Policy Perspective - April 2018

Green Star looks to the future

Climate change. Globalisation. Rapid urbanisation. Technological innovation. Resilience. Human rights.

These are some of the global megatrends reshaping the world, and the property industry.

The GBCA’s vision for healthy, resilient and positive places for people and the natural environment looks to the future. The next revision of Green Star must do so too: this is Green Star Future Focus.

At Green Cities, Green Star Future Focus was launched with a high-level summary of the changes we are considering for Green Star. Our plan is to work closely with you, the people who use Green Star, to deliver updated tools from 2019.

Alongside Green Star Future Focus we launched a summary of our upcoming carbon positive roadmap which outlines a detailed plan for Green Star to help meet Australia’s international commitments and keep global warming well below 2 degrees.

To progress these important issues we will be seeking the views and expertise of our members, wider industry and government stakeholders.

On 23 April, we will host an interactive webinar, as well as feedback sessions throughout the country in May and June.

For more information and ways you can get involved, click here.

Supercharged year for Australia’s energy future

Participation from both government and opposition was welcome at this year’s Green Cities Conference, where we heard from federal and state energy ministers on the big policy picture relating to energy – energy efficiency, smart energy solutions and the renewables challenge.

The Hon Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg discussed a number of Federal energy efficiency initiatives, noting that while Government has been occupied with developing a framework for supply (see our feedback on the National Energy Guarantee here), that it was crucial to also address the demand side solutions. His speech noted the review of the Greenhouse Emissions Minimum Standards Act (GEMS Act) (our submission here), the 2019 update of the National Construction Code, and a review of the Commercial Building Disclosure Program which is expected to commence later this year.

Energy efficiency also featured in the address given by the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy the Hon. Mark Butler, who called industry ‘a shining example’ for moving forward with its own decarbonisation agenda. We were pleased to hear the Shadow Minister mention the important need for changes to the National Construction Code in the residential sector, and a trajectory that sets a pathway for decarbonisation – work which is currently being progressed by Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks through the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Resources and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio spoke of the many projects being progressed in Victoria to support the Government’s net zero emissions target, including the Victorian Renewable Energy Target Scheme, the Renewable Energy Auction scheme and the Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme.

2018 presents new opportunities for increased energy efficiency and productivity through higher minimum standards supported by government leadership. The Australian Building Codes Board has been seeking input on the draft provisions of the National Construction Code 2019, which comprises the biggest update to Section J since its introduction. The GBCA recognises the detailed work that the ABCB has undertaken for this round of consultation, and is committed to a constructive dialogue with government and industry to develop a clear trajectory for the Code that aligns a rapid, cost effective national transition to net zero emissions. Our advocacy in support of increasing energy efficiency in the NCC is being advanced collaboratively with ASBEC and ClimateWorks through the Trajectory Project. We encourage our members to likewise engage with this significant and welcome revision of the NCC.

City of Sydney Exhibits Sustainability Sector Strategies

The City of Sydney has released two new draft sustainability strategies, Sydney’s Sustainable Office Buildings Plan and Making Sydney a Sustainable Destination. Both strategies focus on accelerating net zero emissions buildings through environmental ratings, capacity building, retrofits and renewable energy. They also outline the opportunities for connection to recycled water and for improved waste management.

Sydney’s Sustainable Office Building Plan calls on building owners and tenants to reap the benefits of efficient buildings running on renewable energy. Innovation and improvements by sector leaders need to be reproduced by others in the sector, especially building tenants.

The Making Sydney a Sustainable Destination plan sets a vision for Sydney to be recognised globally as a sustainable destination.  The strategy identifies opportunities for accommodation and entertainment owners and operators, event organisers, developers and government agencies to improve the sector’s energy and water-intensive operations and take advantage growing demand for sustainable tourism and business travel destinations.

The GBCA’s submissions to these sector strategies can be viewed here. You can stay informed about the City of Sydney’s projects by subscribing to the City’s online engagement platform at www.sydneyyoursay.com.au/register

Spotlight on the CEFC: helping drive new standards in property sector sustainability

(Author: CEFC)

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s commitment to driving the property sector towards net zero carbon buildings has involved more than $1 billion of investment over six years aimed at lifting sustainability standards and setting new industry benchmarks.

The CEFC has identified energy efficiency in the built environment as a key priority for lowering Australia's carbon emissions, alongside the increased use of renewable energy and low emissions vehicles. It looks to work with leading property players and key industry bodies such as GBCA to help set and drive the uptake of clean energy and energy efficiency across the entire property sector.

The CEFC’s recent investments are:

·         Up to $100 million in equity to Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial (APPF Commercial).  The fund is targeting net zero emissions across its $4.5 billion commercial property portfolio by 2025. This will also support a commercial precinct development that promises to deliver emissions savings over and above what could be achieved in standalone buildings, by networking and sharing technologies across the buildings and facilities within the precinct.

·         Up to $90 million in debt finance as part of Mirvac’s broader financing of masterplanned communities in Brisbane and Sydney where new homes aimed at first and new home buyers will have leading energy efficiency initiatives plus built-in solar-plus-battery systems that are expected to reduce household energy costs by up to 90 per cent.  As a key part of the investment, the CEFC and Mirvac will monitor energy use to provide insights into the positive impacts of these technologies on daily energy consumption.

·         Up to $100 million equity in the new Dexus Healthcare Wholesale Property Fund (HWPF), which owns Australia’s first portfolio of hospital and healthcare assets with an environmentally sustainable development focus. The HWPF is targeting emissions reductions of 45 per cent in both new and existing buildings when compared to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Baseline Energy Consumption in commercial buildings. New buildings will target a Green Star Design and As Built rating of 5 Stars and Green Star Performance Rating.

·         A $200 million senior debt facility for QIC Global Real Estate to pursue improvements in energy efficiency across its portfolio of Australian shopping centres. Although the shopping centres involved are of different ages and are at different levels of sustainability, QICGRE is targeting a 4-star NABERS rating across its portfolio within 5 years, which will translate to energy savings of between 30 and 40 per cent.

Learn more about the CEFC’s investment activities at its website.