19 November 2014
UNEP Publication on Climate Finance for Cities and Buildings
UNEP’s new publication Climate Finance for Cities and Buildings: A Handbook for Local Governments aims to help raise awareness among local stakeholders regarding the challenges and opportunities for climate finance in the urban environment.
The lead authors of this UNEP Handbook are from ENERGIES 2050, a non-profit NGO working at both the local and global level, to realise and share best practice from the transition towards a sustainable energy future.
19 November 2014
Australian Energy Market Commission simplifies connection for small generators
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has made a rule change aimed at simplifying the connection process for small generators under five megawatts. This change should enable green buildings to connect to the grid.
See AEMC infographic here.
18 November 2014
Vale sustainability champion Chris Reardon
16 November 2014
G20 signs up to Energy Efficiency Action Plan
Recognising that increased collaboration on energy efficiency can drive economic activity and productivity, strengthen energy security and improve environmental outcomes, G20 members signed up to an energy efficiency action plan this week.
Key actions to progress efforts in the building sector include:
- Establishing a new IPEEC Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group to engage with the international finance community and develop options for promoting the flow of private and public capital to energy efficiency investments.
- Working together to take forward recent IPEEC Building Energy Efficiency Task Group (BEET) recommendations, including by furthering collaboration on best practices in national building codes, metrics, rating, labelling and disclosure.
Read the Action Plan.
13 November 2014
ACT Solar Auction wins Australia’s most prestigious sustainability award
The ACT Government has won the prestigious Banksia Gold Award for their Solar Auction.
The ACT Solar Auction is an innovative reverse auction process which has set a new national standard for feed-in tariff allocation and affordable renewable energy.
Big congratulations to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate for their leadership in this impressive work!
11 November 2014
ASBEC supports the Commercial Building Disclosure Program
An independent review of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program is being undertaken, in order to assess Program’s objectives, the effectiveness of the program in promoting energy efficiency and its interaction with the Emissions Reduction Fund.
The Review will provide recommendations on funding, governance, possible extension and “the merits of continuing the program or not, both in terms of the public interest as well as the private interest of property owners and tenants”.
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) supports the objectives of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program and the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) that supports this program.
The CBD Program facilitates transparency of energy efficiency information, using the robust NABERS methodology. This is an important program that addresses the vast number of office accommodation in cities around Australia, using market forces to drive better performing, energy efficient buildings.
Raising awareness of a building’s performance creates a market incentive for tenants to look for higher-performing buildings and for building owners to upgrade stock. This leads to improvements in energy efficiency, reductions in GHG emissions, improved industry capacity and can act as an ongoing industry stimulus.
ASBEC was involved in the development and launch of the initial NABERS program and we encourage the Government ensure the CBD Program is continued and improved, to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness.
ASBEC notes that there are some differences at a technical level, including the tenancy lighting assessment, between industry stakeholders and encourages the Government to consult with individual professional and industry organisations to ensure that alignment can be found on these technical elements.
27 October 2014
Australia’s first green bonds released by Stockland
Stockland has launched a 300 million green bond on Thursday, with proceeds to be invested in green building projects that achieve a minimum 4 Star Green Star rating from the GBCA.
Stockland announced that the green bonds will fund investment in the development and redevelopment of Green Star-rated retail, commercial, residential and retirement living projects.
Read more here.
8 October 2014
Property Council launches City Deals report
Australian infrastructure planners should look to UK ‘City Deals’ as a vehicle for lifting economic productivity, according to new research released today by the Property Council of Australia.
UK City Deals are a formal agreement between the UK central government and a region aimed at boosting economic growth and productivity through a shared infrastructure deal.
The Introducing UK City Deals report prepared by KPMG for the Property Council outlines the benefits of this approach for Australian policy makers, including urban productivity, liveability dividends, governance and revenue optimisation.
Click HERE to read more and download the full report.
30 September 2014
ASBEC Calls for Distributed Generation Commissioner
Australia’s peak body of organisations committed to a sustainable built environment has called on federal, state and local governments to work together to maintain the Renewable Energy Target and appoint a Commissioner to support the rollout of distributed generation in Australia.
“Significant opportunities exist to make energy more affordable, improve energy productivity, increase system diversity and resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, through distributed generation,” said the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s President, Tom Roper.
Distributed generation includes solar photovoltaic, cogeneration, trigeneration and district energy systems.
“In addition to maintaining the Renewable Target, a Commissioner should be appointed to focus on the removal of regulatory barriers and inconsistent standards, and create a viable market for renewable and distributed generation resources.”
Reforms to energy market regulations and other policies are essential to unlock the potential of distributed generation and ensure that benefits are delivered to consumers.
“If they are rolled out in an effective way, a diverse mix of distributed generation technologies would protect homes and businesses from rising fuel costs and reduce energy bills.”
Read ASBEC’s Platform on Distributed Generation here.
Download ASBEC’s media release here.
24 September 2014
Australian Federal Opposition announces Shadow Minister for Cities
The Australian Federal Opposition has announced that that Minister Anthony Albanese will have Shadow Minister for Cities formally added to his title, to emphasise Labor’s priority in implementing urban policy which drives productivity, sustainability and liveability in Australia’s cities.
Minister Albanese addressed the National Press Club on 24 September on the on the topic of “A National Agenda for More Productive, Sustainable and Liveable Cities”.
See transcript here.
23 September 2014
GBCA announces “Future Green Leader”
Rory Martin, National Sustainability Manager with dwp Suters, has been named the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA’s) 2014 ‘Future Green Leader’.
The award, announced today at the launch of the Future Green Leaders network in Sydney, aims to recognise up-and-coming sustainability specialists in the property and construction sector.
With solid experience in design, consultancy, project delivery and industry standards Rory has delivered on
projects across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
As National Sustainability Leader, Rory leads dwp Suters’ sustainability team and is charged with ensuring the
holistic delivery of sustainability across project sectors and operations. A Green Star Accredited Professional, Rory
is also responsible for policy development and implementation, design reviews, integration of environmental
modelling within BIM practices, marketing, reporting and strategic planning.
The Future Green Leader Award was supported and judged by Australand and Interface.
Read more here.
23 September 2014
City of Melbourne wins world climate leadership award
The City of Melbourne has again been recognised as a global climate leader, winning a C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award for its Urban Landscapes Climate Adaptation Program.
It is the second year in a row the City of Melbourne has received the prestigious award.
The City’s Urban Landscape Adaptation Program was implemented in 2010 to protect people, businesses, trees and other environmental assets after more than a decade of drought, low rainfalls and record-breaking extreme heat. Forty million dollars was spent, above ‘business as usual’ implementing scalable solutions to reduce susceptibility to drought and cool the city by four degrees celsius.
The program was also recognised with awards from The United Nations Association of Australia and the Banksia Association in 2013. This is the second consecutive year Melbourne has won a C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award, after the Melbourne Sustainable Buildings Program won the Energy Efficient Built Environment category last year.
The City’s Lord Mayor particularly thanked City of Melbourne staff, Cr Wood and Deputy Chair of the Environment Portfolio Cr Dr Cathy Oke for their work and vision.
Read more here.
