Framework for Residential Ratings
Read ASBEC’s Discussion Paper on a National Framework for Residential Ratings
10 January 2016
VIC Government Developing New Rating Tool – Residential Efficiency Scorecard
The Residential Efficiency Scorecard is currently under development by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (VIC).
The Scorecard is a voluntary rating tool for new and existing homes, designed to provide better understanding of energy performance for householders. Assessments will be undertaken by private providers with comprehensive performance reports and practical recommendations given to householders to improve energy efficiency and cut costs.
Feedback on the Scorecard will be sought from stakeholders prior to release.
To find out more or subscribe to updates head to the website.
14 December 2015
Built Environment Stands Ready to Deliver on Paris Climate Ambition
The Paris Agreement paves the way for a low carbon future, and the building sector stands ready to deliver a significant part of Australia’s contribution, says the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
“The value of the Paris Agreement in must be delivered through tangible actions within a critical period.” said ASBEC’s President, Professor Ken Maher.
“Buildings account for over 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and offer the most rapid and cost-effective solutions to reducing emissions.” said Prof Maher.
ASBEC, a collective of leading industry organisations committed to a sustainable built environment in Australia, seeks to promote more liveable, productive buildings, through leadership in energy efficiency, resilience and urban policy.
“There are a range of measures, within our reach right now, which could significantly advance Australia’s efforts in reducing emissions,” said Prof Maher. “These include tax incentives for green buildings; a national white certificate scheme; higher energy performance standards in the Building Code; public funding of building retrofits; and enhanced Minimum Energy Performance standards.”
ASBEC is now working together with its members, including the Property Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Architects, Energy Efficiency Council, Green Building Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating, Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association, Insulation Australasia and WWF, on an emission reduction roadmap to 2050.
“With a global agreement now in place, the building sector stands ready to deliver on the ambition for a more sustainable, resilient, prosperous and equitable future.” said Prof Maher.
Download ASBEC’s media release here.
Read about the Paris Agreement here.
Download the full Paris Agreement here.
7 December 2015
National Energy Productivity Plan released by COAG Energy Council
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council has released the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP).
The NEPP provides a framework and a 15 year economy-wide work plan of new and existing measures designed to coordinate efforts and accelerate improvement to deliver a 40 per cent improvement in Australia’s energy productivity.
The objectives of the plan are to reduce costs for household and business energy users; maintain competitiveness; grow Australia’s economy; reduce carbon emissions; and improve sustainability.
Built environment measures include:
- Improve residential building energy ratings and disclosure
- Expand commercial building ratings and disclosure
- More liveable, accessible and productive cities
- Advance the National Construction Code
- Improve compliance with building energy efficiency regulation
4 December 2015
Australian Government’s National Adaptation Strategy
The Australian Government has released a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy, identifying priority areas with consideration to the economic, social and environmental magnitude of potential climate change impacts, their likely timing and the relative importance of early action to manage the risks.
Read the strategy here.
2 December 2015
COP21 Buildings Day Paves Way For Great Opportunity
The built environment holds enormous potential to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, says the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC). Buildings Day at COP21, on 3 December, provides a great opportunity to highlight the leadership role of the building sector in avoiding dangerous climate change.
Buildings account for over 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and a third of global emissions.
“Not only can better performing commercial and residential buildings reduce electricity bills, boost productivity and offer increased wellbeing outcomes; they hold the most cost-effective solution to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” said ASBEC’s Executive Director, Suzanne Toumbourou.
ASBEC, a collective of leading industry organisations committed to a sustainable built environment in Australia, seeks to promote more liveable, productive buildings, through leadership in energy efficiency, resilience and urban policy. ASBEC advocates for a range of measures including: tax incentives for green buildings; higher standards in the Building Code of Australia; a national white certificate scheme; public funding of building retrofits; and enhancing Minimum Energy Performance standards. ASBEC is now working together with members on an emission reduction roadmap to 2050.
“Every new building can either pave the way for a more energy efficient future, or lock in long term growth in emissions.” said Ms Toumbourou.
“As a world leader in sustainable real estate practices, Australia is perfectly equipped to build a low carbon future and reap the benefits of a productive, sustainable, liveable and future-proofed built environment.”
Read more about Buildings Day here.
Download ASBEC’s media release here.
22 November 2015
International Leadership Award for ASBEC’s Deputy President
Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and Deputy President of ASBEC, has been honoured with a prestigious International Leadership Award at the annual Greenbuild Conference in Washington D.C.
Now in its 13th year, the award recognises outstanding individuals and organisations that embody vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green buildings and communities.
Presenting the award, Chief Executive Officer and Founding Chairman of the USGBC Rick Fedrizzi paid tribute to Ms Madew’s ‘open mind, innovative spirit and infectious passion for sustainable development‘.
We are incredibly proud of Romilly’s achievements and congratulate her for joining the ranks of World Greats in sustainability leadership.
Read full media release.
19 November 2015
GBCA puts 80,000 Mid-Tier Buildings Under the Energy Productivity Spotlight
The Australian Government’s Department of Industry Innovation and Science commissioned the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to undertake the Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia project, with support from Sustainability Victoria, City of Melbourne and EY.
A project takes a snapshot of the nation’s mid-tier office building sector, outlines key stakeholders, and identifies barriers and the opportunities to improve energy efficiency of up to 80,000 buildings around Australia.
Click here to read the GBCA media release.
Click here to read the full report.
13 November 2015
WSAA and IPA Call for Renewed Reform to Urban Water
Australia’s peak infrastructure body Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) – the peak body for water utilities – has presented a major report to the Commonwealth Government calling for fundamental change to urban water.
Mr Adam Lovell, WSAA’s Executive Director said, ‘Urban water needs to be better integrated in city planning including coordinated integration of stormwater to meet community expectations of our highly valued liveable cities and communities.‘
Click here to read full media release.
30 October 2015
Low Carbon Transport Criteria Under the Climate Bonds Standard
The Low Carbon Transport Technical Working Group has released the world’s first Low Carbon Transport Standard for climate bonds.
The proposed standard will only certify investments in transport infrastructure that are compatible with a 2°C warming outcome.
The basic requirement for a project to be certified under the Low Carbon Transport Climate Bonds Standard is that it meets the per passenger-km or the per tonne-km GHG emission thresholds. Projects likely to be eligible include:
- freight and passenger rail; infrastructure, infrastructure upgrades and rolling stock (exception: freight corridors built primarily to transport fossil fuels);
- electric, hydrogen or hybrid vehicle projects;
- cycling and bicycle infrastructure;
- high quality Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems;
- technologies that allow new low carbon behaviour e.g. car clubs or bike sharing;
- integrated multi-modal transport systems and networks.
The standard has opened a 60-day period of public consultation, investor and industry comment.
See full article here.
29 October 2015
City of Melbourne Clean Energy Investments
The City of Melbourne has committed not to invest in fossil fuels, making it the 10th and largest Australian City Council to join the global fossil free movement. The motion, which was put up by Councillor Arron Wood was passed with unanimous support.
It commits Council to:
- not investing in fossil fuel or fossil fuel aligned companies;
- call upon their default superannuation fund – Vision Super – to create a fossil fuel free investment option for its members;
- consider fossil fuel exposure when deciding which banks to award Council’s transactional banking contract when services are next tendered.
Announcing Council’s commitment, Councillor Wood said, ‘To transition to a clean energy future is not only good for the environment, it is a very smart long-term business decision.’
The Notice of Motion can be found here.
28 October 2015
AIRAH Begins Search for New CEO After Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH, Steps Aside
Following the decision by AIRAH’s CEO Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH, to step aside from the organisation’s leadership position, the AIRAH board has begun the search for a new chief executive officer.
Having provided great stewardship at the helm of the AIRAH over the past five years, Phil Wilkinson has decided to continue in the organisation, in a business-critical role across policy, strategy, stakeholder engagement and government relations.
