City of Melbourne calls on FMs to help achieve net zero

by Sophie Berrill
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The City of Melbourne is urging facility managers, building owners, tenants, industry associates and governments to transform and retrofit buildings in the CBD to reduce their carbon emissions. It’s a call to help propel the municipality towards the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2040.

To reach the milestone, almost 80 Melbourne buildings each year would need major upgrades and refurbishments to improve energy performance – a significantly higher rate currently being delivered by the market.   

According to the local government authority, commercial buildings are responsible for 60 percent of Melbourne city’s greenhouse gas emissions, while residential towers account for six percent of emissions.

“We cannot meet our emissions reduction targets without upgrading our city’s buildings to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. The City of Melbourne can play a key role in supporting this critical work,” says the Sustainable Building portfolio lead Councillor Elizabeth Mary Doidge.    

“We can lower our emissions, lower our energy bills, lower COVID transmissions, and importantly, bring workers back to the city through improving building sustainability.” 

To help accelerate the current retrofit rate, the council has released a Zero Carbon Buildings for Melbourne discussion paper. The paper outlines sweeping new measures the City of Melbourne and partners could implement to support the transition of city buildings to net zero emissions.  

The seven key initiatives proposed: 

  • developing zero carbon building leases with an agreement between landlords and tenants to ensure the ongoing use and operation of zero carbon buildings 
  • establishing a carbon risk tool by understanding the future risk of carbon for mid- and low-tier buildings 
  • incentivising periodic commercial building disclosure with a program to encourage periodic reporting of a building’s NABERS rating 
  • promoting joint procurement by supporting lower grade and ungraded buildings to increase capacity to carry out deep retrofits jointly 
  • convening zero carbon building retrofit teams to create a more collaborative, relational way of working 
  • incentivising building performance through rates by using rates to encourage emissions reduction, and 
  • introducing an emissions cap through local law by establishing an emissions ceiling for buildings.  

The recommended initiatives were informed by local and international case studies and developed through interviews with more than 70 industry stakeholders.   

The City of Melbourne invites feedback 

The City of Melbourne has encouraged industry stakeholders, academics and community members have their say on the discussion paper via Participate Melbourne

“We want to hear from those involved in every facet of the building industry so we can better understand how to empower them to help us create a greener, more sustainable city for all Melburnians,” says Lord Mayor Sally Capp.  

Consultation closes 16 November 2022. Feedback will inform the development of the City of Melbourne’s Zero Carbon Building Implementation Plan to be delivered in mid-2023. 

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