Carbon Positive Roadmap will pave the way for climate action

All new buildings must be emissions-neutral by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050 if Australia is to meet its climate change targets, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew says the GBCA is developing a new ‘Carbon Positive Roadmap’ in close consultation with industry to drive carbon positive buildings and communities.

The GBCA has launched a discussion paper, A carbon positive roadmap for the built environment, at the Green Cities 2017 conference in Sydney today.

The discussion paper outlines how the built environment can help Australia meet its greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, and asks for industry feedback.

“More than 170 nations – including Australia – have agreed to limit global temperature rises to less than 2˚C, and to strive towards global temperature rises of no more than 1.5˚C,” Ms Madew says.

“As the built environment is responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, the property and construction industry has a central role to play in meeting these targets.

“We are working with the 1.5˚C target, and this means that all new buildings must be net zero emissions by 2030, and all existing buildings must be net zero emissions by 2050.

“The discussion paper asks industry what this means for Green Star buildings – and especially for world-leadership Green Star buildings.”

Ms Madew says the GBCA has identified four key priorities: promoting energy efficiency through passive design and efficient systems; driving investment in resilient, renewable energy infrastructure; increasing markets for net zero carbon products, materials and services; and promoting offsets for remaining emissions.

“We believe this approach will be a cost-effective pathway for buildings and portfolios, and will also achieve other positive outcomes for Australia – such as efficient, comfortable and healthy buildings, energy security and a thriving renewable energy industry, jobs growth in emerging sectors, and enhanced biodiversity.”

“Our industry has a strong-track record delivering sustainable buildings and precincts, and now has the world’s most sustainable market according to the Global Real Estate Sustainable Benchmark. We have demonstrated how carbon reduction strategies can reduce costs, boost health and wellbeing of building occupants and enhance the value of assets. This Carbon Positive Roadmap is a natural next step, providing clear pathways to carbon neutrality and creating new value for building owners, occupants and the broader community,” says Davina Rooney, Stockland’s General Manager of Sustainability.

“The GBCA has strong networks with industry and government, respected rating tools and a history of delivering positive outcomes for the built environment, and is in a position to gain consensus on industry action. A Carbon Positive Roadmap will help industry to take action, address current barriers and drive a carbon positive future,” says Paolo Bevilacqua, General Manager Sustainability at Frasers Property Australia.

Geoff Dutaillis, Group Head of Sustainability at Lendlease, says: “Large-scale ‘climate positive’ developments like Barangaroo South in Sydney and Elephant & Castle in London are using innovation, technology and collaboration to demonstrate that the built environment can play a leading role in delivering real action on climate change and the transition to a carbon-neutral future. The GBCA provides a united voice for our industry in addressing material issues such as this, through providing practical tools such as the draft Carbon Positive Roadmap to enable us to unlock the value of buildings.”

“While this discussion paper puts forward our ideas, feedback from industry is mission critical. It is only by working together that we will achieve a carbon positive future,” Ms Madew concludes.

Download the discussion paper, A carbon positive roadmap for the built environment.

Feedback is being sought until Friday 28 April.