Phil will continue as acting CEO until a replacement can be found.
Read AIRAH’s media release here.
24 October 2015
Capital City Lord Mayors Head Push for Sustainable Cities
Australia’s Capital City Lord Mayors are accelerating their push for a closer working relationship with the Commonwealth. They have travelled to Canberra to speak to federal representatives, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the new Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs about how the Australian Government and cities can work together to benefit the nation.
Current Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) Chair, Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese recognised the priority that both the government and opposition have placed on cities as major drivers of the Australian economy.
A new website – Cities Matter, makes the case for investment in city economies, infrastructure and climate change resilience.
Read full media release here.
Visit Cities Matter here.
15 October 2015
Urban Design Protocol – refreshed and relaunched
The Urban Design Protocol: Creating Places for People is a landmark resource for better urban design in Australia.
The Protocol was created through a collaborative process led by the Australian Government, involving industry, community and all three spheres of government.
The Protocol provides twelve broadly agreed principles including characteristics of a location, people’s experience and well-being; and encourages excellence and collaboration in the design and custodianship of urban places. Custodianship of the Protocol has been transferred from the Department of Infrastructure to ASBEC and the site has now been re-launched with updated and refreshed content.
Nearly 50 organisations have pledged to be Champions of the urban design protocol. The collaborative actions will make a significant difference to the quality of our towns and cities. We encourage all organisations to join as Champions towards best practice urban design.
14 October 2015
NSW renews Energy Savings Scheme
The NSW Government has announced three key changes to the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS), promising to save households and businesses up to $8.2 billion on their energy bills during the life of the scheme.
- The energy savings target will be increase from 5 per cent to 7 per cent in 2016 and progressively to 8.5 per cent by 2019. This is a 70 per cent increase in the target.
- It will be expanded to provide incentives for households and businesses to save gas.
- It will be extended to 2025.
The Energy Efficiency Council has commended the changes, noting that they “will lower bills for homes and businesses while creating more jobs in energy efficiency’.
Read NSW Government media release here.
Read the media coverage by EEC here.
9 October 2015
New Minister for Cities and the Built Environment: Three Key Pillars of Reform for Australian Cities
The Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Hon Jamie Briggs MP, has outlined a vision for addressing the increasing challenges facing Australia’s major urban centres, through three key policy pillars:
Long term integrated planning for more sustainable cities.
A review of the effect of property taxes on Australia’s housing supply and demand will be undertaken by Treasury. There will also be consideration of the expansion of the current powers within the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to undertake strategic assessments in improving planning systems.
Infrastructure planning and funding for better functioning cities.
The Commonwealth Government will explore new ways to use alternative sources of funding to deliver more infrastructure projects, and encourage greater involvement in greenfield projects from the private sector.
Greening our cities for a more livable environment.
The Minister for the Environment and Minister for Cities and the Built Environment intend to work closely together on pursuing innovation in powering cities, working with the full resources of government to make our cities as efficient as possible.
Full speech is available here.
8 October 2015
ALP announce Infrastructure Investment Plan
The Federal Opposition have promised to transform the way infrastructure is funded in Australia. If elected, they have undertaken to elevate Infrastructure Australia to an active participant in the infrastructure market, mobilising private sector finance, Australia’s superannuation industry and international investors to bring a national pipeline of investment online.
Consult Australia commends the vision and recognition in the announcement of the critical role of infrastructure as an economic lever to drive productivity and jobs growth.
The Property Council of Australia have also welcomed the plan, noting that such a move would depoliticise infrastructure project priorities and boost certainty around project delivery.
A conservative analysis, prepared by Infrastructure Partners Australia, assumes a $10 billion infrastructure investment will directly create approximately 26,000 jobs and add around an extra $7.5 billion every year to our GDP.
Read the ALP media release here.
Read the Consult Australia media release here.
Read the Property Council of Australia media release here.
4 October 2015
G20 Energy Ministers Embrace Energy Efficiency and Renewables and Focus on Energy Investments
The Energy Ministers from the G20 countries and heads of international organisations have met for the first time, in Turkey, affirming their commitment to renewable energy.
Ministers welcomed the report on the voluntary implementation of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan prepared by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), as endorsed at the G20 Leaders’ Summit last year in Brisbane.
IPEEC Executive Director, Benoit Lebot stated, ‘Energy efficiency has finally secured the level of recognition it deserves, and is here to stay as a central piece of the G20. Energy efficiency is crucial to G20 countries, and G20 countries are critical to energy efficiency.’
The meeting focused on access to sustainable energy for all, energy efficiency, investments in energy and renewable energy. Ministers also placed high importance on energy access, international cooperation, market transparency, energy security, clean energy innovation and climate change.
Read the IPEEC media release.
21 September 2015
The ACT Government’s Path to Sustainability
Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) experience in moving from fossil fuel reliance to the goal of meeting 90 per cent of its electricity supply needs using renewable energy. The ACT’s Chief Minister has recently announced that the government is now looking at ways to increase the 90% renewable target to 100% by 2025.
In 2010 the ACT acknowledged that the best way to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As most of the ACT’s emissions come from home and office electricity use the government announced an ambitious target to source 90% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
A generous solar feed in tariff scheme for home solar quickly got the community involved. Aided by dropping solar costs, a steady stream of Canberrans have continued to install solar, long after the subsidies were removed but it was clear from the start the heavy lifting would need to come from larger scale solar and wind power generation.
Solar and wind auctions followed with companies invited to bid to provide renewable energy for the ACT for the lowest reasonable cost.The results so far have been outstanding.
The ACT’s 20 megawatt Royalla solar farm has just celebrated its first year of operation with two others in the pipeline. A 200 megawatt wind auction secured the lowest recorded renewable energy prices in Australia and a second wind auction is now underway.
The government modelling puts the cost to households for these initiatives at about $4.50 per week offset by equivalent energy savings from an energy efficiency improvement scheme requiring energy retailers to supply energy saving devices like LED down lights and power controllers. Furthermore, the territory is benefiting from investment in local jobs, training, research and business development as part of the deal in procuring renewable energy.
21 September 2015
Built Environment commends Federal focus on cities
Since 2011, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has called for a nationally coordinated approach to cities. The Prime Minister’s announcement of a Minister for Cities and Built Environment is a welcome move that recognises the Federal Government’s role in and good urban policy and thriving cities.
“We welcome the Federal Government’s shift in policy on cities and urban communities. The Prime Minister has resoundingly articulated the value of cities and their vital contribution to Australia’s productivity and prosperity.” said Ken Maher, ASBEC President.
“The appointment of a Minister for Cities and Built Environment recognises the importance of integrating city policy planning and transport, and the significance of affordable housing.”
“ASBEC members and many built environment professionals have advocated for a Minister for Cities for some time. A long term focus on the “best outcomes in our cities” is so critical to ensuring that Australia continues to be a wonderful place to live and work.”
Read the full media release here.
20 September 2015
ASBEC welcomes Minister for Cities and Built Environment
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) congratulates the Prime Minister on his appointment of Hon Jamie Briggs MP as Minister for Cities and Built Environment.
Our cities and urban communities represent the economic drivers of the nation: providing homes for millions, delivering and exporting our goods and services, creating jobs, providing centres of cultural and social exchange and a door to the rest of the world.
“Australia’s cities are engines of growth. Leadership and coordination at a Federal level is vital to delivering greater productivity, prosperity and a better standard of living” said Suzanne Toumbourou, ASBEC Executive Director.
“ASBEC and its members have long called for a Minister for Cities. We very much look forward to working closely with Minister Briggs to leverage the strengths of industry and every sphere of government in helping to deliver more productive, liveable and sustainable cities.”
Read ASBEC’s Investing in Cities here.
14 September 2015
Welcome to ASBEC’s New Treasurer – Megan Motto!
