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Planning incentives could drive greener builds

The Property Council of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) are calling for sustainability-driven planning incentives and reforms to facilitate the rapid development of energy-efficient new buildings.

The organisations have released the state and territory level version of the Every Building Counts report. It outlines a series of policy recommendations, centred on property, that could contribute to Australia reaching its decarbonisation goals.

One of the key recommendations is the creation of planning incentives such as sustainability-driven density bonuses, and green door policies that fast-track sustainable developments to accelerate the development of high-performing and sustainable new buildings.

Property Council ACT Executive Director Shane Martin says planning incentives like density bonuses and green door policies would increase the sustainability of new buildings by addressing a primary concern for builders: the expenses, time commitment and unpredictability associated with planning systems.

He believes the ACT government’s plans for electrifying homes and buildings in the ACT are a great first step, but there are significant opportunities to scale up that progress with planning incentives that promote sustainable practices and reduced emissions.

In Australia, buildings account for more than 50 per cent of electricity use and 23 per cent of all emissions. The report also recommends incentivising energy efficiency and electrification retrofits for existing homes, applying minimum performance standards for rental properties and mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency at the point of sale.

GBCA CEO Davina Rooney believes state and territory governments must turbocharge the shift to high-performance sustainable buildings and homes.

“We see great examples of what is possible with sustainable, all-electric homes, buildings and communities in the ACT,” she says.

“When state and territory governments introduce policies and incentives to reduce cost barriers for sustainable buildings, we will see this happen at scale.”

She believes that applying a strategy at the state or territory level that outlines a clear and consistent course for reducing emissions, matched by policies that provide the industry with confidence, will further advance the efforts already championed by the property sector.

The report also urges state and territory governments to commit to achieving zero-carbon-ready new and existing government owned and leased buildings by 2030, to support low-income and vulnerable households and consumers with targeted and ongoing assistance and tools, and to adopt a credible framework for measuring embodied carbon.

“Every Building Counts: for state and territory governments” outlines 39 recommendations across eight key themes, including:

  • Zero-carbon-ready resilient building plan
  • Electrification
  • Incentivise high performance
  • Minimum standards
  • Energy market reform
  • Government leadership
  • Robust rating tools for all building types
  • Towards zero-embodied carbon.

The report is available to download here.

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