Green Building Council backs move to expand National Carbon Offset Standard
The National Carbon Offset Standard will be expanded to include buildings, precincts and cities, according to Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Introduced in 2010, the Australian Government certification system was formed to recognise carbon neutral businesses, products, services and events.
Hunt says in a statement that the Australian Government is establishing an expert committee for carbon neutral precincts and cities, with the aim for Australia to have its first officially certified and operating carbon neutral precinct or city by January 2017.
“Australia’s cities consistently rank amongst the most liveable in the world – and the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring this continues. The committee will also work towards a carbon neutral certification for Australia’s buildings,” Hunt says.
The decision to expand the National Carbon Offset Standard has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), which will be a member of the expert committee.
“We applaud the Turnbull Government’s commitment to expand the standard to include buildings, cities and precincts, and are delighted to participate in the expert committee,” says GBCA chief executive officer Romilly Madew.
“Our cities are responsible for as much as 80 percent of our national energy consumption, which means they are at the frontline of any efforts to tackle climate change.”
Australia now has more than 1050 Green Star projects and has claimed the title of the world’s greenest property sector for five years running, according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark.
“Australia’s property and construction industry is responsible for delivering the building blocks of our cities, from individual buildings to entire communities. If we are to meet Australia’s emissions reduction targets and international commitments to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, we must find ways to encourage and empower industry to deliver more sustainable development,” Madew says.
“We know how to deliver low-carbon buildings and we are seeing great leadership at the community scale emerging with projects such as the Green Star-rated Tonsley in South Australia, Aura and Ecco Ripley in Queensland and Alkimos Beach in Western Australia. Now, it’s time for us to up the ante and focus on delivering zero-carbon buildings and precincts.”
To achieve this, Madew says Australia needs a credible, rigorous and broadly accepted method that provides a clear definition of carbon neutral buildings, and provides certainty to investors, tenants and building owners.
The first meeting of the expert committee is planned for April 2016, according to Hunt. In addition to the GBCA, the committee’s members will include Barangaroo Delivery Authority, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System and the CRC for Low Carbon Living.