In August, we said goodbye to Michael Manikas, who departed from his role as CEO of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, and thus concluded his role as ASBEC’s Treasurer.
Michael was terrifically attentive and supportive in his role as Treasurer, providing great stewardship of our finances. We thank Michael for his contribution and hope for his success in all his future!
ASBEC’s Treasurer is one of the three Office Bearers for the organisation, and forms part of the Executive Committee.
We are now very happy to welcome Megan Motto in this role. Megan is the CEO of Consult Australia and has previously served as ASBEC’s Deputy President.
Megan is a leading speaker in Australia and internationally on leadership, sustainability, workplace diversity and infrastructure financing and governance reform. She was named as one of the 2014 AFR/Westpac 100 Australian Women of Influence.
14 September 2015
New Web Portal to Support International Collaboration on Building Energy Codes
The International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), in partnership with the Global Building Performance Network (GBPN) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), launched the Building Energy Codes Portal to facilitate more efficient international exchange of practices and experiences in the implementation of building energy codes.
Effective implementation of energy codes ensures that buildings are built to code-required design, leading to the deployment of technologies and construction practices needed to realise the energy savings potential in the building sector. Capturing energy savings – roughly 53 exajoules per year by 2050, would deliver a range of benefits: lower electricity and fuel costs for businesses and households; greater reliability in meeting energy demand without costly disruptions; and reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants that pose a threat to human health.
The new web portal provides information and comparison of building energy code implementation practices in 22 countries across a range of topics. The site also features a newly-established network of experts to help link code practitioners and policymakers with code implementation resources and other professionals with relevant expertise.
Click here to read more about Building Energy Codes Portal.
3 September 2015
GRESB 2015 Report: Australia’s sustainable property portfolios continue to lead the world
Australia and New Zealand continue to lead the world in sustainable real estate practices, according to the latest GRESB report.
GRESB, the global real estate sustainability benchmark, assessed 707 property companies and private equity real estate funds globally, representing 61,000 assets and USD $2.3 trillion in asset value.
The Australia and New Zealand GRESB score of 69 was significantly higher than the global average of 56, a result welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Property Council of Australia.
According to GRESB, 93 per cent of our region’s companies and funds disclose their sustainability performance annually, compared with 85 per cent globally. Across Australia and New Zealand, more than half (54%) of the companies and funds obtained green building certificates like Green Star and 87 per cent have an energy rating, compared with 71 per cent globally.
Ninety one per cent of participants have introduced best practice leases that include sustainability-specific clauses, compared with 60 per cent globally.
26 August 2015
Victorian Government expands Victorian Energy Efficiency Target
The Victorian Government has confirmed its commitment to a sustainable economy by announcing ambitious energy efficiency targets for the next five years. These targets, which form part of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme, incentivise further investment in new energy technology and clean energy jobs. They also deliver cuts to household energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million tones.
The Government extended the next phase of the scheme from 3 years to 5 years, providing more certainty to industry. The government also ramped up the target by 20 per cent over 5 years, from 5.4 million certificates in 2016 to 6.5 million certificates in 2020.
The VEET announcement was made at Victoria’s first Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit, which brought together more than 200 manufacturers, energy efficiency businesses, the building and property sectors, local governments, energy retailers, environmental groups and energy consumers.
Resolutions from the Summit will help inform the Government’s development of its Energy Efficiency and Productivity Strategy. The Strategy, which is due for release later this year, will establish a tangible work program aimed at improving energy affordability, creating jobs and delivering a sustainable economy.
The Energy Efficiency Council welcomed the expansion of the VEET, noting that “the scheme will create jobs in Victoria and help homes and businesses save energy. The scheme makes it cheaper for homes to cut drafts and install efficient lights, heating systems and appliances.”
Read more about the VEET and Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit here.
Read the Energy Efficiency Council media release here.
25 August 2015
Sydney Opera House awarded for sustainability leadership
The Sydney Opera House was today awarded a 4 Star Green Star – Performance rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), putting the national icon among a select few World Heritage buildings that have achieved green certification globally.
The announcement was made jointly by NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant, Sydney Opera House Building Director Greg McTaggart, and GBCA Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew on stage in the Concert Hall – a key venue in the Opera House’s sustainability strategy.
The 4 Star Green Star rating, awarded for ‘best practice’ in the industry, is an extraordinary achievement for a heritage building. It will also be critical to the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal, a sequenced program of works to update the world-renowned performing arts centre for 21st century audiences, artists and visitors.
From the installation of new energy-efficient technologies in key performance venues to the use of eco-friendly cleaning products and a robust Reconciliation Action Plan, a wide range of both environmental and social sustainability initiatives across three core areas have contributed to the Opera House’s 4 Star rating.
1. Building management, encompassing energy efficiency, sustainable heritage design, green cleaning and indoor environmental quality.
2. Environmental management, incorporating building user engagement, operational waste management, monitoring & reporting and sustainable transport.
3. Social sustainability, including the development of its Reconciliation Action Plan and the launch of its Access Strategic Plan.
For further information about the Opera House’s track record, current commitments and future plans in sustainability, you can view its 2014 – 2016 Environmental Sustainability Plan online here.
Read the full media release here.
12 August 2015
Australia’s 2030 Emission Reduction Target
Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target has been announced, in preparation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) next meeting in Paris, and part of the Government’s plan to combat climate change.
Australia will commit to a 26-28 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.
The 2030 target will constitute a reduction of 50 per cent per head of population between 2005 and 2030, and a reduction of 64 per cent of emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2005 Australia’s greenhouse emissions were at 612 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (MtCO2-e). Australia’s 2020 target is a reduction to 533 million MtCO2-e. The Government’s 2030 target is 441-453 million MtCO2-e. The 2030 emission reduction target will require a yearly reduction of 0.9 per cent between 2010 and 2020 and a subsequent 1.6-1.9 per cent reduction every year between 2020 and 2030. In 2012-2013, Australia’s emissions were estimated to be 549 MtCO2-e.
In order to achieve the reduction target the Government has adopted a series of policies, part of its Direct Action plan. These include the Emissions Reduction Fund and its Safeguard Mechanism, the Renewable Energy Target scheme, application of Minimum Energy Performance Standards for new appliances and buildings and the 20 Million Trees programme.
The Government also announced it would consult with the public on various policy proposals. These include:
- Developing a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy;
- Prioritising a National Energy Productivity Plan, developed by the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Energy Ministers to increase energy productivity in Australia;
- Reviewing Australia’s emissions reduction policies between 2017 and 2018, including consultation with businesses and the community;
- Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons levels in household appliances; and
- Developing a strategy to improve the utilisation of solar power.
The Green Building Council of Australia has welcomed the Government’s commitment to address climate change but notes that more ambitious targets are required to meet Australia’s obligations and seize the opportunities of a low-carbon economy.
The Climate Change Authority recommends a 2025 target of 30 per cent below 2000 levels, with a further 40-60 per cent reduction by 2030. These recommendations align with those announced by other developed nations.
Analysis by ClimateWorks Australia has demonstrated that the energy intensity of buildings can be halved by 2050, and that Australia can achieve net zero emissions, by using technologies and processes that exist today.
Read the Australian Government statement here.
Read the GBCA media release here.
4 August 2015
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development outlines the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York in September. These goals are a product of a two-year UN process, involving stakeholder consultation and government negotiations.
The Goals include the following:
Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
The processes for monitoring, reporting and compliance are yet to be determined; likely to take shape over the next year.
Click here to read Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
24 July 2015
COAG Energy Council sets objectives for National Energy Productivity Plan
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council has agreed to common objectives in improving Australia’s energy productivity:
- to reduce costs for household and business energy users
- maintain our competitiveness
- grow Australia’s economy
- reduce carbon emissions, and
- improve our sustainability.