For more information on the awards, go to: http://cityclimateleadershipawards.com
21 September 2015
New York City commits to sweeping Green Buildings Plan and emissions reductions
New York City’s Mayor de Blasio has unveiled “One City, Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for A Low-Carbon Future,” outlining an unprecedented commitment to retrofitting City’s public and private buildings.
Every single public building with significant energy use will be upgraded by 2025; private buildings will be given ambitious target reductions and mandates if reductions are not met.
The Plan will lead to an additional 10% reduction in building-based greenhouse gas emissions and $8.5 billion in energy cost-savings over ten years, creating approximately 3,500 new jobs in construction and energy services.
Read full release here.
See more on Once City, Built to Last
18 September 2014
ACT household Energy efficiency scheme delivers savings
A review of the ACT Government’s Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme has found that the program saves participating households about $1,600 each.
The review, commissioned by the ACT Government, shows greenhouse gas reductions as a result of the program between 1 January 2013 and 31 March 2014 were the equivalent of 237,908 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS) was established under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012. It requires individual electricity retailers to achieve energy savings in households and small-to-medium enterprises. The EEIS commenced on 1 January 2013 and is legislated to run until 31 December 2015.
The review found that there are clear benefits in continuing the EEIS, as it reduces the cost of energy to households and small-to-medium enterprises, including the cost associated with meeting the ACT’s Renewable Energy Target. The review also highlighted high satisfaction with the EEIS from participating households.
The ACT Government will now do further work to determine the future of the program post 2015.
Read more here.
17 September 2014
UK Green Deal energy efficiency scheme needs reviving
The UK House of Commons-appointed Energy and Climate Change Committee has reported that the Government’s ‘Green Deal’ pay-as-you-save scheme has failed to drive the scale of energy saving home improvements needed to cut carbon emissions and insulate consumers from high energy costs.
The Committee has advised that new incentives to encourage energy efficiency should now be considered, including stamp duty discounts and variable council tax rates.
Read more here.
8 September 2014
World Green Building Council and CRC for Low Carbon Living working together on cities
The World Green Building Council and the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living have signed a memorandum of understanding to take a global step towards defining ‘low’ to ‘no’ carbon cities in our world.
The three year ‘Closing the Loop’ project will connect a wealth of existing evidence with front-end decision makers through better business case analysis, professional education, practical tools and guidelines. It aims to help global industries create built environments to positively impact people’s health, wellbeing and productivity whilst improving the building industry’s environmental performance.
Read more here.
3 September 2014
Opposition announces Infrastructure Plan for Victoria
The Victorian Opposition has announced that, if elected, they will establish two new bodies to meet the State’s infrastructure and economic needs: Infrastructure Victoria and Projects Victoria.
The establishment of Infrastructure Victoria – a standing, independent expert body – would aim to ensure a long-term approach to capital projects. The body would be similar to those in other jurisdictions but will release its advice publicly.
The establishment of Projects Victoria would aim to ensure that major projects stay on track. The new body would consolidate major projects delivery capacities from across the public sector and have step-in powers to intervene in the case where a department or agency has delivery difficulties. Projects Victoria would audit and where necessary up-skill the project delivery capacity across departments and agencies.
Read statement by Daniel Andrews here.
3 September 2014
ClimateWorks makes the case for Environmental Upgrade Finance
ClimateWorks has been developing a public engagement program, to raise awareness of how business can access better finance, to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.
Central to the program will be the release of an easy to use website that enables building owners, tenants and service providers to understand the business case using Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) to undertake an environmental upgrade of their building rather than a traditional loan.
EUF provides building owners with competitive, fixed-interest, long-term loans secured against the building, rather than the building owner, with repayments collected through the rates system by the local council. This arrangement makes the loans lower risk, allowing banks to provide better terms. The program is a joint initiative by ClimateWorks and the Sustainable Melbourne Fund and is funded by the federal Department of Industry.
Read more here.
2 September 2014
Singapore’s masterplan to drive green building retrofits and practices
Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has released their 3rd Green Building Masterplan, with the aim of significantly increasing green building retrofits and practices. The masterplan includes:
- New 50 million incentive scheme for Existing Buildings and Premises, to help building owners and tenants to undertake energy efficiency improvements
- New Award to recognise buildings that have done well in terms of owner-tenant collaboration to achieve better total building performance
- Release of Benchmarking Report to share top performers and their green building best practices and encourage greater energy efficiency adoption
Over the past nine years, BCA has steadily introduced a comprehensive suite of policy levers and initiatives to promote building energy efficiency and encourage the adoption of green building practices. Through the efforts of its first two Green Building Masterplans, BCA has successfully grown the number of green buildings in Singapore from just 17 in 2005 to more than 2,100 today. This is the equivalent of about 62 million square metres or more than 25 percent of Singapore’s total gross floor area .
Read more here.
1 September 2014
Parliamentary Friendship Group for better cities launched
The Parliamentary Friendship Group for Better Cities (PFGBC) was launched at Parliament House on 27 August; co-convened by Jane Prentice MP, Andrew Giles MP, and Adam Bandt MP.
The Parliamentary Friendship Group for Better Cities is a forum for ideas and discussion on making Australian capital and major cities more liveable, more resilient and more productive.
Industry supporting groups of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Better Cities included the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects, Australasian Railway Association, Bus Industry Confederation of Australia, Cycling Promotion Fund, International Association of Public Transport Australia and New Zealand, National Heart Foundation of Australia and Real Estate Institute of Australia.
Click here for article on the PFGBC.
27 August 2014
Study finds that sustainable buildings are affordable and result in operational savings
Research by Sweett Group and BRE has challenged the perception that sustainable buildings are necessarily more costly to build. By applying cost data from real construction projects to three case study buildings – an office, a secondary school and a community healthcare centre – detailed capital and operational cost information has been obtained.
The research team found that specifying sustainability measures during the building’s design and procurement stage can result in cost savings over the operational life of the building for little or no additional upfront cost.
Read more here.
20 August 2014
ASBEC welcomes NSW Resilience Grants
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement of a $1 million scheme, which will help local government and communities to address extreme weather events and the impacts of climate change.
The NSW Government “Building Resilience to Climate Change grants”, are aimed at improving coordination and collaboration at local government level, and supporting the development of regional alliances and shared resources. The grants will also provide an opportunity for local government and communities to engage with government and industry experts and practitioners to develop climate change adaptation strategies.
The Chair of ASBEC’s Resilience Strategy Task Group, Kirsty Kelly said “The NSW Government’s commitment to tackling building resilience at a local level is a positive step.”
“If Australia is to meet the challenges of a changing climate, all levels of government must commit to taking action and work together with industry, academia and the community to plan and deliver the best strategies and solutions.”
“We encourage the NSW Government to continue this effort and lead by example in ensuring that adaptation strategies are incorporated into all State operations and facilities, whilst integrating resilience strategies into their planning systems.”
For more information about ASBEC’s Built Environment Climate Change Adaptation Framework click here.
To download ASBEC’s Full Media Release, click here.
