Home Environmental, Social and Governance Call for local governments to back better buildings

Call for local governments to back better buildings

  • October 25, 2023
  • by Property Australia
The report was launched at an event with the City of Melbourne this week

A new report detailing a suite of recommendations for local governments to drive down carbon emissions in buildings was released by the Green Building Council of Australia and the Property Council of Australia at an event on Monday night with the City of Melbourne.

Every Building Counts – For Local Government makes 19 policy recommendations over six key themes to shape a greener, healthier and more equitable built environment.

GBCA CEO Davina Rooney said the report highlights the importance of local governments continuing to demonstrate climate leadership by setting targets for achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner for their local area, 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,” Ms Rooney said.

“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 said 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,” Ms Evans said.

“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.”

GBCA and the Property Council also welcomed the City of Melbourne’s Retrofit Melbourne plan which was launched alongside the report.

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

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

“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.”

Another important announcement at the event was the Global Cooksafe Coalition welcoming City of Sydney and City of Melbourne 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, promote electrification of homes and businesses and explore options to develop planning controls around electrification. While 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. We’re especially pleased that this means a commitment to fossil fuel free commercial and residential kitchens,” said Virginia Jones, the GCC’s Australia Program Manager.

About Every Building Counts – Local Government

Key policy recommendations:

  • Set a long-term vision for zero-carbon-ready buildings
  • Support a nationally harmonised approach to phase out fossil fuel gas in buildings and appliances
  • Accelerate the shift to high-performance, sustainable buildings with targeted incentives
  • Commit to achieving zero-carbon-ready new and existing government-owned and leased buildings by 2030
  • Drive the application of trusted, robust, credible rating systems such as Green Star
  • Adopt a credible national framework for measuring embodied carbon.

Every Building Counts – Local Government policy plan is part of a series of publications that demonstrate how government and industry collaboration can drive innovation for a greener, healthier and more equitable built environment. 

It is a companion to two others tailored for the Federal Government and State and Territory Governments. The Every Building Counts series has been developed with the input of steering group partners, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and Energy Efficiency Council.

You can read the report here www.everybuildingcounts.com.au