Noting that energy productivity measures can also drive a range of wider economic benefits, such as labour and capital productivity improvements to businesses and jobs in new services, the Council agreed in December 2014 to develop a new collaborative policy framework for energy productivity to ensure energy consumers can effectively manage and reduce their energy bills and are maximising the value of their energy to support a growing, competitive and sustainable economy.
The Commonwealth Government also announced in its April 2015 Energy White Paper a commitment to lead the development of a National Energy Productivity Plan (the NEPP).
In addition to collaborative measures, the NEPP may be broader, recognising opportunities in wider sectors, such as vehicles, and the roles played by the Commonwealth, all levels of government, industry and wider stakeholders.
Acknowledging the likely complementary nature of these two commitments and the benefit of a comprehensive national approach, the Council has agreed to work together with the Commonwealth to support the development of the NEPP as a coordinated national plan.
The Energy Efficiency Council’s CEO, Luke Menzel, welcomed this step as “a sensible step forward” and noting that the hard work of driving a step change in energy productivity is still ahead of us. ‘
Read the full COAG Energy Council Statement here.
Read the Energy Efficiency Council media release here.
15 July 2015
Queensland on the right track with Better Planning proposal
The Queensland Government’s Better Planning proposals are an important first step to delivering better strategic planning and development outcomes, critical to securing the future productivity and liveability of communities across the State.
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) welcomes a move by Queensland to implement a more effective strategic planning system, backed by a $59.4 million investment in the process.
“The Better Planning for Queensland reform proposal paves the way for more outcome-focussed, integrated strategic planning, supported by a stronger social licence for proposed urban renewal and infrastructure developments, supported by greater consistency in administration” said Jonathan Cartledge, Chair of ASBEC’s Cities Task Group.
“We encourage ongoing engagement with industry to ensure the Government’s vision is realised as reform is delivered.
“Ultimately the test for these reforms will lie in the implementation of a more ambitious infrastructure pipeline. Additional infrastructure funding will be critical in the longer-term to realise the benefits of better planning and greater productivity for Queensland.
“We look forward to working with the Government to explore new financing opportunities to support investment across the State for the benefit of all Queenslanders.”
Read the ASBEC media release here.
7 July 2015
Investing in Cities Essential for Productivity, Prosperity and a Better Standard of Living
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council today called for new investment in our cities recommending renewed action by all governments to increase the productivity, prosperity and liveability of Australia’s cities.
“With the release yesterday of the Australian Government’s long-awaited State of Australian Cities Report, the importance of investing in our cities has never been clearer“, said ASBEC President Ken Maher.
“Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised countries. With our cities growing so quickly, we need governments to deliver policies that maximise their value and protect the ‘liveability’ we are world-famous for. With this report ASBEC has delivered clear next steps for all spheres of government” said Ken.
“Poor urban policy and design causes more than just traffic jams and air pollution. We already know Australia is sitting on a $53 billion per year cost of congestion time bomb; imagine what that means for the quality of life of the average commuter, let alone lost productivity. The greatest value can be achieved from infrastructure investment if it is integrated with the planning and design of our cities.”
ASBEC calls on the Federal Government to provide national leadership and coordination through a Minister for Cities, supporting urban infrastructure investment with state and territory governments delivering projects, planning, and measuring success through clear indicators. Local Government retains their critical link to meet the needs of their communities and deliver best practice design and sustainable local urban environments. A partnership with industry across government will support this policy, providing the expertise to identify best practice and implement it on the ground.
“For example, The Urban Design Protocol, Creating Places for People, identifies factors key to good urban design, including engaging and connecting people with each other, and increasing liveability through the design of vibrant spaces that feel safe and are easy to get around. We need to see this protocol adopted across all spheres of government in Australia.” said Ken.
Jonathan Cartledge, Chair of ASBEC’s Cities Task Group said “With a record infrastructure spend it is inconceivable that we would not have a national focus on how to maximise the value of this investment for the cities in which we live work and play. This policy framework presents an opportunity for policy-makers to achieve multiple objectives across a wide range of portfolios whether in health, the environment, business or transport policy.”
“Governments and the private sector need to work together collaboratively to deliver a 30 year Infrastructure Plan for Australia, providing a blueprint for our cities as they grow. Consistent indicators are also needed to demonstrate the performance of our cities across the country, incentivise best practice and support long-term evidence-based policy development.”
“With so many Australians living in our cities, and so much of our health, economy and communities dependent on them, we need to act now.” said Jonathan.
Read the full ASBEC Media Release.
6 July 2015
Global coalition formed to unify construction measurement standards
Over 30 professional bodies from around the world, including the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors, met last week at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C. to launch a major initiative which seeks to create international standards in construction measurement.
The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) Coalition was established by non-profit organisations representing professionals in more than 140 countries. Collectively, the group aims to create overarching international standards that will harmonise cost, classification and measurement definitions in order to enhance comparability, consistency, statistics, and benchmarking of capital projects.
In an industry estimated to be worth a staggering $15 trillion by 2025 according to Global Construction Perspectives, inconsistency in something as fundamental as construction measurement and reporting can create huge uncertainty, misunderstanding, and risk.
The ICMS Coalition will continue to grow as further professional organisations come forward to join the effort to align high-level principles. By mid July 2015, the coalition will be formally launched. Industry corporations, contractors, and
key government stakeholders will also be encouraged to contribute to and lead adoption of the new international framework in their capital markets.
More information is available here.
30 June 2015
Sustainable buildings pay off for real estate investors – Carbon War Room
The Carbon War Room released a study finding a link between the sustainability of buildings and the stock market performance of real estate investment trusts (REITs).
The study, commissioned by Carbon War Room to the University of Cambridge, is titled The Financial Rewards of Sustainability: A Global Performance Study of Real the Estate Investment Trusts.
REITs own and frequently operate income-producing real estate – and represent an increasing focus of energy-efficiency and renewable energy stakeholders. Modeled after mutual funds, REITs allow anyone to invest in portfolios of large-scale properties and typically offer high yields, providing investors with regular income streams, diversification, and long-term capital appreciation.
For the purpose of this study, the University of Cambridge used a dataset provided by GRESB. The data comes from the GRESB Survey of more than 442 detailed sustainability ratings for global REITs, from the period 2011–2014. The 2014 GRESB Survey covered 56,000 buildings with an aggregate value of USD $2.1 trillion.
Read the study here.
22 June 2015
Billions of dollars to help fund public infrastructure ignored
According to a new report from integrated infrastructure firm AECOM and Consult Australia, billions of tax payer dollars are being put at risk by Commonwealth and State Governments who are failing to adopt more innovative funding models for transport infrastructure projects.
The indirect beneficiaries of projects in Australia, such as property owners located close to new train stations, receive a substantial unearned and untaxed financial windfall which are effectively subsidised by the public.
According to the report’s author and AECOM technical director, Joe Langley, a significant proportion of this could be captured to repay the loans or infrastructure bonds that are used to fund the project.
The AECOM and Consult Australia Value Capture Road Map identifies billions of dollars that could be lost if Australia continues to ignore the additional indirect value created as a result of publicly funded infrastructure.
In New South Wales there is over $60 billion worth of committed projects which the Government plans to fund from the leasing of public assets.
Read the full media release here.
Download the executive summary of the report here.
18 June 2015
City of Melbourne releases Preliminary Resilience Assessment
Melbourne is participating in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) challenge. This initiative is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century.
Since November, Melbourne’s Chief Resilience Officer has been working with leaders from 31 metropolitan Melbourne councils and representatives from emergency management, infrastructure, community services, health and academic sectors to help address the shared challenge of what we can do to protect and improve the way of life for Melbourne communities now and for the future.
The first Preliminary Resilience Assessment, outlines nine acute shocks and 11 stresses that could weaken the fabric of the city in the future. Many of these challenges are already on our radar including water scarcity and affordable housing. This assessment will be used to inform the development of Melbourne’s first Resilience Strategy.
Read the full report here.
