Monday, June 17, 2024

Melbourne retrofit to help build toward net zero

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

To reach the milestone, Council says 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.   

Commercial buildings are responsible for 60% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, while residential towers account for 6% of emissions.    

“We’re proud to be leading Melbourne’s transition to becoming a zero net emissions city by 2040, but we can’t achieve this ambitious goal alone,” said Lord Mayor, Sally Capp. 

“By working alongside key industry, academic and government partners, we can accelerate our journey towards zero net emissions– reducing costs and improving our environment.  

“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.”  

To help accelerate the current retrofit rate, Council has released a Zero Carbon Buildings for Melbourne discussion paper – outlining potential initiatives the City of Melbourne and partners could implement to support the transition of city buildings to net zero emissions.  

The paper proposes seven key initiatives: 

  • Developing zero carbon building leases – agreement between landlords and tenants to ensure the ongoing use and operation of zero carbon buildings 
  • Establishing a carbon risk tool – understanding the future risk of carbon for mid and low-tier buildings 
  • Incentivising periodic commercial building disclosure – a program to encourage periodic reporting of a building’s NABERS rating 
  • Promoting joint procurement – 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 – using rates to encourage emissions reduction 
  • Introducing an emissions cap through local law – establishing an emissions ceiling for buildings  

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

“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,” said 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”.  

“We want to see our city buildings Zero Carbon Ready by 2040 or sooner, and we’re confident that this discussion paper will become a catalyst to kick start the transformation.”

Industry stakeholders, academics and community members are being encouraged to have their say on the discussion paper via Participate Melbourne. Council says 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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