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  • 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.

    Premier’s media release here.
    EEC media release here.

  • 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.

    Media release here.
    More info on the NEPP here.

  • 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.

    Download How cautious analysis could lead to ‘do nothing’ policy.

  • 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.

    Recommendations include:

    1. A more ambitious building energy regulatory target to be put in place for new housing;
    2. Regulation of energy standards for rental properties to protect the most vulnerable to energy poverty;
    3. Disclosure of energy performance should be mandated to provide independent information and empower consumers;
    4. Incentives should be established to drive the market beyond minimum regulations;
    5. 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.

    Read about the tools’ development here and start exploring data in the portal.

  • 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.

    More information on the development process can be found on the EFCA brochure and the glossary can be downloaded from FIDIC here.

  • 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.

    Minister for Environment Greg Hunt MP’s announcement here.
    GBCA Media Release here.

  • 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:

    1. Western Air-Shed and Particulate Study for Sydney (WASPSS)
    2. Benchmarking Clean Air and Urban Landscapes
    3. Urban Greening for Liveability and Biodiversity
    4. Improved Urban Systems for Liveability
    5. 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:

    1. Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency information on buildings from 2,000m2 to 1,000m2 to capture smaller office buildings; and
    2. 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 Suburbs

    The 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

    Click here to read the COAG Energy Council Statement on the NEPP.

    Click here to read the National Energy Productivity Plan.

  • 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.

    The draft Low Carbon Transport criteria can be downloaded here.

    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.

    Visit the Urban Design Protocol website.

  • 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.

    Changes include:

    • 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.”

    Download media release here.

    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.

    Read the full GRESB report here.
    Read the media release from the GBCA here.
    Read the media release from the PCA here.

  • 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 ASBEC’s Investing in Cities: Prioritising a Cities and Urban Policy Framework for productivity, prosperity and a better standard of living.

    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 $60billion 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.

    Read the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council: Pathway to Productive and Sustainable Infrastructure Workshop Report

    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 francis.roberson@environment.nsw.gov.au.

  • 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.

    DOWNLOAD the Executive Summary
    DOWNLOAD the Full Report

  • 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.

    Explore the Climate Change in Australia tool.

    Read an article in The Conversation about the tool.

  • 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
        sector

    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. In 2002 the former Coalition Minister for Energy, Warwick Parer, lead a review that concluded:

    Read the Energy White Paper.

    See media release from the Energy Efficiency Council.

  • 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.

    Read more about this partnership.

  • 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. Flowon effects will include lower traffic congestion levels, improved health outcomes, lower accident costs, reduced emissions (greenhouse gases and air pollutants) and greater social inclusion.

    Read Moving People, Connecting Neighborhoods: The 20 Minute City.

    See more policy papers on Moving People.

  • 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.”

    Download full media release HERE.
    Download ASBEC’s Built Environment Adaptation Framework HERE.

     

  • 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 Transitiondeveloped 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:

    1. Reinforcing multi-stakeholder perspectives (public and private sectors, NGOs, civil society, etc.)
    2. Identifying and supporting industrial innovation, whatever its scale and whatever the size of the companies concerned
    3. Reaching our goals and obtaining universally-applicable results through a focus on local solutions
    4. 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
    5. time, their application and monitoring
    6. 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

    Read more about the Energivie process 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 the full Phase I National Energy Efficient Building Report here.

    Read more about the National Energy Efficient Building Project here.

  • 9 December 2014

    All Sectors Have a Part to Play in Building Australia’s Resilience

    Industry, academia, the community and all spheres of government have an important part to play in increasing the resilience of Australia’s built environment.

    An increase in general temperatures, due to climate change, has been predicted for Australia, with an ensuing upsurge in extreme weather events.  Right now we are seeing the impact of Australia’s high vulnerability to extreme weather events such as bushfires, drought, storms and floods.  The continuing prosperity of the nation is dependent on our resilience to these events.

    The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) 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 calls for cross-sector engagement through the establishment of a National Built Environment Adaptation Council, research into the true costs and benefits of climate change adaptation and increased funding for adaptation projects.

    “The built environment is at significant risk from the impacts of climate change and related extreme weather events,” said Kirsty Kelly, Chair of ASBEC’s Resilience Strategy Task Group. “Resilience of the built environment is crucial to the productivity of the country. We must make adaptation policy priority.”