17 June 2015
ASBEC Pathway to Sustainable and Productive Infrastructure
A report released by ASBEC calls for a clear pathway to sustainable and productive infrastructure. The report compiles the views of 35 key representatives of the building sector, government and academia.
“Australia needs sustainable and productive infrastructure – but our current infrastructure planning processes suffer from short term thinking, politicisation, and funding constraints. The solution is a truly visionary, 30 year plan that can spot the gaps and priorities across the nation.” said ASBEC President Ken Maher.
“We know infrastructure is vitally important to Australia’s economy. Right now, governments need to work collaboratively with the private-sector to release new funds for infrastructure investment based on independent, transparent advice supported by broad cost-benefit analysis.”
“This investment is needed to ensure business investment can support our growing population and the changing realities of a society where household energy consumption and car use is declining, while extreme weather events become more common through the impact of Climate Change.”
“But there are major challenges we must overcome. Politicians find it hard to look beyond the 3 or 4 year election timetable, whilst taking too long to make critical infrastructure decisions, with scoping projects and tender processes stretching the timetable out to years. We need to take the long view. Infrastructure Australia plans to release a 15 year plan, but we believe a 30 year plan would better.”
ASBEC has identified that the pathway to the productive, sustainable infrastructure Australia needs should include:
- A 30 Year Infrastructure Plan developed by Infrastructure Australia with 5 year review cycles, augmented by a National Spatial Masterplan.
- Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement informing the design and delivery of the Infrastructure Plan, founded in collaboration between community, industry and government.
- Five Pathways guiding the implementation of the plan: Engagement, Planning, Decision, Funding and Execution.
Download the full ASBEC media release.
25 May 2015
Australia Award for Urban Design – Nominations Open
The Australia Award for Urban Design is the premier award for excellence and innovation in all elements of urban design in Australia. The winning project, partners and stakeholders are held in high esteem within the industry, among peers, and they are widely recognised in the media.
The Award intent and scope is broad and invites entries for design initiatives, projects, built developments, and publications, that will make a significant difference to the places, spaces, buildings and infrastructure of our cities
Entries close at 4pm on Thursday 30 July. A one-day urban design forum that will coincide with the AAUD presentation will be held in Melbourne in mid-September.
The Australia Award for Urban Design is hosted by the Planning institute Australia, with support from the Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Green Building Council of Australia, Consult Australia, the Australian Urban Design Forum, Engineers Australia and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council.
Download the 2015 Nomination Kit here.
22 May 2015
NSW Green Globe nominations now open
NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman has called for nominations for the 16th Green Globe Awards, celebrating outstanding environmental achievements across NSW.
“The Green Globe Awards are NSW’s biggest and most important sustainability awards, with 17 award categories covering a range of resource, business, community and individual sustainability initiatives,” Mr Speakman said.
“This year we’ve added a new Residential Sustainability Award to showcase property owners, architects and builders who are creating comfortable homes that work with their environment.”
The Awards will be presented at a gala night hosted by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in early October.
Nominations are open until Monday 13 July 2015.
To enter your project or program, go to environment.nsw.gov.au/greenglobes.
21 May 2015
Energy Efficiency Council appoints new CEO
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), Australia’s peak body for energy efficiency, cogeneration and demand management, has appointed Luke Menzel as CEO.
Luke was Acting CEO of the EEC in 2014, and has played a central role at the EEC since he joined in 2012 as the Manager, Sector Development.
The former CEO, Rob Murray-Leach, taken on a new role, focussing on policy as the new Executive, Policy and Advocacy.
Rob Murray-Leach was the founding CEO of the EEC from 2009 to 2015. During his leadership the Council developed rapidly, and drove major gains for the sector, including tripling annual investment in energy efficiency in government operations.
Read more here.
19 May 2015
NABERS partners with GRESB to improve sustainability performance in the real estate sector
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has announced a formal partnership with GRESB, the leading global standard for portfolio-level sustainability assessment in real estate.
GRESB assesses environmental, social, and governance (ESG) attributes and performance of property funds around the world. In 2014, GRESB covered 637 funds representing AUD2.7 trillion in property value. The GRESB benchmark addresses issues including corporate sustainability strategy, policies and objectives, environmental performance monitoring, and the use of high-quality voluntary rating tools such as NABERS.
NABERS is the most widely used building rating tool in Australia, with over 2,000 accredited ratings every year, including ratings for offices, hotels, shopping centres and data centres. The program has also been licensed in New Zealand. The 2014 GRESB Survey results confirmed that Australia and New Zealand lead the world in overall sustainability performance.
For information on GRESB, and how to participate in the 2015 Survey, please go to www.gresb.com.
For further information on NABERS, please contact Frank Roberson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 May 2015
Climate Bonds and NABERS open doors for Australian property owners into international bond finance
The Climate Bonds Standard for Low Carbon Green Buildings has been launched and Australian buildings are in an unmatched position to lead the world in attracting low-carbon investment. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is pleased to announce that a NABERS Energy rating report is immediately suitable as acceptable data for reporting under the Climate Bonds Standard.
The Climate Bonds Standard is a Fair Trade-like labelling scheme for bonds, designed to make it easier for investors to work out what sorts of investments genuinely contribute to addressing climate change.
This means that Australian commercial property owners now have the opportunity to leverage the low carbon credentials of their buildings to attract new and competitive sources of funds from large scale institutional investors seeking low carbon investment options.
To qualify for a Climate Bonds certification for Low Carbon Green Buildings, proceeds must be dedicated to buildings that are able to demonstrate very low carbon emissions in operation for the life of the bond. Specifically, these buildings must be in the best 15% of buildings in a local market when it comes to carbon intensity (kgCO2/m2). This carbon intensity is published on each NABERS Energy rating report as a supplementary indicator to the NABERS Energy rating.
The demand for environmentally responsible investment has been growing in both Australia and overseas and fuelled the rapid growth the green bonds market, which trebled in size in 2014. The first Climate Bond issued by NAB (AUD $300m) in 2014 doubled in size due to strong investor demand. More broadly, at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014 investors representing USD$43 trillion of assets under management made public commitments to climate related investment.
More detail on the new Climate Bonds Standard for Low Carbon Green Buildings is available here.
26 April 2015
Nobel Laureates call for Great Urban Transformation to tackle sustainability challenge
At the 4th Nobel Laureates Symposium on Global Sustainability, Nobel Laureates signed a memorandum calling upon cities to tackle the dual challenge of population growth and climate change and seize the opportunity to lead the transition to sustainability.
The distinguished scientists noted that cities around the globe need to re-invent themselves if they want to be a safe home for generations to come, and that national and internationally agreed greenhouse-gas reduction targets need to guide and support local action.
Read the full memorandum here.
Read the media release from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research here.
25 April 2015
How to Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value
Rocky Mountain Institute offers a practice guide for calculating and presenting the true value of a highly efficient and sustainable building.
Energy efficiency projects in the United States and around the world are attractive investments, but receive far less attention and capital than they deserve. This is in part due to a narrow definition of their value that typically focuses on saved energy costs. Investors often ignore additional value—a robust land of untapped opportunity that sits just beneath the surface of the saved-energy-cost tip of the value iceberg—to their own financial detriment. Including all value created by highly efficient buildings when investing will enable more low-energy buildings and retrofits—particularly deep retrofits.
Deep retrofit value is the net present value of all of the benefits of a deep energy and sustainability investment. The Deep Retrofit Value Guide documents the compelling logic of how deep energy efficiency and sustainability retrofits create value and introduces RMI’s Deep Retrofit Value models, providing the foundational methodology necessary to calculate and present value to retrofit decision makers.
The Deep Retrofit Value guide is the latest instalment of resources RMI provides for driving the greater adoption of deep energy retrofits. The Retrofit Depot Guides to Managing and Identifying Opportunities for Deep Retrofits are available to plan and implement your deep retrofit. Also available are the RMI-partner Green Building Finance Consortium which houses Value Beyond Cost Savings: How to Underwrite Sustainable Properties and an extensive Research Library where you can find any study relevant to building the investment case for efficient and sustainable buildings. Visit the Retrofit Community page to view a list of other organisations that provide valuable resources for deep retrofits.
