City of Sydney pushes for net zero offices by 2050 with Sustainable Office Building Plan

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As reported in The Fifth Estate, the City of Sydney is pushing to get office buildings to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The City has announced their Sustainable Office Building Plan that includes measures such as increased building standards, mandatory disclosure of NABERS tenancy ratings and increased amounts of renewables.

Australia’s largest commercial building and accommodation market has just released a draft version of their Sustainable Office Building Plan, containing strategies to be implemented by a range of stakeholders – including building owners, developers, tenants, employees, building managers and government agencies – in order to meet the city’s goals of reducing carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and to become net zero by 2050.

Recommendations include resource efficiency upgrades, better waste minimisation processes, higher energy performance standards for new buildings and major refurbishments, including 6 Star NABERS commitment agreements for new hotels.

Sydney is Australia’s largest accommodation market,  home to 20,000 hotel rooms, 5000 serviced apartments, 6000 backpacker hostel beds and more than 6000 short term letting listings.

The Sustainable Office Building Plan names higher minimum standards for new builds and refurbishments as the biggest opportunity for carbon emission reduction and energy efficiency gains. While there is a planned upgrade in the National Construction Code for commercial building energy efficiency in 2019, the plan says Australia’s minimum construction standards are “far behind” international best practice, and further updates need to keep in line with global peers.

The city is looking at amendments to its Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan to “secure net zero development”.

Significant savings could be made by using 5.5 star NABERS Energy commitment agreements for new commercial office buildings and would investigate the inclusion of planning control provisions that introduce NABERS Energy Commitment Agreements for new commercial office buildings or major refurbishments over 500 square metres or 1000 sq m.

Another part of the plan recommends expanding mandatory building performance disclosure to tenancies.

The city’s commercial offices are responsible for 45 per cent of carbon emissions, 20 per cent of commercial waste and 27 per cent of water consumption. If the plan’s recommendations are taken up, it’s expected the sector could reduce carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2021/22 and 46 per cent by 2029/30.

However this is short of the 70 per cent reduction goals by 2030, meaning the gap needs to be filled by a large increase in renewable energy in the grid, and “potentially other energy efficiency measures not yet identified”.

The council said it was researching aggregated power purchase agreements, GreenPower and direct investment in projects to increase the supply of renewable energy to the city.

The action plan could also lead to a nine per cent reduction in potable water use, and an increase in diversion from landfill to 70 per cent by 2021/22 and 90 per cent by 2029/30.

Click here to download the Sustainable Office Building Plan

Click here to read the full article on The Fifth Estate.




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