19 August 2014
GBCA calls for support of the Renewable Energy Target
The nation’s green building authority has called on the Abbott Government to recommit to the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA’s) says the RET has encouraged and supported diverse energy solutions, and abolishing it could diminish forward investment in renewable energy technologies.
The bi-partisan policy mandates that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity is to be generated from renewable sources by 2020.
Independent modelling commissioned by the Climate Institute has found that abolishing the RET could diminish investment in renewable energy by almost $11 billion.
Read the full GBCA media release here.
12 August 2014
International Union of Architects commits to C02 phase-out in built environment
The International Union of Architects (UIA) has unanimously adopted the 2050 Imperative, committing to environmental and social sustainability, as presented to the General Assembly by Australian Institute of Architects CEO, David Parken.
The historic declaration recognises the urgency of the UIA and its member organisations in committing to a truly sustainable and equitable future.
The declaration states:
‘Urban areas are responsible for over 70 per cent of global energy consumption and CO2 emissions, mostly from buildings, and over the next two decades an area roughly equal to 60 per cent of the world’s total building stock is projected to be built and rebuilt in urban areas.
‘This provides an unprecedented opportunity to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions by setting the global building sector on a path to phase out CO2 emissions by 2050,’
‘Our responsibility is to influence ethical and socially responsible development throughout the world: to plan and design sustainable, resilient, carbon-neutral and healthy built environments that protect and enhance natural resources and wildlife habitats, provide clean air and water, generate on-site renewable energy, and advance more livable buildings and communities.’
By adopting the 2050 Imperative, member organisations have committed to advocacy and promotion pertaining to planning and design of carbon neutral cities, towns, urban developments and new buildings; engaging in research and setting targets towards meeting the 2050 goal and developing and delivering equitable access to the information and tools to deliver these objectives.
View the Australian Institute of Architects Media Release here.
View the full declaration here.
11 August 2014
OECD Regional Wellbeing Tool
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released a Regional Wellbeing Tool that tallies and compares regions against eight topics (and about 130 indicators):
- Access to services
- Civic engagement
See how your region performs: http://www.oecdregionalwellbeing.org/region.html#HU33
9 August 2014
Sustainable Buildings Research Centre officially opens, paving the way for better places to live and work
UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) was officially opened on 7 August, providing a unique hub for academia, research, industry and the community to create, develop and implement ideas that will shape the buildings of tomorrow.
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Employment and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, opened the flagship research centre.
The SBRC was made possible through a Federal Government contribution of $25.1 million from the Education Investment Fund.
It will enable researchers to develop pioneering new retrofitting techniques and technologies to create more effective places to live and work as well as generate new skills and jobs for the Illawarra region.
The SBRC Building, designed by architects Cox Richardson, was constructed with the target of becoming the first certified Living Building in Australia, and the Illawarra region’s first 6 Star Green Star building.
Its many environmentally-friendly features include: ultra-low energy consumption; a solar roof that produces more power than the building consumes; rainwater harvesting to ensure the building is net-zero water; sophisticated natural ventilation and indoor environmental quality features; extensive monitoring and building control systems to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible.
SBRC Director Professor Paul Cooper said the centre was an example of how Federal Government funding had delivered more than bricks and mortar and had enabled a hub where academia, industry and the community could work together to bring innovative ideas to life.
See full media release here.
7 August 2014
Energy Efficiency Council welcomes Labor Party commitment to Victorian Energy Efficiency Target
The Energy Efficiency Council has welcomed the Victorian Labor Party’s commitment to keep the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).
The VEET was introduced in 2008 to help homes and businesses save energy by making it cheaper to install energy-efficient lights, showerheads and appliances. After the 2010 election, the Victorian Coalition doubled its size.
In May 2014 the Napthine Government announced that it would close the VEET in 2015, despite admitting that the VEET was helping Victorian households save money on their energy bills, and was significantly benefitting low-income households; and closure would result in over 2,000 job losses.
The Energy Efficiency Council has congratulated the Victorian Labor party on making the right call in trying to amend the government’s legislation and seeking to extend the VEET if they win the November election; and called on the the Napthine Government to support the VEET.
For more information, contact Rob Murray-Leach: email@example.com.
7 August 2014
US Government invests millions to Increase Building Energy Code Compliance Rates
The US Energy Department, through the the Building Technologies Office (BTO), has awarded $6 million to fund projects that will:
- Measure current residential energy code compliance rate using a methodology that provides statewide results with 90% reliability.
- Implement an education, training, and outreach program designed to increase residential building energy code compliance.
- Measure the post-program residential building energy code compliance rate using the same methodology employed in the pre-program study.
The projects will investigate whether investing in education, training, and outreach programs can produce a significant change in residential building code compliance rates. If these activities do produce significant change, non-government entities, particularly utilities, could be influenced to make substantial investments in similar programs.
For more information, go to http://www.energycodes.gov/
5 August 2014
NABERS Indoor Environment out for industry comment
The enhancements to NABERS Indoor Environment (IE) are out for industry consultation. NABERS is seeking broader feedback on these proposals as well as on further ideas to enhance, streamline and add value to NABERS IE ratings. The Consultation Paper can be found here.
The consultation will be open until 5pm on 18 August 2014.
31 July 2014
Business Council Chief Executive says “we must get cities right”
Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of the Business Council for Australia, called for a new cities agenda at the UNSW Utzon Lecture.
In a speech entitled “Cities, Competitiveness and Australia’s Comparative Advantage: Why We Must Get Cities Right in Australia”, Ms Westacott outlined a cities agenda around three pillars:
- vastly more purposeful planning around population, land use, economic development, technology and the funding and provision of infrastructure
- a reinvigorated approach to design and liveability
- getting our institutional settings right to achieve real change and build the community’s confidence.
28 July 2014
Australian Government Announces $3.7 million to help build a disaster resilient Australia
The Australian Government has announced $3.7 million in grants for disaster resilience under the National Emergency Management Projects (NEMP) Program.
Successful projects in 2014-15 include:
- $230,000 to improve land-use and built-environment professionals’ awareness and understanding of disaster risks, through the development of an education program;
- $256,300 to help make flood study reports and data publically available through the National Flood Risk Information Project’s Portal;
25 July 2014
Green Bonds report highlights opportunities for buildings
Bonds and Climate Change, The State of the Market in 2014, a new report released by the Climate Bonds Initiative and HSBC, shows that the market for green property bonds is growing fast, with opportunities for property developers, energy efficient buildings and appliances.
Read the full report HERE.
24 July 2014
2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge – applications open
The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants.
In 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation selected 100 cities – including Melbourne – to receive technical support and resources to improve their urban resilience over three years.
Applications close on 10 September.
23 July 2014
Economists recommend role of governments in climate change adaptation
The article states that the role of the state in adaptation policy is limited where decision-makers (either private sector or at a municipal level) both bear the cost and enjoy the benefits of their own decisions.
The article outlines three recommended areas in which government should be involved:
- Improving knowledge and financing research.
- Provide a regulatory framework for insurance markets.
- Fostering economic growth and education, as a powerful self-insurance device against the uncertain future challenges of climate change.
22 July 2014
City energy: A new powerhouse for Britain
The UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research has released a report exploring options and the potential for cities to engage in the energy supply market and raise finance for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure – particularly in local energy generation.
