City of Sydney proposes energy target requirements for development applications

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The Australian-first plan would force development applications to comply with minimum energy performance standards.

City of Sydney’s proposal would require applications to comply with minimum energy ratings from January 2023 and achieve net-zero energy output by 2026. Along with new developments, it also covers major redevelopments of existing buildings.

The measures are expected to help the city meet its target of net zero emissions by 2035 and save more than $1.3 billion on energy bills for investors, businesses and occupants from 2023 to 2040.

“Energy use in buildings is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” says Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “Commercial office space, hotels and apartment buildings contribute 68 percent of total emissions in our local government area.

“If we’re to meet our target of net zero emissions by 2035, we need to ensure this sector is contributing to emissions reduction through increased energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy production and off-site renewable energy procurement.”

The city’s new planning controls will combine energy efficiency and the use of on-site and off-site renewables to move buildings towards net zero energy use. The option to use off-site renewable energy purchases is another first for local planning councils in Australia.

The building performance standards were reached with input from developers, industry bodies, consultants and government agencies.

“The performance standards and evidence base can be used by all councils across Greater Sydney and will support investment in renewable energy and create jobs in regional areas – as we have already done through our investment in wind farms and solar farms in Inverell, Nowra and Wagga Wagga,” Moore says.

Lendlease executive development director Neil Arckless notes his organisation supports the ambitious performance standards, saying, “I’m confident we can all rise to the challenge.”

City of Sydney expects the changes to save office owners $2750 per 1000 square metres of floor area and hotel owners $170 per room annually. It would also deliver significant public health benefits and savings in energy network and emissions costs.

The ‘Performance standards to net zero energy buildings’ report is under council consideration.

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

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