New leaders should look to leave a lasting legacy, says GBCA

As NSW citizens head to the polls to choose their new councils, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) encourages all voters to elect leaders committed to leaving a lasting legacy.

“When our local councils are investing millions of dollars in new buildings and masterplanned communities, it’s essential that we get it right,” says the GBCA’s Head of Public Affairs, Jonathan Cartledge.

“Leading local governments recognise they have a responsibility to ensure their buildings are sustainable, not simply to minimise carbon emissions – although this is important – but also to leave a legacy for the communities they serve.”

The GBCA is currently working with 44 local councils around Australia to achieve Green Star ratings for everything from libraries to community centres, aquatic centres and council offices to art galleries.

Shellharbour City Council has shown its leadership through the design and delivery of the new Shellharbour Civic Centre, which recently achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating, representing ‘Australian Excellence’. The Centre will feature a city library and museum, civic square, auditorium and café, as well as council chambers.

“Research from the GBCA has found Green Star buildings consume two-thirds less electricity and produce two-thirds fewer greenhouse gas emissions than Australian buildings. This means they have a small carbon footprint and are much cheaper to run – saving thousands of dollars in utility bills each year,” Mr Cartledge says.

“When building projects are funded by public money, a Green Star rating gives rate payers the confidence that their community’s assets will be valuable for many years to come,” Mr Cartledge adds.

The Green Star – Communities rating tool, which assesses the design and delivery of masterplanned communities, is also guiding local governments as they develop new precincts that support jobs and economic growth, affordable housing, social cohesion and outstanding environmental outcomes.

“The $2 billion Parramatta Square development, one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country, is on track to achieve a Green Star – Communities rating, as well as Green Star ratings for each building in the precinct.

“This is what local government leadership looks like – and we think all NSW citizens should expect similar outcomes from their elected officials,” Mr Cartledge adds.

“At a significant time of major infrastructure delivery, elected officials have an obligation to leverage better outcomes for residents and future generations. A four-year term brings with it unmissable opportunities to build new places that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable for decades to come.”