New buildings roadmap thinks global, acts local

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Property Council have released a new version of the Every Building Counts roadmap aimed at local councils.

Launched at a City of Melbourne event on October 23, Every Building Counts – For Local Government makes 19 policy recommendations over six key themes with the aim of making the built environment “greener, healthier, and more equitable”.

GBCA CEO Davina Rooney says the report highlights the importance of local governments continuing to demonstrate climate leadership by setting targets for achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner, underpinned by clear, long-term strategies that will encourage and deliver zero-carbon-ready, resilient buildings.

“Our local governments have been at the global forefront of climate action innovation,” says Rooney.

“In recent years we have seen them step up to lead the charge on policies and programs that accelerate action on energy efficiency, emissions reduction and electrification for homes and buildings in their communities.”

Property Council Victorian Executive Director Cath Evans says that without coordinated and targeted actions to address building emissions, the net zero transition cannot be totally successful.

Every Building Counts recognises that every level of government has an important role to play in setting policies that support full decarbonisation of new and existing buildings,” Evans says.

“For local government, the recommendations in this report and ready-made examples of successful initiatives provide a platform for the next phase of locally-led reforms.

“The adoption of Every Building Counts policies will incentivise high performance buildings, encourage uptake of proven ratings tools and showcase local government leadership.”

Launched alongside the new iteration of Every Building Counts was the City of Melbourne’s Retrofit Melbourne plan.

City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece says Retrofit Melbourne is a necessary plan to lower emissions, drive down energy bills and make buildings more sustainable.

“Existing buildings contribute 66 per cent of our current carbon emissions,” says Reece. “To become a zero carbon city by 2040, more than 80 commercial buildings need to be decarbonised each year.

“It’s crucial we act now – working alongside industry, government and academic partners to future-proof our city for generations to come. We need to get the balance right – protecting our older buildings which give Melbourne its character, while accelerating our collective journey towards zero net emissions.”

“Buildings that are decarbonised are more attractive to tenants and also increase capital value over time – unlocking enormous potential to revitalise underutilised commercial buildings in the city, supporting a thriving city experience and economy.”

Also at the event, the Global Cooksafe Coalition welcomed City of Melbourne and City of Sydney as its first government supporters, along with Scape Australia.

In becoming signatories, both councils have agreed to eliminate fossil fuels from state-owned buildings by 2040, to promote electrification of homes and businesses, and to explore options to develop planning controls around electrification.

Scape Australia has committed to ensuring that its new student facilities will be fossil-fuel free from 2030 and that their 33 existing student residence buildings will be fossil-fuel free by 2040.

“The Global Cooksafe Coalition is thrilled to be part of this event focusing on practical steps that can be taken to prepare our cities for a zero carbon future,” says GCC’s Australia Program Manager Virginia Jones. “We’re especially pleased that this means a commitment to fossil-fuel free commercial and residential kitchens.”

Every Building Counts – For Local Government is available here.

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