21 July 2014
Grattan Institute: cities as engines of prosperity
The Grattan Institute has released a report entitled Mapping Australia’s economy: cities as engines of prosperity, which shows that eighty per cent of the dollar value of all goods and services in Australia is produced on just 0.2 per cent of the nation’s land mass, nearly all of it in cities.
The report highlights the following findings:
- The combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne generate nearly 10 per cent of the value of goods and services produced in all of Australia, three times that produced by the agricultural sector.
- The nation has moved from prosperity coming from regional jobs in primary industry a century ago, to suburban jobs in manufacturing after World War Two, to city centre jobs in knowledge-intensive businesses today.
- While city centres are vital to Australia’s prosperity, the concentration of highly productive activity in them presents big challenges for policymakers, because too many workers live too far from these centres to fulfil our cities’ economic potential.
- CBDs contribute so strongly to economic activity both because jobs are concentrated there and because CBD businesses are more productive on average than others.
20 July 2014
Committee for Sydney report calls for “New Deal” for Sydney infrastructure
In 2013, the Committee for Sydney published its first Issues Paper on Sydney’s productivity: Adding to the Dividend, Ending the Divide.
An update to this paper was released last week: Sydney adding to the dividend, ending the divide 2014 Update, incorporating the latest Federal and State budget announcements.
Key findings of this paper include:
- Sydney’s importance to national economic performance and significant tax contribution to the Federal treasury; and the gap in what the city receives in return.
- The need ‘new deal’ for Sydney to ensure it has the infrastructure investment it needs and the funding mechanism to support this. (Echoing the policy of the Urban Coalition!)
- Support from all tiers of government for public transport.
- A policy and investment focus on Western Sydney over the long term to enable it to play its full role in the Sydney of the future.
- Alignment between Federal and State Governments on key policies, projects and structures required to maximise the Sydney’s productivity and GDP; and a Metropolitan scale governance to manage challenges and opportunities. (Welcoming the proposed Greater Sydney Commission)
17 July 2014
Australia’s Carbon Tax Repealed
Today the Australian Parliament passed legislation to repeal the carbon tax.
The Senate voted 39-32 to pass 8 bills repealing the Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM). The repeal
bills passed the House of Representatives on 14 July 2014.
17 July 2014
White House announces world-class infrastructure to prepare for climate change impacts
President Obama has announced a comprehensive plan to invest in America’s infrastructure, aimed at improving resilience to the effects of climate change and boosting national productivity.
Noting that that communities across America need more resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change - like more extreme weather and increased flooding, the President established a State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last November.
The Task Force, made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country, advises the President on how the federal government can best help American communities dealing with the effects of climate change.
The Task Force came to the White House for their fourth and final meeting yesterday, and will give the President final recommendations later this year.
Read the full statement from the White House:
15 July 2014
Congratulations to winners of 2014 Urban Design Awards
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Australian Urban Design Awards and Commendations
The Australia Award for Urban Design (AAUD) is Australia’s premier award for excellence in urban design and is hosted each year by PIA and supported by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Australian Institute of Architects, Consult Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Property Council of Australia and the Urban Design Forum.
This year the Award patron was former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull AO. The Award was supported by Gold Sponsor Think Brick.
Full list of winners
DELIVERED OUTCOME – Large scale (two awards given)
Award: NewActon Precinct, Molongo Group/ Fender Katsalidis/ Oculus (ACT)
Award: Prince Alfred Park and Pool, Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design, City of Sydney (NSW)
DELIVERED OUTCOME – Small scale
Award: Fremantle Esplanade Youth Plaza, Convic, City of Fremantle (WA)
POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Large Scale (no award winner)
Commendation: Pilbara Vernacular Handbook, CODA Studio, Landcorp (WA)
Commendation: Darwin City Centre Master Plan, City of Darwin, Northern Territory Government, Design Urban Pty Ltd (NT)
POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND CONCEPTS – Small scale
Award: The Goods Line, ASPECT Studios with CHROFI for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (NSW)
Commendation: Thinking outside ‘the box’: Key design elements for apartments in Ku-ring-gai, Ku-ring-gai Council Strategy and Environment Department (NSW)
Commendation: King’s Square Urban Design Strategy, CODA Studio, City of Fremantle, Creating Communities Australia (WA)
SUSTAINED CONTRIBUTION TO URBAN DESIGN (new award)
Award: Urban Voices – celebrating urban design in Australia, Bruce Echberg, Bill Chandler, John Byrne
For more information, go to: http://www.planning.org.au/awards/2014-winners-commendations
14 July 2014
Concerns raised about Victorian Government’s energy-efficiency modelling
A new report commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association raises concerns about Victorian Government modelling on the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).
The VEET was introduced in 2009 to help homes and businesses save energy by making it cheaper to install energy-efficient lights, showerheads and appliances. After the 2010 election, the Victorian Coalition didn’t just keep the program – they decided it was so effective that they doubled its size.
However, in May 2014 the Napthine Government released a ‘Business Impact Assessment’, which suggested that the benefits from the VEET were limited and recommended closing the scheme in 2015. This finding is in contrast to all other recent assessments of the VEET and similar schemes, which found that they deliver significant economic benefits.
The Energy Efficiency Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association commissioned Jacobs, a respected energy modeller, to find out why the Government’s Business Impact Assessment came to a different conclusion to these other conservative studies. Jacobs found that the Government’s assessment:
- Potentially underestimated savings from avoided electricity generation costs;
- Excluded operating and maintenance cost savings from energy efficiency appliances;
- Assumed that energy savings would last for only a fraction of their full life; and
- Ignored the substantial financial benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite the apparent bias in the Government’s assessment, it still found that:
- Households would benefit if VEET was continued with a modest target. Participants would benefit from major reductions in their energy bills, and non-participants would effectively face no extra costs (50 cents per annum).
- The scheme has delivered disproportionately greater benefits to low-income suburbs.
- VEET supports over 2,000 jobs in Victoria, which will be lost if the scheme is closed.
Jacobs’ analysis also established that, if the Government changed some basic assumptions in its Business Impact Assessment, the benefits of the scheme would be much higher.
9 July 2014
Nominations now open for FM Industry Awards for Excellence
Do you have a colleague who has excelled? Have you been working on an innovative project? Or has your organisation undertaken a ground-breaking activity that deserves nationwide recognition? If so then you should nominate for a 2014 FM Industry Award for Excellence.
The Awards honour the hard work and dedication of the individuals, teams and companies whose leading and innovative practices are meeting today’s facilities management challenges while inspiring the industry leaders of tomorrow.
This year there are new categories, including one that specifically recognises government, and revised criteria to make it simpler to enter.
