The City of Sydney is on a green crusade. One policy in development will encourage roof gardens, which can reduce the energy required for aircon by about 30 percent. Another may see investment in sustainably-designed property become more profitable.
To date there are 49 approved green roofs in the City of Sydney area, ranging from simple planter boxes to the iconic 2600 square metre roof garden at the MCentral apartment building in Harris Street, Pyrmont. Green designs such as green walls are located at 14 sites across the city, including Australia’s largest: the 9 metre high, 40 metre long installation at 1 Bligh St, Sydney.
ESTABLISHING A GREEN ROOF POLICY
The City of Sydney says it will undertake a number of studies on green roofs and walls to assess public attitudes, costs and benefits, as well as source potential locations to establish a formal policy. It will also set up a strategic advisory panel to help develop that policy.
Sydney mayor, Clover Moore says green roofs can be simple additions to existing buildings or new projects that have the potential to greatly increase the city’s recreational space. “The City of Sydney is home to some of the highest urban density in the country, which makes finding ways to add more green space particularly important,” Moore says. “There’s a huge amount of unused space above street level that developers often fail to make the most of. Our studies on roof gardens and green walls will help encourage the installation of more of these green spaces.”
Moore explains that a number of cities around the world, including Chicago, New York and Copenhagen, have developed policies on green roofs and walls across their cities – and it is time Sydney did too. “With good planning and safe development, the possibilities are endless. Think of playgrounds, exercise circuits, picnic tables and umbrellas for office workers to lunch in the open air,” she comments. “Green roofs could be a refuge for urban biodiversity or even home to community gardens.”
Increasing the number of green roofs and walls would help the city meet its Greening Sydney target to increase the city’s tree canopy by 50 percent by 2030. Green roofs can also reduce the energy required for air-conditioning by about 30 percent, lowering power bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Sydney aims to reduce carbon pollution by 70 percent by 2030, one of the most ambitious targets of any Australian government.
GREEN DESIGN INCENTIVES
A new plan proposed by the City of Sydney may see investments in property that reduce the impact on the environment through improved water and energy use become more profitable. Property owners and developers who invest in Sustainable Sydney 2030 initiatives, including energy and water-saving measures, green roofs and affordable housing, will be able to apply for exemptions from the development contribution levy.
The draft Central Sydney Contributions Plan 2012, now on public exhibition, would increase the range of developments that could be exempt from the current levy and encourage development that helps achieve the objectives of Sustainable Sydney 2030. Developers could apply for partial exemptions and waivers of the 1 percent development contribution levy if their project includes:
- affordable housing, boarding houses or not-for-profit development
- the installation of green energy facilities, such as solar panels
- showers and bicycle lock-up facilities for bike riders
- tanks and greywater treatment for the reuse of water in gardens and cooling towers, and
- refitting of buildings to provide small finegrain spaces for new shops.
Moore says the plan would encourage developers to consider ways they can play a more positive role in supporting their local community through green design initiatives. “Sydney needs more buildings like the award-winning 1 Bligh Street, which has the highest Green Star rating score for a high-rise building in New South Wales,” she says. “Developers need to be innovative when designing for the future, and it’s essential for them to consider sustainable initiatives such as green energy, water harvesting and active transport.”
This article was originally published on the Light Home Magazine Website, an informative hub for designers, builders and renovators who have discovered the benefits of using light weight, sustainable building materials.