24 April 2015
US Congress passes Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015
On 21 April, the US House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill focussed on improving energy efficiency in buildings and water heaters.
The bill is intended to create incentives for federal mortgage writers to incorporate energy-efficient heating and cooling systems into the value of a home, establish training programs in energy-efficiency construction, create programs to increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing supply chains, and direct the Energy Department to work with manufacturers on energy-efficient technology.
Read the full details on the Congress website.
Read an article outlining the bill in the New York Times.
16 April 2015
GBCA partners with online school to boost sustainability skills
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has forged a new partnership with the Australian Supply Chain Sustainability School to fast-track the industry’s green skills.
The Australian Supply Chain Sustainability School, launched in March, is an online learning forum designed to help the construction sector build critical mass and expand its sustainability knowledge and skills base.
This national initiative, based on the successful Supply Chain School currently operating in the UK, is being supported by a number of industry leaders and funded by the state governments of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Read more here.
13 April 2015
Sustainability Victoria intends to sell FirstRate5
On 22 April 2015, Sustainability Victoria (SV) will release a Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from parties to own, maintain and distribute the FirstRate5 House Energy Rating Software.
Interested parties will be encouraged to provide submissions which will be evaluated by an independent panel. SV will seek to ensure that the new owner is willing to maintain and improve Firstrate5 while continuing to provide ongoing support to users.
Successful respondents will subsequently be invited to engage in a closed Request for Tender (RFT) process.
The public Call for Expressions of Interest will be available online at www.tenders.vic.gov.au for a period of five weeks, from 22 April and closing on 27 May 2015.
Read more here.
13 April 2015
CSIRO and BOM launch climate change tool for impact assessment and adaptation planning
CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released an online tool to assist in understanding and applying climate change projections for impact assessment and adaptation planning.
Climate Change in Australia is designed to show projections from up to 40 climate models for different regions, years and emissions scenarios, providing unprecedented access to climate change projection data.
8 April 2015
Australian Government releases Energy White Paper
The Australian Government has released the Energy White Paper, aimed at providing certainty and confidence in energy policy.
The White Paper sets out a policy framework that aims to deliver competitively priced and reliable energy supply to households, business and international markets. The main themes are:
- Increasing competition to keep prices down:
- Implementing energy market reforms in collaboration with the States and Territories
- Rolling out cost-reflective tariffs to reduce cross-subsidies between consumers
- Encouraging further privatisation of state-owned electricity assets
- Conducting an assessment of competition in the national wholesale gas market
- Increasing energy productivity to promote growth
- Aiming to improve national energy productivity by up to 40 per cent by 2013
- Developing a National Energy Productivity Plan
- Investing in Australia’s energy future
- Streamlining the approval and regulation of energy resources projects
- Attracting foreign investment into Australia’s energy sector
- Improving workforce productivity and enhancing the quality of skills and training
- Increasing research into innovative technology that supports the energy and resources
The Energy Efficiency Council has welcomed the Government’s decision to make Energy Productivity one of its top three energy priorities, highlighting key areas that should be addressed to unlock energy productivity:
- Take urgent action on tariff reform.
- Save over $1 billion of taxpayers’ dollars over two decades by improving the energy efficiency of government agencies.
- Retain and strengthen the Commercial Building Disclosure program, which helps prospective buyers and tenants find efficient buildings.
- Establish programs to help industry save energy.
- Carry out long-overdue reforms to Australia’s energy markets to reduce the supply-side bias that have resulted in excess generation capacity and gold-plating of the grid.
- Increasing competition to keep prices down:
31 March 2015
GBCA and GBIG partner to share data and showcase Australian certified green buildings
A new partnership between the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the US-based Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) will showcase Australia’s flourishing green building capabilities to global investors and decision-makers.
GBIG is an online platform featuring data and case studies on green building projects, portfolios, people and places around the world.
GBIG currently includes 1.3 million activities representing more than 200 types of certifications, awards, case studies and disclosures in over 5,000 geographic locations. Professionals can use this information to understand markets and drive projects toward higher levels of achievement and performance. GBIG complements the GBCA’s Green Star project directory.
28 March 2015
Moving People, Connecting Neighbourhoods: The 20 minute city
The Bus Industry Confederation has released a policy paper entitled Moving People, Connecting Neighborhoods: The 20 Minute City.
A ‘20 minute city’ is one in which most people are able to undertake most activities needed for a good life within a 20 minute walk, cycle or public transport trip from where they live. Transport is a very important lever for taking action to achieve a metropolitan area that consists of a series of smaller 20 minute cities, each of which might comprise one or more neighbourhoods. The paper focuses mainly on the roles of density, supportive public transport requirements and walking in achievement of the 20 minute city.
This paper puts forward that a neighbourhood structure embedded in a 20 minute city, with good local and regional transport choices, is likely to promote many positive outcomes in terms of personal and societal wellbeing, enhance liveability (which is already a strong international brand for our cities), as well as being cost effective to service and supportive of increased economic productivity. Flow on effects will include lower traffic congestion levels, improved health outcomes, lower accident costs, reduced emissions (greenhouse gases and air pollutants) and greater social inclusion.
26 March 2015
Positive impacts of high performance buildings needs more promotion
The positive effects of high performance buildings on people’s health, wellbeing and productivity needs much greater public promotion, leading building industry partners of the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s Closing the Loop Project concluded following workshops held in conjunction with the Green Cities 2015 conference.
Internationally renowned green design architect and researcher Professor Vivian Loftness of Carnegie Mellon University, who spoke at the conference and took part in the workshops, outlined the power of implementing the triple bottom line plus the financial, environmental and human benefits of good design choices.
Brett Pollard, Head of Knowledge and Sustainability at HASSELL said that there was plentiful research and evidence from academic experts such as Professor Vivian Loftness, however the message about the benefits was still not getting through to people who are procuring buildings. “Ultimately if you construct a building that does not take advantage of the evidence, organisations and businesses are missing out on the opportunity to create workplaces that are healthier and more effective,” he said.
Lauren Haas, Australasia Sustainability Manager for Brookfield Multiplex added: “For business, a low performance building can mean disengaged employees with low performance, higher levels of absenteeism and many thousands of dollars wasted per year in lost productivity. If office workers, students or patients in hospitals are more informed about what can be achieved through high performance buildings they can help drive demand for these buildings.”
The Closing the Loop project will continue to work with leaders like Vivian Loftness and other industry partners to develop measures such as public promotion of high performance buildings to that our built environment and its occupants have positive outcomes for business and the community.
Read more about the Closing the Loop project here.
25 March 2015
Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year
Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment. The report identifies specific smarter growth policies that can lead to healthier, safer and wealthier communities in both developed and developing countries.
The report, Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl – written for the New Climate Economy by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, in partnership with LSE Cities—details planning and market distortions that foster sprawl, and smart growth policies that can help correct these distortions.
Read the full report here.
Read more about the New Climate Economy here.
19 March 2015
GBCA partners with GRESB to ensure world-class benchmarking
The Green Building Council of Australia has formed a new partnership with GRESB, the leading global sustainability benchmark for real estate portfolios, to advance reporting on environmental, social and economic performance in Australia’s real estate sector.
The partnership allows Australia to play a meaningful role in the global discussion around benchmarking, and will provide investors with more reliable data on energy efficiency and sustainability to inform their decision-making.
GRESB assesses the environmental, social and governance performance of property funds globally, including corporate sustainability strategy, policies and objectives, environmental performance monitoring, and the use of high-quality voluntary rating systems such as Green Star.