Award Categories include:
- Facilities Manager of the Year
- Young Achiever of the Year
- Collaborative Partnerships
- Provider of FM Services Outsourced
- Provider of FM Services In-house
- Government Facilities Management Services
- People and Productivity
- Sustainability & Environmental Impact
- Occupant Safety and Wellbeing
- Energy Efficiency
Nominations close 15 August 2014. For more information visit – http://www.fma.com.au/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3733&Itemid=242
SAVE THE DATE: 20 November 2014, Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Early Bird registrations will open on 28 July 2014, if you would like to register your interest now, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
30 June 2014
USA EPA releases new policy statement on adaptation
The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has released an updated policy statement on climate change adaptation, outlining actions consistent with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:
- Modernize EPA financial assistance programs to encourage climate-resilient investments
- Provide information, tools, training and technical support for climate-change preparedness and resilience
- Implement priority actions identified in the EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the Implementation Plans
- Focus on the most vulnerable people and places
- Measure and evaluate performance
- Continue agency planning for climate change related risk
- Coordinate with other federal agencies
Read the full policy statement: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/impacts-adaptation/adaptation-statement-2014.pdf
24 June 2014
Nominations are now open for the 2014 NSW Green Globe Awards
The Green Globe Awards are the leading environment awards in NSW showcasing environmental innovation, leadership and performance.
This year, three new award categories have been announced:
- Built Environment Sustainability Award – Infrastructure
- Natural Environment Sustainability Award
- Young Sustainability Champion Award
In 2014 there are 16 award categories which are open for nomination to NSW small and large businesses, state and local government, individuals, community groups and not-for-profit organisations who can demonstrate significant environmental achievements in NSW.
As a nominee, the 15th annual Green Globe Awards will help you to:
- gain public recognition at the highest level in NSW
- showcase the innovative work, expertise and vision of your organisation or project
- network with industry, government and environmental leaders
- learn about other projects and initiatives and share ideas with key stakeholders
- motivate your staff and suppliers by recognising their efforts in sustainability and environmental management
- build on your corporate reputation and community engagement strategies through your public commitment to the environment.
An independent judging panel will decide the best nominees in the state by announcing the 2014 Green Globe Award finalists in September.
An invitation-only award ceremony, hosted by The Hon Robert Stokes, Minister for the Environment, will announce and celebrate the 2014 Green Globe Award winners.
For all details on nominations and the Green Globe Awards please go to: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/greenglobes/
Entries close 5pm Monday 21 July 2014
Award finalists announced in September 2014
Awards ceremony late October 2014
24 June 2014
Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme: Certified professionals now in the market
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has achieved an important milestone in certifying professionals out in the market.
The next step is making sure building owners and managers know how to access certified professionals that can lead their building retrofit. As part of this effort, EEC had launched Phase 2 of the EECS website. The website now includes:
- A searchable directory of certified professionals;
- Additional information for building owners and managers, and;
- A new resources section for certified professionals.
Over coming months the EEC will be rolling out new features, including a section showcasing case studies of comprehensive commercial building retrofits led by certified professionals.
Visit the new website at www.efficiencycertification.org.au
20 June 2014
NABERS Indoor Environment public consultation
The NABERS National Administrator has been working with an Indoor Environment Technical Working Group to identify potential enhancements to the NABERS Indoor Environment tool. The result of this collaboration is a number of proposals that are intended to make the tool easier to understand, more meaningful and valuable to customers, and align the tool with the latest international IEQ standards.
The full consultation paper is now available on the NABERS website.
The NABERS National Administrator is seeking feedback on these proposed enhancements to NABERS IE, as well as additional ideas that will improve the existing tool.
Feedback can be sent to the NABERS inbox: email@example.com. The consultation will be open until 18 August 2014.
13 June 2014
Key Findings from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Implications for Buildings
A new briefing distils the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) for the building sector. The briefing concludes that:
- In 2010, the world’s buildings accounted for 32% of global final energy use and 19% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under business-as-usual projections, use of energy in buildings globally could double or even triple by 2050.
- Widespread implementation of best practices and technologies could see energy use in buildings stabilise or even fall by 2050. Many mitigation options promise multiple co-benefits.
- Know-how exists on retrofitting and how to build very low- and zero-energy buildings, often at little marginal investment cost; and there is a broad portfolio of effective policy instruments available to remove barriers to uptake.
- Buildings face major risks of damage from the projected impacts of climate change, having already experienced a big increase in extreme weather damage in recent decades.
AR5 represents the most comprehensive overview of climate science to date and is the fact base that will utilised by governments and businesses to formulate climate policy in the coming years.
For more information and to download the report, please visit the CISL webpage.
3 June 2014
Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star Library
The doors have opened on Australia’s most sustainable library, as Melbourne’s Library at The Dock is awarded the nation’s first 6 Star Green Star rating for a public building.
Located on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour, Library at The Dock has been granted Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star – Design PILOT rating, an achievement that represents ‘world leadership’ in sustainable design.
The GBCA congratulated the City of Melbourne, Places Victoria and Lend Lease for a collaboration which has delivered an outstanding public asset.
The building’s passive design promotes natural ventilation, daylight and fresh indoor air quality, resulting in reduced energy consumption and a healthier, more productive indoor environment.
1 June 2014
Standards Australia Thermal Imaging Forum
Standards Australia held a thermal imaging forum in May, which brought together experts from a range of different sectors to discuss the needs and challenges of the thermal imaging industry.
Participants discussed opportunities to develop thermal imaging standards in the areas of; Electrical, Building, Mechanical, and Pest Inspections.
International standards alignment was agreed as a priority, and the group identified a set of champions from each sector to lead the development of an appropriate work program. For further information about the thermal imaging group and to find out how to become involved, contact the National Sector Management team.
31 May 2014
A new chapter for Docklands – Library at the Dock
A new environmental standard will be set for Melbourne when the new community hub, Library at The Dock, opens its doors this month. The Library will be a community hub enabling people to come together to create, explore, connect, belong, learn and participate. The Library at The Dock is a tri-partnership between the City of Melbourne, Lend Lease and Places Victoria.
In addition to the traditional library collection, there will be a recording studio, creative editing suites, community spaces and a performance venue to hold up to 120 people. A gallery and exhibition space will celebrate Docklands’ rich heritage.
Located at the in intersection of Bourke and Collins streets in Docklands, the new building is a vision for environmental excellence, with many resource-efficient features such as its special, cross-laminated timber construction.
Read more – The Library at The Dock
30 May 2014
State and Federal Ministers agree to make the 2015 NCC freely available online
Federal and state ministers have agreed to significant building regulation reforms to the National Construction Code (NCC). These reforms aim to ensure the NCC is robust, without strangling the sector with red tape. The forum agreed in principle to make the 2015 National Construction Code (NCC) and future editions freely available and online, with details to be finalised in the coming months.
The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) welcomed the State and Federal building ministers’ agreement. AIB General Manager Robert Hunt stated:
“Removing the $400 cost to purchase the National Construction Code will result in better quality, safer and more affordable construction, and will help to build Australia’s productivity”.
New proposals for changes should be submitted as a Proposal for Change for consideration as part of future NCC editions.
Comments on the NCC public comment drafts must be submitted on the Public Comment Template (below) in Microsoft Word format using the Public Comment Upload Form.
30 May 2014
NSW Government announces improvements to the Energy Savings Scheme
The NSW Government announced improvements to the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS), a market-based mechanism delivered by industry that encourages households and businesses to reduce electricity consumption and costs by installing, improving or replacing energy saving equipment.
