National Carbon Offset Standard expanded
Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt has announced the expansion of the National Carbon Offset Standard, which since 2010 has enabled businesses, products and events to be certified as carbon neutral.
As part of the standard, certified organisations reduce their emissions through using renewable energy and lowering energy use through energy-efficiency measures or reducing waste and increasing recycling. They offset the remaining emissions through the purchase of abatement units, such as for native vegetation restoration.
Following requests from the community to expand the program, the certification system will be expanded to include cities, precincts and buildings. The aim is for Australia to have its first officially certified and operating carbon-neutral precinct or city by January 2017.
The expansion will also see the establishment of an Expert Committee, which will hold its first meeting in April 2016. Committee members will include representatives from big cities, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), the NABERS and the CRC for Low Carbon Living.
GBCA Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew said the council applauds the expansion of the standard and is “delighted to participate in the Expert Committee”. She noted that Australia’s cities are responsible for up to 80% of our national energy consumption and so “are at the frontline of any efforts to tackle climate change”.
“Australia’s property and construction industry is responsible for delivering the building blocks of our cities, from individual buildings to entire communities,” Madew said. “If we are to meet Australia’s emissions reduction targets and international commitments to limit global warming to less than 2°C, we must find ways to encourage and empower industry to deliver more sustainable development.
“To do this, we need a credible, rigorous and broadly accepted method that provides a clear definition of carbon-neutral buildings and provides certainty to investors, tenants and building owners. Expanding the National Carbon Offset Standard will allow Australia’s property industry to be recognised for creating and operating carbon-neutral buildings, precincts and entire cities.”
Originally published here.
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