In 2014, GRESB covered 637 funds representing $2.1 trillion in property value. Australia had 44 participants, with a gross asset value of $131 billion. The 2014 GRESB results confirmed Australia and New Zealand lead in overall performance, with Lend Lease and ISPT announced in a list of 11 global leaders.
Read more about this partnership here.
11 March 2015
ClimateWorks: Australia can double its energy productivity
Australia could nearly double its energy productivity by 2030, with half the potential increase achieved through energy efficiency activities in our homes, offices, buildings, vehicles and industries. This includes simple measures like using LED lighting and more efficient heating and cooling systems to the automation of some industrial processes and improving energy data systems.
A new report by Climate Works Australia has found that energy productivity could dramatically increase without major structural changes to the economy, using available technologies. This would deliver significant benefits to the economy and a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The report found Australia could increase its economic output from 24.3 cents of GDP in 2010 to 47.9 cents of GDP in 2030 – a 97 per cent improvement. A further 36 per cent of the potential can be realised by switching from old fossil fuel generation to more efficient technologies such as gas co-generation and renewables and reducing energy losses that occur through the energy distribution process.
ClimateWorks says an ambitious national energy productivity target similar to the one introduced in the United States would help accelerate improvements across the economy.
Energy efficiency is generally a cost saving, and while increasing electrification and moving away from old fossil fuel power stations involves increased investment today, these costs are continuing to fall.
Read more about Australia’s Energy Productivity Potential and download the report here.
3 March 2015
IEA report: Energy efficiency combined with decarbonised power can reduce building emissions by 75%
Buildings are the largest energy consuming sector in the world, and account for over one-third of total final energy consumption and an equally important source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Achieving significant energy and emissions reduction in the buildings sector is a challenging but achievable policy goal.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Transition to Sustainable Buildings presents detailed scenarios and strategies to 2050, and demonstrates how to reach deep energy and emissions reduction through a combination of best available technologies and intelligent public policy.
This IEA study is a guide for decision makers, providing informative insights on:
- cost-effective options, key technologies and opportunities in the buildings sector;
- solutions for reducing electricity demand growth and flattening peak demand;
- effective energy efficiency policies and lessons learned from different countries;
- future trends and priorities for ASEAN, Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States;
- implementing a systems approach using innovative products in a cost effective manner;
- pursuing whole-building (e.g. zero energy buildings) and advanced component policies to initiate a fundamental shift in the way energy is consumed.
Key near-term recommendations for the buildings sector include:
- Aggressive measures and policies to encourage renovation and energy efficiency improvements need to be implemented to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
- Moving to a secure and sustainable energy system will require the widespread deployment of existing, fully commercial technologies and the further development of a range of new technologies, which are currently at different stages of maturity.
- Achieving significant energy and CO2 emissions reduction is a challenging policy goal. Ensuring that all available options are tapped will require unprecedented effort and co-ordination among a diverse set of stakeholders, including policy makers, technology developers and household consumers, with often conflicting goals.
This publication is part of the Energy Technology Perspectives series and one of three end-use studies, together with industry and transport, which looks at the role of technologies and policies in transforming the way energy is used.
Read the full Transition to Sustainable Buildings report here.
Visit the IEA website for interactive tools and more extensive data coverage www.iea.org/etp/buildings
2 March 2015
Consult Australia demonstrates the economic benefits of better procurement practices
Australia’s federal, state and local governments can free up an estimated $2.5 billion in additional funds over the next 15 years through improved purchasing decisions and processes for professional services supporting infrastructure delivery.
A new report, Economic Benefits of Better Procurement Practices, commissioned by Consult Australia, and undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics, finds significant savings for governments just by buying smarter.
The report has found that direct savings of around 5.4% can be achieved across governments’ procurement of professional services supporting the delivery of new infrastructure, with flow-on savings estimated at up to $87 million per year.
The report identifies seven next steps to shift the direction of procurement. This includes establishing procurement teams with a mix of skills, reallocating resources to better focus on project objectives and removing contract clauses that do not stack up. The report also calls for the development and application of limited liability guidelines, verification of brief information and streamlining compliance processes. Governments should also evaluate and adapt procurement frameworks to encourage innovation.
Read the full Consult Australia media release here.
Read Economic Benefits of Better Procurement Practices here.
24 February 2015
Insulation Australasia Backs Call for Building Industry Reform
Insulation Australasia (IA) has welcomed the findings of a hard-hitting government report, which calls for wide-ranging reforms to Australia’s culture of ‘non-compliance’ at all levels of the building industry.
Australia’s building industry, including domestic constructions and additions, as well as many sectors of commercial development, are falling short of mandatory performance standards – with dramatic consequences on the energy efficiency of the country’s built environment.
The release of the ‘National Energy Efficiency Building Project’ Final Report, a 260-page examination of the building industry in relation to construction practices and code compliance, vindicates hearsay that energy efficiency is frequently a sacrificial lamb to expediency and cost cutting.
The report, produced by consultants pitt&sherry in conjunction with Swinburne University of Technology for Department of Development – Government of South Australia (for all States and Territories), identified shortcomings at all levels of building construction, including inadequate or highly subjective energy efficiency assessments, product switching and materials substitution, poor initial planning guidelines regarding ‘best practice’, weaknesses in Codes based on ‘as designed’ rather than ‘as built’ outcomes, poor monitoring of projects for Code compliance, and inadequate customer knowledge or awareness.
IA supports tough initiatives to address poor practices throughout the building industry, and ultimately improve energy efficiency as a means of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. IA, therefore, supports the report’s recommendations for an overhaul of the entire industry, including mandatory product certification (testing as well as labelling), tighter documentation of full-project Code-compliance, rigorous scrutiny of adherence to specifications, and limited divergence from approved designs.
Meaningful reform will pose tremendous challenges, as a high degree of cooperation will be needed between different agencies, peak bodies and the wider building community to overturn current poor practices.
Read full media release from Insulation Australasia here.
19 February 2015
UK brings in new laws to upgrade energy efficiency in rental properties
Under new legislation in the UK, landlords will be required by law to bring the energy efficiency rating of their property to a standard (“Band E”) energy performance rating by 2018.
Financial support is available through the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, to support improvement efforts.
The UK Government estimates this legislation will enable up to 1 million tenants in rental properties to benefit from warmer homes that cost less to heat.
See media release from the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change here.
16 February 2015
ASBEC welcomes new Queensland Government commitment to build resilience
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) welcomes the new government of Queensland and their commitment to ensure planning schemes address the risks of natural disasters and climate change.
In their policy platform, the Queensland ALP committed to working with Local Government “to ensure that planning schemes appropriately respond to the risks posed by natural disasters and climate change”.
“We welcome the fact that the incoming government of Queensland takes the risks of natural disasters and climate change seriously,” said ASBEC Executive Officer Suzanne Toumbourou.
“An increase in general temperatures, due to climate change, has been predicted across Australia, with an ensuing upsurge in extreme weather events. Queensland has suffered many such events in recent years, including bushfires, drought, storms and floods.”
The built environment is at significant risk from the impacts of climate change and related extreme weather events. The estimated overall replacement cost for Australia’s built environment is in excess of $5.4 trillion with significant economic, social and environmental risks.
“Australia’s continuing prosperity is dependent on our resilience to these events. ASBEC’s Built Environment Adaptation Framework outlines the ways that federal, state, territory and local governments, industry, academia and the community sector can deliver effective resilience and adaptation strategies.”
ASBEC is calling for a review and reform of existing regulation to remove barriers to climate change adaption, as well as an integration of climate change considerations into strategic planning and planning policy measures to provide certainty for industry and the community.
“Managing risk in the built environment is absolutely crucial and ASBEC’s Built Environment Adaptation Framework provides a plan of action for all sectors. We look forward to engaging constructively with the new Queensland government as they work to achieve this.”
