Carbon neutral buildings and precincts are a step closer

A clear pathway to carbon neutral buildings and precincts are a step closer, as the Australian Government releases two draft voluntary standards.

Public consultation is now open on the draft National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and the draft National Carbon Offset Standard for Precincts.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has worked closely with the federal Department of Environment and Energy and the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) to develop clear definitions and voluntary standards for carbon neutrality or ‘net zero’ emissions for buildings and precincts.

According to the GBCA’s Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark finds Australia’s property sector already leads the world in the design and delivery of low-carbon buildings, but this work will provide clear guidance as industry works towards eliminating emissions from buildings.

“Around a quarter of Australia’s emissions come from our buildings,” Mr Chapa says.

“Australia’s property industry is recognised the world over for its leadership in sustainability, but we need to accelerate our efforts if we are to limit global warming to within the 1.5˚C target outlined in the Paris Agreement.

“Accelerating market transformation requires clear definitions of what a carbon zero building or precinct looks like. Up until now, industry hasn’t had clear guidance, making it hard to make comparisons or verify claims.

“Our work with the National Carbon Offset Standard sets a clear definition of carbon neutrality. It will help building owners understand how to measure, reduce and offset their operational emissions.

“It will also give tenants comfort that their buildings and precincts are actually carbon neutral.  This work also allows them to use Green Star – Performance and NABERS Energy as mechanisms for demonstrating carbon neutrality,” Mr Chapa explains.

“Clear standards and guidelines are essential as we transition to a zero carbon economy,” Mr Chapa adds.

The building and precinct standards will be launched in 2017. Consultation on the draft standards is open until 10 February 2017. Submissions can be made to the Department of Environment and Energy.

The GBCA will host a webinar on the draft standards on Friday 16 December. Register online.