The City of Sydney Council is proposing new planning controls that will require development applications for new and remodeled buildings to meet emission reduction standards.
According to the proposal, a first for local authorities in Australia, DAs for new office buildings, hotels, shopping malls, flats, mixed-use developments and major renovations, must meet minimum energy ratings from 2023 and achieve a net-zero energy yield by 2026.
Reduction of emissions can be achieved through increased energy efficiency, renewable energy production on site and – yet another first for the planning system – procurement of renewable energy on site.
Off-site procurement of renewable energy
Clare Donovan, the City of Sydney’s Sustainability Program Manager, told a planner for the Net Zero Energy Buildings briefing on March 11 that there were a number of out-of-site procurement options.
“You can either buy and withdraw large regeneration certificates or buy green power certificates or use your existing power purchase agreement as long as it covers the five-year period,” she said.
City of Sydney’s Strategic Planning and Urban Design CEO Ben Pechey says the proposal does not currently provide incentives as benefits would come from implementation.
“The way we have modeled the work is that these goals will be achievable and show a positive return, so provided there is time for the industry to adapt, we should not need incentives,” he told the briefing. .
The city of Sydney says the measures are expected to save more than $ 1.3 billion on energy bills between 2023 and 2042 and help the city reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2035.
Mayor Clover Moore says commercial office space, hotels and apartment buildings contribute to 68 percent of total emissions in the city’s LGA.
She says the new standards were created with the support of developers, industry associations, consultants and government agencies and can be used by councils throughout Greater Sydney.
“We have worked with industry and government to develop performance standards that are ambitious but achievable,” she said.
“We give developers a clear path and time to improve energy performance and transition to zero buildings.”
Example of other advice
The proposal is supported by the Greater Sydney Commission and real estate groups Lendlease and Stockland.
Greater Sydney Commission Environment Commissioner Emma Herd called on other councils to consider green building standards to achieve their own goals.
“These performance standards will help us meet our common goal of net zero emissions and deliver progress on urban planning for the low-carbon Greater Sydney region,” Herd said.
“I would urge councils throughout the Greater Sydney region to look at these performance standards as a useful tool for achieving environmental goals with net zero emissions and sustainability actions in their local strategic planning statements.”
Design and location SEPP
The proposal, unanimously approved by the Council, has been submitted to the NSW Government for exhibition.
It is likely to sit alongside the Design and Place SEPP, which aims to integrate place and design quality into planning policy. The formal submissions are closed and the last SEPP will go on public display later this year.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes told the March briefing that Design and Place SEPP was the planning system’s biggest lever to ensure sustainable buildings and achieve the NSW Government’s net zero target of 2050.
“This new policy is designed to integrate all of our design thinking when it comes to the built environment and public spaces across the length and breadth of the state,” he said.
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