The Property industry should take advantage of public consultation processes to contribute to new sustainable development legislation before it is too late, according to Janette Hewson, senior associate at Freehills.
Speaking at the Property Council and Australian Green Development Forum sustainable development workshop on February 13, Ms Hewson said that environmental pressures would increasingly focus on the property industry, and new legislation looked set to be introduced as a solution.
“Emissions levels are the focus of new legislation, as buildings consume 30 per cent of all Australia’s raw materials,” she said.
She added the new legislation would provide many opportunities in sustainable investments, citing examples such as green marketing, eco-branding and long-term cost savings for developers and occupiers.
Ms Hewson also said that current regulations included Planning Scheme Energy Efficiency Codes which covered the Brisbane City Council, the Maroochy Shire Council (Design for Climate Code) and the Gold Coast City Council (Design for Climate Policy).
“The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a national code adopted by States and Territories, and this year we will see the Housing Amendments (No 12) introduced to the code,” she said. “This is the main thing on the horizon for this year.
“It will cover such items as building fabric, solar radiation, ventilation and roof and other insulation.”
The Queensland Development Code will also be introduced in mid-March, and contains the Energy Efficiency Housing Standard, encompassing roof and wall insulation, solar radiation, air movement, hot water heating, floor insulation and fireplace sealing.
“However, this Code will not be mandatory. It will work on the basis that ratings will be assessed against each element, and local governments will be able to have some choice in how a minimum number of points can be achieved.”
Ms Hewson said that there were more laws to be introduced in 2002, such as the Water Recycling Strategy (Qld), due for release in October and NABERS, to be released in June 2002.
A timetable of significant sustainable development requirements has been produced by Ms Hewson for the Property Council and is available through the Property Council office.
Mark Thomson, director of TVS Partnership, also speaking at the workshop, stressed that sustainable development was all about enhancing and maintaining lifestyle.
“By implementing ESD design strategies, we can develop clean strategies to ensure sustainable practices are actually met,” he said.
He listed the seven design strategies as: pre-design, site and planning, concept design, material, energy, water, construction management and building operation and management.
“One must remember sustainable development at each different stage of the design process,” he said.
Richard Sale, senior architect with S2F Pty and John Ridgway from Integrated Energy Services also spoke at the workshop.
Mr Sale’s useful table comparing Brisbane, Gold Coast and Maroochy Shire’s residential energy codes is available by clicking here.