In February 2020, the Future Melbourne Committee endorsed 10 priority actions in response to the climate and biodiversity emergency including supporting an accelerated pathway to zero emissions by 2040. One of these actions was to ‘Mandate greening and zero emissions buildings through the Planning Scheme’.
Buildings are the biggest contributor to emissions in our municipality, accounting for 66% of all our emissions. This means we must change the way we build our homes and offices to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency.
This is why we are taking bold action by raising the standards for Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) and green infrastructure in our Planning Scheme, as well as proposing that many of these standards are mandatory for new buildings in our municipality.
This proposal is known as the Sustainable Building Design Amendment C376 and aims to introduce new best-practice ESD Standards into the planning scheme to ensure that new buildings in the municipality respond to climate change. Amendment C376 also implements the Green Factor tool, which is an online green infrastructure assessment tool designed by City of Melbourne, and was developed to help with optimising the design of green infrastructure and external landscapes on buildings.
The Standards will apply to new buildings in the City of Melbourne as well as alterations and additions that meet a certain size threshold and will mean that new developments in the city need to achieve specific environmental targets. This includes solar panels, green roofs and walls, better insulation, using water more wisely and bike racks to encourage cycling.
These new Standards are designed to improve the liveability of the city as the climate gets hotter and more extreme. For example greening will help cool buildings during a heatwave, and using water wisely will help us cope better with drought events, all of which are becoming more common. Together the new Standards will also make buildings cheaper to operate.