Building a greener Victoria

When it comes to sustainable buildings, Australia is a global leader.

For the sixth year in a row, some of Australia’s biggest property companies have been named as the world’s best in terms of environmental sustainability by the global real estate sustainability benchmark (GRESB) report.

This week is World Green Building Week. Through planning and delivering sustainable building projects, Australia’s industry leaders have saved more than 186 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s almost 20 times the annual emissions production of the nation’s largest coal power station. In terms of energy bills, it represents a $28 billion saving.

According to the 2016 GRESB report, Australia’s property leaders’ annual greenhouse gas emission reductions were equal to taking over 19,000 cars off the road. And their waste reduction was equal to diverting around 80,000 truckloads away from landfill.

TAKE2 Founding Partner, The Property Council of Australia, believes the built environment plays a crucial role in reaching Victoria’s goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Spreading the word on sustainable building among all members of the industry is very important, as is informing consumers about the benefits of green buildings.

Among those leading the way is Mirvac, another TAKE2 Founding Partner. It’s aiming for net positive water and energy use by 2030 and is coming up with innovative ways to achieve that - like the ‘house with no bills’ project. Once completed, the house in suburban Cheltenham will be typical in every way - other than its lack of energy bills - thanks to sustainable features like increased insulation, solar panels and energy efficient appliances.

Mirvac has also set itself the goal of educating one million people about sustainability by 2020. To help achieve that, it’s joined Sustainability Victoria and other TAKE2 Founding Partner John Holland to back the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

As well as funding the school, large builders, like John Holland and Mirvac, are driving this project through their own supply chains. But any suppliers in the construction and infrastructure industry can take advantage of the school’s free access to information on environmental sustainability.

The school (also a TAKE2 partner) gives building suppliers sustainability content, resources and self-assessment tools via an online hub. Hopefully, it will increase the use of green building principles and processes.

The emissions reduction opportunities the building sector presents are among the most cost effective. In fact, sustainable buildings could meet more than one quarter of emissions reduction targets.

As the Victorian Government is showing through its TAKE2 collective climate change program, it’s important we act sooner rather than later. Delay will not only mean missed opportunities to reduce emissions, it will be financially costly as well.

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