New South Wales is continuing to lead Australia with its incredibly forward thinking sustainability action under the strong governmental support of the O’Farrell government in the greater state and Lord Mayor Clover Moore in Sydney. With the title of Australia’s first carbon neutral city firmly positioned under Sydney’s belt, the increasingly cementing their leadership position with further environmental protocols.
This is being aided by the newly released state government ‘Environmental Upgrade Agreement Template for commercial and industrial properties’ report, which is being strongly supported by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) due to its commitment to retrofitting existing buildings in order to maximise their environmental performance, which is one of the GBCA’s key focus initiatives.
“This new initiative demonstrates that the O’Farrell Government was listening to our call, and is a clear indicator of its commitment to environmental leadership” says Chief Executive Romilly Madew.
In addition to cementing a strong relationship with this country’s highest green authority, NSW Environmental Minister Robyn Parker has revealed that the new scheme has the potential to unlock up to $2 billion worth of green investment opportunities through retrofits.
“Environmental Upgrade Agreements will be a game changer in terms of improving the environmental performance of commercial and industrial buildings” Parker says.
This will be achieved by environmental upgrades to a possible 8 million sqm of existing, ‘brown’ office space, with new low-risk finance for energy and water improvements, which is repaid by long term council changes, with further remuneration achieved through savings on bills.
“This new scheme provides the benchmarking and accountability for existing buildings that is needed right across Australia, and we look forward to seeing other state governments take up similar initiatives” Madew says.
The new protocol will become a part of NSW’s greater 2020 carbon goals, which aim to see an overall achievement of 4 NABERS energy and water ratings in up to 50% of the state’s commercial spaces.
Accountability has always been a very difficult issue for this country in varying circumstances. In taking responsibility for inefficient spaces, rather than simply dazzling with brand new green spaces (which often leave a greater carbon footprint that a simple retrofit), the industry is offering this country the best chance at a cleaner, greener future, offering to go back to, in effect, ‘clean house’, moving forward by fixing past mistakes.