New builds in City of Sydney to comply with renewable energy targets

New builds in City of Sydney to comply with renewable energy targets

New reforms from the City of Sydney will ensure that applications for the construction of office buildings, hotels, shopping centres and other structures must comply with minimum energy ratings from January 2023 and achieve net-zero energy use from 2026.

The changes, unanimously endorsed by the City of Sydney Council last night, will incorporate efficiency and renewable energy targets in development applications, ensuring buildings are part of the transition to net-zero emissions.

The City of Sydney says the measures are expected to save more than $1.3 billion on energy bills for investors, businesses and occupants from 2023 to 2040, and help the City meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2035.

"Commercial office space, hotels and apartment buildings contribute 68 per cent of total emissions in the City. If we’re to meet our target of net-zero emissions by 2035, we need the building sector to play its part,” said City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“These new controls, four years in the making, require developers to reduce emissions through increased energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy production and offsite renewable energy procurement. They are ambitious but achievable and provide a clear pathway for developers to improve energy performance and transition to net zero buildings.

“Working with our major developers and building owners to address the climate crisis could not be more important. Not only will this program help us reach our target of net-zero emissions by 2035, it will provide energy savings of more than $1.3 billion for investors, businesses and occupants across Greater Sydney.”

The new planning controls will combined energy efficiency measures and the use of onsite and offsite renewables, and were approved after final amendments were made to the proposal.

These amendments provide more clarity for developers in the structure and operation of the controls, particularly for projects involving the refurbishment of existing buildings.

The green building performance standards, said to be a first for any Australian local council, were created with support from developers including Stockland (ASX: SGP), Frasers, Lendlease (ASX: LLC), Crown Group, Dexus (ASX: DXS), and Mirvac (ASX: MGR).

“The action we take locally will help reduce emissions and contribute to a positive business recovery for Greater Sydney,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The climate challenge is one that we can only meet with concerted action. The more we can work together and exchange information, knowledge and experiences, the greater our ability to achieve net-zero emissions.

“As communities across the state face the daunting task of flood-recovery, with devastating bushfires lingering in recent memory, we all need to be doing more to respond to the climate crisis. The Government should extend this work state-wide.”

According to the City of Sydney, the measures are expected to deliver substantial financial benefits, with office owners to save $2,750 per 1,000 square metres of floor area annually and hotel owners $170 per hotel room per year.

There are also additional public benefits and savings in health, energy network and emissions costs, worth around $1.8 billion.

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