    Yesterday, the NSW Government launched Adapt NSW.  “We congratulate the NSW Government for their leadership position in setting a strong foundation for informed decision making through Adapt NSW,” said Kirsty Kelly.

    ASBEC calls for a review and reform of existing regulation to remove barriers to climate change adaption and an integration of climate change considerations into strategic planning and planning policy measures to provide certainty for industry and the community.

    “The estimated overall replacement cost for Australia’s built environment is in excess of $5.4 trillion with significant economic, social and environmental risks,” said Kirsty Kelly.  “Managing risk in the built environment is absolutely crucial and ASBEC’s Built Environment Adaptation Framework provides a plan of action for all sectors”.

    Read ASBEC’s cross sector Built Environment Adaptation Framework

    Download ASBEC’s full Media Release

  • 27 November 2014

    C40 launches Global Survey of Building Energy Efficiency Policies in Cities

    The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, has launched Urban Efficiency: A Global Survey of Building Energy Efficiency Policies in Cities.

    This report highlights various building energy efficiency policies in cities around the world and aims to serve as a resource for city officials as they design new building energy efficiency policies or review existing ones. It illustrates the range of different policies, document information about the necessary conditions, opportunities and challenges of such policies, and analyse which approaches were successful and why.

    Read the full report.

     

  • 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.

    Read Climate Finance for Cities and Buildings.

  • 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

    Dr Chris Reardon, champion of sustainable design and building, lecturer and principal author of Your Home (www.yourhome.gov.au), passed away at his home earlier this week.  He will be greatly missed.

    Read Tone Wheeler’s tribute in The Fifth Estate.

  • 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):

    • Safety
    • Access to services
    • Civic engagement
    • Education
    • Jobs
    • Environment
    • Income
    • Health

    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: ceo@eec.org.au.

  • 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:

    1. vastly more purposeful planning around population, land use, economic development, technology and the funding and provision of infrastructure
    2. a reinvigorated approach to design and liveability
    3. getting our institutional settings right to achieve real change and build the community’s confidence.

    Full transcript: http://www.bca.com.au/newsroom/cities-competitiveness-and-australias-comparative-advantage-utzon-lecture-by-jennifer-westacott

     

  • 28 July 2014

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

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

    Successful projects in 2014-15 include:

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

    Government Media release

    National Emergency Management Projects

  • 25 July 2014

    Green Bonds report highlights opportunities for buildings

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

    Read the full report HERE.

  • 24 July 2014

    2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge – applications open

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

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

    Applications close on 10 September.

    Apply HERE.

  • 23 July 2014

    Economists recommend role of governments in climate change adaptation

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

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

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

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

    Read the full article.

  • 22 July 2014

    City energy: A new powerhouse for Britain

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

    Read more here.

  • 21 July 2014

    Grattan Institute: cities as engines of prosperity

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

    The report highlights the following findings:

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

    Read the report

  • 20 July 2014

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

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

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

    Key findings of this paper include:

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

    Australia’s Carbon Tax Repealed

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

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

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

  • 17 July 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 15 July 2014

    Congratulations to winners of 2014 Urban Design Awards

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

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

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

    Full list of winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 14 July 2014

    Concerns raised about Victorian Government’s energy-efficiency modelling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Review of VEET Studies Final Report

  • 9 July 2014

    Nominations now open for FM Industry Awards for Excellence

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

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

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

    Award Categories include:

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

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

    SAVE THE DATE: 20 November 2014, Grand Hyatt Melbourne

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

  • 30 June 2014

    USA EPA releases new policy statement on adaptation

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

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

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

  • 24 June 2014

    Nominations are now open for the 2014 NSW Green Globe Awards

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

    This year, three new award categories have been announced:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Key Dates

    Entries close 5pm Monday 21 July 2014

    Award finalists announced in September 2014

    Awards ceremony late October 2014

  • 24 June 2014

    Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme: Certified professionals now in the market

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

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

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

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

  • 20 June 2014

    NABERS Indoor Environment public consultation

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

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

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

  • 13 June 2014

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

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

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

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

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

  • 3 June 2014

    Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star Library

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

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

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

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

  • 1 June 2014

    Standards Australia Thermal Imaging Forum

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

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

  • 31 May 2014

    A new chapter for Docklands – Library at the Dock

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

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

    Read more – The Library at The Dock

  • 30 May 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Read – Professional Builders Give Thumbs Up to Free NCC