13 February 2015
Date for the first Emissions Reduction Fund auction
12 February 2015
Tony Arnel named new Energy Efficiency Council President
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) today announced the appointment of Tony Arnel to the position of EEC President.
The EEC is Australia’s peak body for energy efficiency, cogeneration and demand management. Mr Arnel assumes the reigns from Rob Thomson, who has stepped down as President after almost two years in the role.
Mr Arnel is Global Director of Sustainability at leading engineering consultancy firm Norman Disney & Young. He is currently a trustee of the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, an initiative of the Melbourne City Council created to accelerate the retrofitting of existing buildings by making funding available to building owners. He is the former Chair of both the Green Building Council of Australia and of the World Green Building Council. Between 2000 and 2012 he served as the Victorian Building Commissioner.
Over the past decade Mr Arnel has been a leader in the Australian and international efficiency debate, advocating for efficient buildings as a means of reducing emissions and improving economic growth.
Read more here.
12 February 2015
ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index names Frankfurt #1
The ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index explores the three demands of People, Planet and Profit to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world’s leading cities.
European cities come top of the overall rankings, with Frankfurt in first place, followed by London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Whilst no Australian cities made it into the top ten, Sydney was ranked at #11 and Melbourne #17.
In a rapidly urbanising world, the way in which cities are planned, built, operated and redefined has a huge social, environmental and economic impact. City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work in, whilst also limiting their damage to the environment.
The research examines 50 cities from 31 countries ranking them across a range of indicators to estimate the sustainability of each city. The index categories are:
- People – social performance including quality of life
- Planet – environmental factors like energy emissions and pollution
- Profit – business environment and economic performance
In total, 20 input indicators were taken into account to compile the Sustainable Cities Index, comprising nine for the People sub-index; six for the Planet sub-index and six for the Profit sub-index (property prices appearing twice).
ARCADIS is a global natural and built asset design & consultancy firm, supporting UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.
For more information, go to the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index website.
Download the full report here.
11 February 2015
Green Cities – the Colour of Money
Now, more than ever, people want to know where their ‘stuff’ comes from, how projects are bankrolled, and where funds are invested.
The demand for transparency is sending shockwaves along entire supply chains. Selling a product – whether that’s a pair of shoes or a building – is no longer about ‘biggest, fastest, cheapest’, but also about what is best for people and best for the planet.
In this context, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) has become the short-hand for responsible investing. The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which now reports on US$2.1 trillion in value, finds that more than half of those companies surveyed include certified green buildings in their portfolios.
The signposts are all pointing in one direction – towards the colour of money being green.
At Green Cities 2015 the ‘Show me the Money’ session will present advisors and analysts, who will share how they’re valuing investments and why their investors are taking sustainability seriously.
The world is interconnected, and investors increasingly understand that ESG is the next evolution of investment. Connect with us to explore these issues at Green Cities 2015. www.greencities.org.au
2 February 2015
Celebrated architect Ken Maher, new president of ASBEC
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) announces the appointment of their new president Ken Maher – a leading architect and Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of NSW.
Professor Maher is a past Chairman and current Fellow of multi-disciplinary architecture and design firm HASSELL, and a recipient of the Australian Institute of Architecture’s highest accolade, the AIA Gold Medal, as well as the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ Australian Award for Landscape Architecture. His long standing commitment to a sustainable future is evidenced through his role as a founding board member of the Green Building Council, and his commitment to the value of design excellence in the built environment has been recognised through several Sulman Medals and Sir Zelman Cohen awards for projects he has lead within HASSELL.
“I’m delighted and honoured to accept the presidency of ASBEC which is unique as the peak collaborative forum for organisations that champion sustainable, productive and resilient buildings, communities and cities.” said Professor Maher.
“ASBEC’s current focus is on informing the future of cities and regions through understanding the role of resilience, developing a sustainable built environment framework, informing sustainable housing and infrastructure, as well as ensuring appropriate skills development – all crucial to a sustainable built environment for the future at a time when climate change is clearly having an increasing impact.”
“I look forward to working with the leaders in the built environment sector to deliver policy, research, dialogue and actions to improve the value of the places we inhabit.”
In acknowledging the excellent work of outgoing president The Hon. Tom Roper over the past six years Professor Maher noted “Tom has overseen the operational revitalisation of ASBEC and many of the organisation’s most significant and influential initiatives including the Second Plank Report, the Built Environment Climate Change Adaptation Framework, and an Industry Roadmap for Net Zero Emission Homes.”
“In recognition of his time, wisdom and phenomenal dedication to the progress of a sustainable built environment, am delighted to announce ASBEC’s council have voted to make Mr Roper a Life Fellow of the organisation.”
Professor Ken Maher will commence as President of ASBEC on 3 February.
Download the ASBEC media release here.
19 January 2015
The Energivie Manifesto: Buildings at the heart of the energy transition
The Alsace Energivie Competitiveness Cluster has released a high level platform on how the building and construction sector can effectively boost CO2 and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.
Given that the building and construction sector accounts for about 35% of the world’s CO2 production and more than 40% in OECD countries, there is great potential for emission reductions.
The Energivie Manifesto: Buildings at the core of the Energy Transition, developed by a panel of 22 international experts including the Planning Institute of Australia and CRC for Low Carbon Living, sets out to propose practical recommendations to scale up the investment needed to achieve dramatic change.
The manifesto outlines six key targets:
- Reinforcing multi-stakeholder perspectives (public and private sectors, NGOs, civil society, etc.)
- Identifying and supporting industrial innovation, whatever its scale and whatever the size of the companies concerned
- Reaching our goals and obtaining universally-applicable results through a focus on local solutions
- Acting now before scaling up to the next level and planning for the future
- Recognizing the need for result-oriented codes and standards able to develop over time, their application and monitoring
- Connecting knowledge, skills and professional networks
Forty proposals are also listed, including:
- Define clear and operational CO2-limitation-oriented targets
- Recognize that building stock is a key component of CO2 reduction
- Embark on the 3 stages in the green construction improvement process
- Prioritize lifecycle assessment of building materials
- Harmonize norms and standards
- Include values other than just energy cost savings in the retrofit decision making process
- Locate new developments in places that are accessible to high capacity transit
- Move from a building to a district dimension
- Ensure that building and construction are not treated solely on the basis of ndividual projects, but on a city-wide scale
- Redefine the role of building and construction professionals
Download the full Manifesto here.
15 January 2015
VBA Case Studies on Energy Efficient Home Renovations
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has released case studies that provide information on planning and design for home renovation projects, outlining:
- high performing energy efficient design with a significantly better Star Rating can be delivered within the typical home renovation project budget
- improved energy efficiency will contribute to lower fuel bills, enhanced comfort and liveability, not to mention potentially higher resale value when it’s time to move
- the building designer focuses attention on insulation levels; window detailing, sizing and location; internal zoning, location of living areas; effective sealing and weather-stripping
- water efficiency improvements are simple to incorporate into the renovation design with an increasingly wide range of suitable products available.
The case studies are based on the two most predominant building styles for typical home renovations in metropolitan Melbourne.
Read more and download the case studies here.
13 January 2015
National Energy Efficient Building Report highlights industry concerns with effectiveness of National Construction Code
The National Energy Efficient Building Project (NEEBP), released the Phase 1 National Energy Efficient Building Report this month, highlighting stakeholder concerns that compliance with the National Construction Code’s energy performance requirements is generally poor, and that Australia’s energy performance is far from best practice.
Despite many positive trends in building energy efficiency in Australia, including increased availability and affordability of energy efficient buildings, both in the residential and commercial sector, stakeholders feel that compliance is poor and building energy performance is very much short of best practice. This results in higher energy use, higher emissions and higher overall costs for owners and occupiers.
Phase II of this project, which will run until June 2015, will focus on improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings during construction and renovation.
This work is led by the South Australian Department of State Development on behalf of the Australian Government and all States and Territories.
Read more about the National Energy Efficient Building Project here.
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