Green buildings to help reach climate change targets

All new buildings must be emissions-neutral by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050 if Australia is to meet its climate change targets, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Chief executive officer Romilly Madew said the GBCA is developing a new Carbon Positive Roadmap in consultation with industry to drive carbon positive buildings and communities.

The GBCA launched a discussion paper, A carbon positive roadmap for the built environment, at the Green Cities 2017 conference in Sydney today.

The discussion paper outlines how the built environment can help Australia meet its greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, and asks for industry feedback.

“More than 170 nations – including Australia – have agreed to limit global temperature rises to less than 2˚C, and to strive towards global temperature rises of no more than 1.5˚C,” Ms Madew said.

“As the built environment is responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, the property and construction industry has a central role to play in meeting these targets.

“We are working with the 1.5˚C target, and this means that all new buildings must be net zero emissions by 2030, and all existing buildings must be net zero emissions by 2050.”

Ms Madew said the GBCA has identified four key priorities: promoting energy efficiency through passive design and efficient systems; driving investment in resilient, renewable energy infrastructure; increasing markets for net zero carbon products, materials and services; and promoting offsets for remaining emissions.

“We believe this approach will be a cost-effective pathway for buildings and portfolios, and will also achieve other positive outcomes for Australia – such as efficient, comfortable and healthy buildings, energy security and a thriving renewable energy industry, jobs growth in emerging sectors, and enhanced biodiversity,” she said.

“While this discussion paper puts forward our ideas, feedback from industry is mission critical.

“It is only by working together that we will achieve a carbon positive future.”