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

  • 30 May 2014

    NSW Government announces improvements to the Energy Savings Scheme

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

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

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

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

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

    Read – NSW enhances energy savings scheme

    Read – Expanded Energy Savings Scheme a winner, says GBCA

  • 30 May 2014

    New NABERS Stakeholder Consultation Policy & Tool Review & Development Plan

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

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

    Read – NABERS Tool Review & Development Plan

  • 29 May 2014

    Peter Verwer to head up Asia Pacific Real Estate Association

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

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

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

  • 22 May 2014

    ABSA responds to WA Energy Minister cuts to consumer protection measures

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

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

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

  • 21 May 2014

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

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

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

  • 20 May 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 17 May 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 14 May 2014

    GBCA disappointed in Government’s decision to scrap the NRAS

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

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

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

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

  • 7 May 2014

    Australia’s business group joins forces with global business leaders

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

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

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

  • 6 May 2014

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

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

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

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

  • 29 April 2014

    Consult Australia launches The Business of Sustainability website

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

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

    Visit – The Business of Sustainability

  • 29 April 2014

    New head for the Property Council of Australia

    The Property Council’s incoming CEO is Ken Morrison.

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

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

    Big congratulations and welcome to Ken!

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

  • 22 April 2014

    National Energy Market reforms will boost green energy

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

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

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

    Read more – Reforms will boost green energy

  • 24 April 2014

    Direct Action white paper released

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

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

    Read more – Emissions Reduction Fund

  • 17 April 2014

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

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

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

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

  • 12 April 2014

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

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

    Other key messages for the building sector are:

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

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

  • 10 April 2014

    PIA’s response to the IPCC report

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

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

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

    Read more – PIA: planning vital to climate change response

  • 1 April 2014

    GBCA releases scoping paper and is calling for industry feedback

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

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

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

    The feedback period is open until 31 July 2014.

    Read more – Green Star Design & As Built Scoping Paper

  • 1 April 2014

    City of Melbourne research finds recent heatwaves impacted the economy

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

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

    Other key findings from the research include:

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

    Download the report here: 2014 Heatwave Business Impacts

    Read more – City combatting heatwaves to protect economy

  • 27 March 2014

    Victoria axes Greener Government Buildings program

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

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

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

  • 20 March 2014

    Australian Government – Infrastructure Outlook Report

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

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

    Read the report: Trends: Infrastructure and Transport to 2030 

  • 20 March 2014

    Skyscraper Life-Cycles

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

  • 20 March 2014

    GBCA, AECOM launch local government guide to sustainable communities

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

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

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

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

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

  • 17 March 2014

    Berlin climate-neutral by 2050

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

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

  • 15 March 2014

    First Green Star Hotel On The Horizon

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

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

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

    Read more – First green star hotel on the horizon

  • 14 March 2014

    New Architecture Foundation to promote benefits of good design

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

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

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

  • 10 March 2014

    Property Council CEO Peter Verwer stepping down

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

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

  • 5 March 2014

    US Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 20 February 2014

    Green Property Index: green buildings outperforming market

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

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

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

  • 14 February 2014

    World Bank: cities can become global engines of green growth

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

  • 18 February 2014

    Calculating Cool Aims to lower HVAC energy usage

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

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

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

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

    Read more – New HVAC rating tool to slash energy use

  • 14 February 2014

    Obama commits US$1 billion to Climate Resilience Fund

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

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

  • 14 February 2014

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

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

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

    Read more – Melbourne City sign off on zero emissions plan

  • 8 February 2014

    Australian real estate trusts failing to meet sustainability targets

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

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

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

  • 6 February 2014

    New CEO for Australian Conservation Foundation

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

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

  • 1 February 2014

    Infrastructure Australia releases Urban Strategy Report

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

  • 31 January 2014

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

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

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

  • 30 January 2014

    GBCA new green partnership with Kathmandu

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

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

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

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

  • 27 January 2014

    Australia Day Honours for Deo Prasad & Peter Newman, CRCLCL

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

  • 14 January 2014

    ISCA on quantifying the role of green infrastructure to Carbon Performance

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

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

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