Charging ahead: designing precincts for an all-electric future

12 Mar 2024

As Australia moves towards a fully renewable national electricity grid, it’s essential that new precincts are optimised to support the transition, allow the country to reach its climate targets, and secure lower energy costs. 

The Green Building Council of Australia today released a new guide, “The future is electric: A practical guide for grid-optimised precincts,” to assist on this critical journey. 

“Precincts are playing an increasing role in how we live, work and play – and need to be future proofed so they can last for generations to come,” says Green Building Council of Australia CEO, Davina


“Every new precinct can be built to be all-electric today using technologies that are proven, efficient and available. And doing so is an essential step towards zero carbon, lower energy bills, and adhering to changing government regulations.” 

The practical guide is designed to help developers, governments, building owners, investors, and residents to plan and best utilise all-electric precincts. 

It discusses current technology options, and how to prepare for the transition to electric vehicles, energy storage, and a more dynamic renewable electricity grid. 

This guide discusses how new precincts can be designed to support: 

  • All-electric low energy buildings

Transitioning to all-electric buildings and precincts, especially those powered by renewable energy, has emerged as the most viable strategy for reducing carbon emissions within the built environment. As the electricity grid becomes greener, any new development relying on gas will produce significantly more emissions than a comparable all-electric project. 

  • Electricity grid resilience and demand reduction

Grid interactive precincts can assist in smoothing the transition to a fully renewable national electricity grid by reducing electricity consumption, minimising peak demand, shifting the time of day that electricity is imported from the grid, and utilising electricity when it is in abundance and at its cheapest. 

  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging

As the revolution in electric vehicles gains momentum in Australia, precincts (not petrol stations) will be where most vehicles are charged. Amendments to the National Construction Code now require provisions for batteries and electric vehicle charging facilities in certain building categories.  

  • Lower energy bills for households and businesses 

For precinct operators, building owners, and tenants, all-electric models present opportunities to lower energy expenses, shield themselves from the fluctuations of global energy markets and geopolitical unrest, and avoid the costs associated with maintaining an increasingly obsolete gas infrastructure. 

“The age of gas use in our precincts is coming to an end. Electrification not only minimises carbon footprints, but also offers superior financial outcomes,” Ms Rooney said.  

“Preparing precincts for an all-electric future is also crucial as government policies increasingly begin to revoke previous mandates for gas infrastructure installation.  

“And we’re also seeing shifting consumer sentiment in this space, with more people becoming aware of the health and environmental benefits of all-electric.” 

Dan Pediaditis from the guide’s funding partner, Boundless, said the guide was a necessary next step for the built environment to do its part in combatting climate change.  

“The mission to avert the climate crisis is requiring big, and technical, thinking across many different industries. And that is no less true in the building industry,” Pediaditis said. 

“The way that electricity is generated and used is changing rapidly and the built environment needs to be able to respond with proper guidance, planning and management. 

“This guide sets a very clear road map across the life cycle of a precinct to ensure all stakeholders are working effectively towards a common goal. By electrifying precincts properly from the beginning, we will see huge environmental and financial benefits for many generations to come.” 

This guide builds on GBCA’s 2022 roadmap to decarbonise Australia’s precincts, which set a net zero goal for new precincts by 2030, and existing precincts by 2050.

Case studies of all-electric precincts can be found within the guide: The future is electric: A practical guide for grid-optimised precincts. You can download the guide here.