Large electrical goods retailers can provide discounts to customers on energy efficient products such as televisions or white goods and then claim credits.
The improvements to the ESS give communities greater access to rewards for energy efficiency, with:
- New incentives for households to purchase quality and affordable energy savings upgrades to their home, including high efficiency heating and cooling, lighting, window glazing and draught sealing;
- Quick and easy incentives for businesses to purchase highly efficient commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment;
- Better performance standards for commercial lighting products that ensure customers receive high quality and long lasting products and services; and
- Red tape removal to make it easier for appliance retailers and service providers to access the scheme and to enable service providers to use the same accreditation for multiple customers rather than having to prepare a new application individually.
The GBCA has welcomed the changes, noting that they will help households and business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and boost productivity.
Full details are available on the Resources and Energy website: www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/sustainable-energy/efficiency
30 May 2014
New NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy & Tool Review & Development Plan
The National Administrator has released the NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy. The policy sets out the core principles that underpin NABERS consultation. It has been developed to inform stakeholders about the NABERS approach to obtaining stakeholder feedback on analysis, alternatives and decisions and increase understanding of the NABERS consultation process.
Read – NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy
The National Administrator has also released the NABERS Tool Review & Development Plan. The plan presents NABERS stakeholders and the public with a snapshot of critical activities and time frames associated with the enhancement of NABERS rating tools.
29 May 2014
Peter Verwer to head up Asia Pacific Real Estate Association
Congratulations to Peter Verwer on his appointment as head of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.
Earlier this year Peter stepped down as chief executive of the Property Council. In recognition of his contribution to Australian Building Sustainability Peter was named as a Life Fellow of ASBEC.
22 May 2014
ABSA responds to WA Energy Minister cuts to consumer protection measures
The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) has criticised the WA Energy Minister’s decision to abolish the Program Facilitation and Review Branch of the Public Utilities Office (PUO) as of May 2014.
The PUO was responsible for many energy efficiency initiative that helped to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs on WA householders.
A critical outstanding issue that now remains unresolved is the accreditation of house energy assessors under the scheme.
21 May 2014
Better Buildings Neighbourhood Initiative saves US$730 Million on Energy Bills
Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative, the Energy Department announced that the Department’s Better Buildings Neighbourhood Program has helped more than 40 state and local governments upgrade more than 100,000 buildings and save families and businesses over US$730 million on utility bills.
Supported by the Recovery Act, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighbourhood Program worked with 41 competitively selected state and local governments and their partners to upgrade the energy efficiency of homes and local buildings and leverage early federal funds to launch sustainable community-based programs.
20 May 2014
Brookfield Place Perth takes top honours at the 2014 Innovation & Excellence Awards
Brookfield Place Perth has taken out the top honours at the Property Council’s 2014 Innovation & Excellence Awards.
5 Murray Rose at Sydney Olympic Park, owned by The GPT Group, was presented with the WSP Award for Best Sustainable Development – New Buildings, for its impressive environmental features, including the largest solar installation in an Australian commercial building of this size.
Mirvac won the JLL Award for Best Sustainable Development – Existing Buildings for its $60 million refurbishment of 10-20 Bond Street.
The Awards were presented at a gala dinner in Sydney on Saturday 17 May, and celebrate innovation and leading practice within Australia’s property development and investment industries.
For a full list of winners please visit www.propertyoz.com.au/awards
17 May 2014
New ISO Standard to evaluate city’s service delivery and quality of life
A landmark ISO standard outlining key measurements for evaluating a city’s service delivery and quality of life has just been published. Its use will help city managers, planners, designers and other professionals to focus on key issues, and put in place policies for more liveable, sustainable, resilient, and prosperous cities.
Currently, 53 % of the world’s population resides in cities, a figure that is expected to rise to 70 % by 2050. Cities are cultural and economic centres which today generate 70 % of the global GDP. Investing in them may be a priority for many governments, but doing so sustainably and effectively can be a challenge.
The indicators included in ISO 37120:2014 will help cities to assess their performance and measure progress overtime, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life and sustainability.
The standard launched on 15 May during a global cities summit organized by the Global City Indicators Facility.
14 May 2014
GBCA disappointed in Government’s decision to scrap the NRAS
The GBCA has said that the Government’s decision to scrap the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a disappointing step.
Since it was established, NRAS has delivered 14,000 affordable homes, with a further 24,000 homes in the pipeline across the country.
Monash University’s Briggs Hall & Jackomos Hall, an NRAS project and the first building to achieve 5 Star Green Star – Multi Unit Residential As Built v1 certification in Australia, consumes 45 per cent less energy than similar sized buildings that don’t meet Green Star benchmarks.
7 May 2014
Australia’s business group joins forces with global business leaders
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has announced that Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) has been appointed as the Australian Global Network partner to drive national business leadership and action for sustainable development.
At a time of increasing national uncertainty regarding Australia’s policies for sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship, the country’s leading progressive business body will join the WBCSD’s Global Network to collaborate on business solutions to complex sustainability issues.
6 May 2014
US Government calls for urgent climate change action following the release of a four year study
The White House has called for urgent action to combat climate change following the release of a study on the impact of global warming. The four year survey warned of serious threats to homes and infrastructure and industry in the face of extreme weather events.
The study, known as the National Climate Assessment, was supervised and approved by a large committee representing a cross section of American society, including representatives of two oil companies. It is the third national report in 14 years, and by far the most urgent in tone.
29 April 2014
Consult Australia launches The Business of Sustainability website
The Business of Sustainability website helps to guide professional services businesses of all sizes, towards a more sustainable business.
The Business of Sustainability website—including the Decision Support Tool, challenges and best practice case studies—exhibits opportunities for professional services firms to become more sustainable, demonstrate the benefits of this for their value and competitiveness, and encourage professional services firms to initiate or advance conversations around sustainability.
Visit - The Business of Sustainability
29 April 2014
New head for the Property Council of Australia
The Property Council’s incoming CEO is Ken Morrison.
After an extensive search process, the Property Council has appointed Ken Morrison to the role of Chief Executive Officer. Ken is the Property Council’s former chief operating officer and current Tourism and Transport Forum CEO. He will commence this new role in the first week of August.
His unique understanding of the property industry, proven political and policy skills and extensive campaigning experience make him the ideal candidate for the role.
Big congratulations and welcome to Ken!
Congratulations also to the Property Council’s outgoing CEO, Peter Verwer, who will be moving on to lead the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.
22 April 2014
National Energy Market reforms will boost green energy
The first successful customer led rule change to reform the National Energy Market (NEM) was adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). It will assist cleaner energy (such as larger solar, co/trigeneration, wind) connect to the national electricity grid and takes effect 1 October 2014.
Led by ClimateWorks Australia, the Property Council of Australia and Seed Advisory, these reforms will make it cheaper and faster to connect co/trigeneration plants and renewable energy to the electricity grid.
Governments, businesses, industries, local councils and the clean energy sector acknowledge connection barriers have been major obstacles to cleaner energy for well over a decade.
