Rating system makes development green

Monday, 10 December, 2007

Sydney will benefit from an environmental rating system for new residential and commercial development. It hopes to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste going to land fill.

Under the scheme, new multi-storey residential developments will be required to show how buildings meet environmental standards in the use of building materials, waste and recycling, landscaping, stormwater management and solar access. The new standards complement the NSW government’s Basix tool, which focuses on residential energy and water consumption.

“The fact is, the city simply can’t afford not to consider this path for new development in Sydney,” City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said.

“We need to take a long-term view of climate change. By acting now, we prevent potential catastrophic damage to the future of our city.

“The new rating system will make it easier for home buyers and builders to rate the environmental performance of buildings and consolidate a range of environmental performance controls into one document.”

Benefits of the rating system include:

Similar measures already exist in Melbourne and Brisbane. In Melbourne, for example, all new office building developments must meet a minimum 4.5 star base building rating.

The cost of meeting the new ratings could be around $3000 per unit, or between 1 to 2% of the construction cost of a dwelling unit in Sydney.

This estimation is based on analysis of several existing development applications. However, it is likely that costs will be far less when the ESD measures are considered at the design stage of development.

Additional costs will be offset by reductions on energy, water and waste over the long term.

If approved by Committees, The new Draft Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Development Control Plan 2007 will be placed on public exhibition for a minimum of 48 days. The draft plan is accompanied by a technical manual that gives examples of ways to meet the controls as well as appropriate building materials.

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