The Australian Capital Territory is leading other jurisdictions around the country in terms of green building and construction, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) says.
Furthermore, the nation’s capital of Canberra has the potential to become Australia’s most environmentally friendly and sustainable city.
In an assessment of government performance against five green building criteria in the lead up to the territory’s election on October 20, GBCA executive director of advocacy Robin Mellon has applauded the territory for its leadership and has challenged both leaders in the run-up to the election to reaffirm and build on their commitment in green building.
“The ACT Labour Government is to be congratulated for providing bold leadership with an ambitious target of all government operations – including schools, hospitals, public transport and emergency services – to be carbon neutral by 2020,” Mellon says, adding that the ACT has the highest investment in sustainable construction per capita.
The territory also boasts a number of Green-Star rated schools, and the government has committed $5 million to a carbon neutral fund to finance energy efficiency measures in ACT government buildings.
Mellon says the ACT is doing particularly well in education, where the territory now has six schools which are either Green Star certified or registered to achieve green-star ratings. These include Harrison Secondary College and Gold Creek Primary School’s Environment Centre as well as Canberra Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Sustainable Skills Training hub.
Mellon also commends the city of Canberra for its recently released ACT Climate Change Strategy, in which the territory sets out a number of goals including boosting energy efficiency in homes and buildings, encouraging greater use of public transport and sourcing 90 per cent of its power needs from alternative sources by 2020.
As part of that plan, the territory will have the nation’s largest solar farm when it comes online in 2014.
However, the GBCA says the ACT must now go beyond this and has challenged both parties in the upcoming election to spell out their green building priorities.
Specifically, the government must commit to achieving Green Star ratings for all public sector buildings and a number of older buildings in both the public and private sectors must be retrofitted and improved to boost energy and water efficiency, widen the range of green building materials used and reduced construction and demolition waste.
“Can the National Capital become Australia’s most environmentally and economically sustainable city?” Mellon asks. “We look forward to hearing both Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Leader of the Opposition Zed Seselja outline how they plan to deliver a better built environment between now and the election on 20 October.”