Read more - Reforms will boost green energy
24 April 2014
Direct Action white paper released
The Federal Government has released its Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper, which sets out the final design for its Direct Action Policy. It has been designed around three principles, namely that the Fund aims to:
- purchase emissions abatement at the lowest cost;
- deliver reductions that will reduce Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions; and
- have a streamlined administration, so that it is easier for businesses to participate in the scheme.
- The process followed by the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) will be to:
- credit reductions against pre-established methodologies, guided by the independent Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee;
- purchase abatement through quarterly auctions run by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), with funding of $2.55 billion, with additional funding considered in future budgets. The CER will provide a 12-month forward schedule of auctions and publish the weighted average price after each auction; and
- set emissions baselines based on the highest emissions over the past five years for 130 facilities with direct emissions of over 100,000 tCO2-e per year, as a safeguard to ensure that any abatement achieved is not displaced by significant rises elsewhere in the economy. This safeguard mechanism will commence on 1 July, 2015.
Read more – Emissions Reduction Fund
17 April 2014
National Energy Market has been adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission
The first successful customer led rule change to reform the National Energy Market (NEM) was adopted by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in April. Led by ClimateWorks, the Property Council of Australia and Seed Advisory, these reforms will make it cheaper and faster to connect co/trigeneration plants and renewable energy to the electricity grid.
With other rule changes to follow, ClimateWorks is lending their experience and support to industry groups that wish to achieve tangible improvements to the energy market.
Read the AEMC’s final determination – Connecting embedded generators final determination
Read ClimateWorks summary of the reforms – Reforms will boost green energy
12 April 2014
Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Report from the IPCC
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. The report notes that, for buildings, most mitigation options have considerable and diverse co‐benefits in addition to energy cost savings.
Other key messages for the building sector are:
- In 2010, the building sector accounted for around 32% final energy use and 8.8 GtCO2 emissions, including direct and indirect emissions, with energy demand projected to approximately double and CO2 emissions to increase by 50–150% by mid-century in baseline scenarios.
- Recent advances in technologies, know‐how and policies provide opportunities to stabilize or reduce global buildings sector energy use by mid‐century. For new buildings, the adoption of very low energy building codes is important and has progressed substantially since AR4.
- Retrofits form a key part of the mitigation strategy in countries with established building stocks, and reductions of heating/cooling energy use by 50–90% in individual buildings have been achieved.
- For developed countries, scenarios indicate that lifestyle and behavioural changes could reduce energy demand by up to 20% in the short term and by up to 50% of present levels by mid‐century.
- Strong barriers, such as split incentives (e.g., tenants and builders), fragmented markets and inadequate access to information and financing, hinder the market‐based uptake of cost‐effective opportunities. Barriers can be overcome by policy interventions addressing all stages of the building and appliance lifecycles (robust evidence, high agreement).
To read the full report - Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change
10 April 2014
PIA’s response to the IPCC report
Planning and good governance will be vital to managing climate change adaptation responses, the Planning Institute of Australia has said in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released Working Group II report (See “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Report from the IPCC, below).
While urban and regional planning were essential to managing climate change, so too was enhanced coordination of disaster mitigation and management across government to boost resilience to predicted climate impacts, Planning Institute chief executive Kirsty Kelly said.
Ms Kelly, who is chair of resilience strategy for ASBEC, said planners and allied groups would approach governments to seek regulatory support, funding for research and the development of tools and benchmarks to help make decisions about the funding and governance of change in urban and rural areas.
Read more - PIA: planning vital to climate change response
1 April 2014
GBCA releases scoping paper and is calling for industry feedback
The Green Building Council of Australia has released a scoping paper for the new Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool and is calling for industry feedback.
Green Star – Design & As Built, the ‘next generation’ Green Star rating tool, will be able to assess most building uses in Australia with the exception of single-unit dwellings, and will cover single and mixed use buildings at both the design and construction phases.
The scoping paper outlines the GBCA’s proposed approach to the new rating tool, including an improved certification pathway, online delivery platform and revised weighting system.
The feedback period is open until 31 July 2014.
Read more - Green Star Design & As Built Scoping Paper
1 April 2014
City of Melbourne research finds recent heatwaves impacted the economy
The extreme heat experienced in Melbourne between 14th and 17th January 2014 is estimated to have cost businesses in the municipality approximately $37 million in lost revenue, according to new City of Melbourne research. These findings are part of research commissioned by the City of Melbourne as part of its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
A survey of more than 600 local businesses found an overall decline in revenue of almost 10 per cent. The sectors which were impacted the most were retail, food and beverage and accommodation.
Other key findings from the research include:
- 59% reported an impact on the comfort, motivation or moral of their workforce
- 40% reported an impact on the reliability of their workforce
- 62% of businesses experienced additional operational costs (such as increased air-conditioning operation) Seven per cent reported air-conditioning failures.
- The City of Melbourne is firmly focused on building Melbourne’s resilience to climate impacts.
Download the report here: 2014 Heatwave Business Impacts
Read more - City combatting heatwaves to protect economy
27 March 2014
Victoria axes Greener Government Buildings program
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has criticised the axing of the Greener Government Buildings program by the Victorian Government, which is says will cause job losses and damage the budget.
The decision could cost the budget up to $2 billion and the EEC revealed that one of the biggest losers, the Health Department, alone will lose well over $21 million per year.
20 March 2014
Australian Government – Infrastructure Outlook Report
The Federal Government has released a report into the outlook for Australia’s infrastructure and transport sectors to 2030.
Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030 collates information from a range of government departments to provide an indication of the most significant impacts on the infrastructure and transport sector.
Read the report: Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030
20 March 2014
The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has reached the next stage of a research project which aims to assess the environmental impacts and energy consumption of tall building structures, from the production of the building materials to their end-of-life.
Read more – New Research Assesses Life Cycle of Skyscrapers
20 March 2014
GBCA, AECOM launch local government guide to sustainable communities
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and AECOM recently launched a new guide for local governments designed to support the development of liveable, prosperous, and sustainable communities.
The Green Star – Communities Guide for Local Government was launched at the Green Cities 2014 conference in Melbourne.
The guide explains how councils can use the Green Star – Communities national framework and the Green Star – Communities rating tool to achieve better economic, social, and environmental outcomes across the built environment.
The new guide will help local governments to play an integral role in implementing and administering planning controls, policies, and programs to ‘get it right’ for existing and future communities and deliver more sustainable outcomes.
17 March 2014
Berlin climate-neutral by 2050
A feasibility study argues that Berlin can reduce its CO2 emissions from present levels of about 21 million tons to 4.4 million tons by 2050 – despite economic growth and population increase.
15 March 2014
First Green Star Hotel On The Horizon
Canberra-based development company, GEOCON, is on track to achieve Australia’s first Green Star rating for a hotel.
Abode Woden, an adaptive reuse project, is the third hotel developed by GEOCON. The project has registered to achieve a Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
GBCA has worked with GEOCON to create a custom-built Green Star rating tool which enables Abode – The Apartment Hotel to join the league of Green Star leaders, according to Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.
Read more – First green star hotel on the horizon
14 March 2014
New Architecture Foundation to promote benefits of good design
A new Foundation has been launched by the Australian Institute of Architects to promote the benefits of architecture and design to the wider community through a national program of initiatives.
