City of Melbourne looks to build a more sustainable city


Wednesday, 16 September, 2020


City of Melbourne looks to build a more sustainable city

In a bid to lower energy and water bills and create a more sustainable and resilient city, councillors in the City of Melbourne will consider proposed changes to the planning scheme to deliver more sustainable buildings.

Environment Portfolio Chair Cr Cathy Oke said encouraging investment in sustainable and energy-efficient buildings will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Zero net emissions buildings could provide an economic benefit of more than $4 billion to the municipality by 2050,” Cr Oke said.

“Melbourne’s climate is getting hotter and we’re experiencing more extreme weather events. We need to deliver more sustainable buildings and green infrastructure to cool our streets, homes and offices and save water.

“Green-Star-rated buildings produce 55% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 66% less electricity than the average Australian building.

“We must change the way we plan and deliver infrastructure to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency.”

Councillors will consider a proposal to seek ministerial authorisation to amend the planning scheme — a process that would involve extensive engagement with industry and the community and a ‘phase-in’ period of at least 18 months.

Planning Portfolio Chair Cr Nicholas Reece said the amendment proposes using established ratings tools, which are well known and accepted by the property and development industry, to assess the environmental performance of buildings.

“Sustainable design can and should play a role in supporting our economic recovery from COVID-19 — by encouraging investment in things like solar panels, green roofs and walls, and energy-efficient materials and better insulation,” Cr Reece said.

“Many companies are already moving towards more sustainable development because this is what tenants and buyers want.

“Buildings are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in our municipality, accounting for 66% of all our emissions.

“Delivering better buildings will ensure Melbourne remains competitive globally and help us to meet our target of zero emissions by 2040.”

Councillors will also consider endorsing an Australian-first online tool with a focus on green infrastructure, including contribution to biodiversity, ecology and cooling the city.

The ‘Melbourne Green Factor’ tool, developed and piloted by the City of Melbourne, is an evidence-based tool that enables architects and developers to integrate a range of green infrastructure outcomes at the planning stage.

Cr Oke said the Green Factor Tool would help developers measure the green credentials of their design at the planning stage and make it easier to comply with proposed new standards.

“It will help build more sustainable buildings and communities by measuring the quality and quantity of green infrastructure, such as green roofs, walls and gardens,” Cr Oke said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/weerapat1003

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