Chaired by former director of the art gallery of New South Wales, Edmund Capon AM OBE, the Foundation will focus on architecture and design projects that positively impact Australian communities, including exhibitions, scholarships and education programs.
10 March 2014
Property Council CEO Peter Verwer stepping down
Peter Verwer, chief executive of the Property Council, is stepping down after 22 years to purse career opportunities in Asia. Property Council President Darren Steinberg said the process to appoint Mr Verwer’s successor is under way.
During his time as chief executive, Mr Verwer has been influential in establishing Australia’s lead position in commercial building sustainability.
5 March 2014
US Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes
On 5 March, 2014, Republican and Democratic members of the United States House joined together to pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014.
The bill includes several provisions to save energy in buildings: The Better Buildings Act to encourage commercial building tenants to save energy through:
- a “Tenant Star” recognition program and green leases;
- a provision to encourage benchmarking and public disclosure of energy use in commercial buildings;
- the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act for federal agencies to develop strategies to implement energy-saving information technologies from building energy management to telework, and to improve efficiency of federal data centres; and
- a provision to address concerns that recent efficiency standards for water heaters could interfere with their use in demand response programs run by rural and other utilities.
3 March 2014
Victoria’s new home of architecture at 41 Exhibition Street officially opened!
Victoria’s new home of architecture at 41 Exhibition Street has officially opened. Developed by the Australian Institute of Architects, 41X is a 22-storey Five Star Green Star strata-titled commercial tower that accommodates the Australian Institute of Architects Melbourne offices, including the Victorian Chapter, over five levels. 41X is the first strata commercial office building in Melbourne to target carbon neutrality over its 30 year operating lifespan -accounting for embodied energy, base building operational energy, transport and waste.
20 February 2014
Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market
The latest Australia Green Property Index has found that green office buildings continue to outperform the general market on investment return, net operating income, capital expenditure, vacancy rates and weighted average lease expiry.
The latest results showed that Green Star (Design and As Built) rated offices across Australia delivered an average total annualised return of 10.3 per cent to December 2013, outperforming the general market by 60 basis points. High NABERS-rated properties (4-6 star) also delivered significantly stronger investment returns.
Vacancy rates also showed noticeable differences. Green Star and high NABERS-rated buildings had vacancy rates of 3.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively. This was lower than the average of 5.5 per cent for the overall Australian office market.
Read more - Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market
14 February 2014
World Bank: cities can become global engines of green growth
World Bank report says that cities can become global engines of green growth. There is a clear correlation between investments in energy efficient solutions in infrastructure and economic growth in South East Asia. Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions supports local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.
18 February 2014
Calculating Cool Aims to lower HVAC energy usage
The Calculating Cool Online HVAC Rating Tool is set to have an impact on the reduction of energy use in Australian HVAC systems.
Managed by Sustainability Victoria, the Calculating Cool project will develop an online calculator to coordinate operation and maintenance practices, including data collection, long-term monitoring and comparative analysis.
In order to deliver further improvements in buildings, Calculating Cool will look to the significant energy-consuming components of buildings – such as HVAC – and provide a similar measure of performance.
ASBEC members – AIRAH, the PCA, FMA, AMCA – have been working with government to progress the Calculating Cool project. It is now in the development stage, with trials and public review set for later this year. Anyone interested in being part of the trial process should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more - New HVAC rating tool to slash energy use
14 February 2014
Obama commits US$1 billion to Climate Resilience Fund
The Climate Resilience Fund will be included in the 2015 budget. According to the White House, the money will go towards research into the projected impacts of climate change and how to prepare communities and infrastructure to deal with them, as well as funding new technology that will increase resilience in the face of extreme weather events.
14 February 2014
Melbourne City signs off on new strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The Zero Net Emissions and Total Watermark strategies identify new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the municipality over the next four years, and build on efforts to capture and use water in a smarter way.
The strategies were released for public feedback last year and endorsed at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting, setting a clear direction for council over the next four years.
Read more - Melbourne City sign off on zero emissions plan
8 February 2014
Australian real estate trusts failing to meet sustainability targets
Australia’s multi-billion dollar commercial real estate and property sector is failing to meet even modest sustainability benchmarks, according to new research released by progressive policy network Catalyst Australia.
The report examined the 19 property sector companies listed on the ASX 200, which have a combined market capitalisation of $97.5 billion, rating their reporting standards and outcomes in the areas of environmental performance, gender equality, labour standards, supply chains, sustainability engagement and community investment.
The report, Building sustainability: A review of company performance in the commercial real estate and property sector, found a clear distinction between the various companies, with four clear leaders – Stockland, GPT Group, Dexus Property Group and Mirvac Group – in the sector and others lagging far behind.
6 February 2014
New CEO for Australian Conservation Foundation
Kelly O’Shanassy will succeed Don Henry as the new CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Ms O’Shanassy, was previously CEO of Environment Victoria.
Ms O’Shanassy, who takes up the position on 7 April, said, “I’m thrilled to be joining such an influential organisation and an amazing team of people. For nearly 50 years, ACF has been synonymous with protecting Australia’s environment and the future of all Australians, and I look forward to continuing that legacy and building on the tremendous work of outgoing CEO Don Henry”.
1 February 2014
Infrastructure Australia releases Urban Strategy Report
Infrastructure Australia released its Urban Transport Strategy report. This report heralds urbanisation as the engine for Australia’s economic growth and considers the development of an Urban Transport Strategy to be of paramount importance.
31 January 2014
Michael Bloomberg appointed as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to United Nations
Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and currently President of the Board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) has been appointed to serve as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to the United Nations.
In this role, Bloomberg will consult with mayors around the world to spur both political commitment and concrete action to combat the growing impacts of climate change and severe weather.
30 January 2014
GBCA new green partnership with Kathmandu
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has forged a new partnership with Kathmandu, Australia’s leading specialist in quality clothing and equipment for travel and adventure.
Kathmandu is committed to developing a sustainable retail offering, and working with the GBCA to develop a sustainability-focused design framework for its retail tenancies.
Research has found that integrating green design – such as access to natural light and ventilation, and choosing materials that are low in harmful chemicals – can improve retail takings. A 2003 Heschong Mahone study in the US found evidence that good daylighting was found to increase sales by up to 40 per cent.
27 January 2014
Australia Day Honours for Deo Prasad & Peter Newman, CRCLCL
A commitment to sustainability and the development of greener cities has resulted in Australia Day honours for Scientia Professor Deo Prasad, CEO of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) and Professor Peter Newman was awarded for contributions to urban design and transport sustainability. They have both been appointed as an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia.
14 January 2014
ISCA on quantifying the role of green infrastructure to Carbon Performance
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has commenced a new research project to provide guidance on quantifying the carbon impacts of green infrastructure that will:
- Identify existing tools and guidelines for calculating the carbon impacts of green infrastructure
- Review existing tools and guidelines to determine those which are most relevant to the various types of infrastructure assessed under the IS rating scheme.
- Develop further guidance on use of the most relevant and appropriate tools.
ISCA is seeking assistance. If you have any information please email Parisa at email@example.com