Media releases

Better, brighter, greener new buildings in Melbourne

4 March 2023

The City of Melbourne will take bold action to raise the planning standards for environmentally sustainable design – with stronger energy efficiency standards, green rooftops, vertical gardens and solar panels set to transform Melbourne’s skyline.

The Sustainable Building Design Amendment will introduce stronger planning controls for developments – helping to green city buildings, improve environmental standards, and combat the effects of climate change.

Buildings are the biggest polluters in the City of Melbourne, accounting for 66 per cent of all carbon emissions in the city – compared to 25 per cent in other municipalities.

Drawing inspiration from world leaders like Singapore, Vienna and Copenhagen, the new amendment will:

  • Improve energy and water efficiency
  • Increase the uptake of renewable energy
  • Encourage more greenery on roofs and walls
  • Boost the number of new trees
  • Cut back on waste generation
  • Increase electric vehicle infrastructure and bicycle parking

Implementing these measures into the design of new buildings will have a major impact on the city’s emissions – reducing the urban heat island effect, improving energy efficiency and addressing water shortages and resource recovery.

They will benefit future tenants and property owners, by offering more attractive, environmentally friendly homes, offices and buildings – which are cheaper to operate.

It will also accelerate Council’s commitment to power the city with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and to reach zero net emissions by 2040.

The amendment includes policy, mandatory and optional controls, and will apply to particular types of developments.

Council will help developers implement the new standards for greener infrastructure through our award-winning Green Factor Tool – a free online green infrastructure assessment program.

The first of its kind in Australia, the Green Factor Tool allows designers, architects, developers, builders and the community to consider and optimise the inclusion of green infrastructure in building design.

The proposed Sustainable Building Design – Planning Scheme Amendment C376 – is now open for submissions until Monday 17 April 2023.

For more details, to make a submission, or attend an information session, visit the Participate Melbourne website.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“We’re taking bold action to address climate change – and this is another significant step forward to cut emissions and improve sustainability across our beautiful city.”

“Developers can find clarity and confidence in these amendments to know they are contributing to long-term sustainability, while the buildings’ tenants will receive the benefits of cheaper operational costs.”

“As Melbourne’s climate gets hotter and we experience more extreme weather events, it’s vital we deliver sustainable buildings and green infrastructure that cools our streets, homes and offices.”

“Whether it’s installing more electric vehicle chargers, boosting renewable energy or increasing greenery – these new measures will benefit everybody who lives, works or visits Melbourne.”

Quotes attributable to Sustainable Building portfolio lead Councillor Elizabeth Doidge

“Sustainable building standards are a necessary key to addressing the climate challenge – and I’m proud to be part of a Council leading in this space.”

“To meet emissions reduction targets and improve our community health, social and environmental needs, Melbourne must have a plan that addresses our built environment – and this proposed amendment will do just that.”

“While tackling climate change is a key goal, there are other major benefits to better environmental standards, including lowering power bills and improved indoor comfort and air quality.”

Quotes attributable to Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece

“Melbourne should be a world leader in sustainable design and green urban environments – drawing inspiration from the incredible success of cities like Singapore.”

“We know buildings contribute 66 per cent of all emissions in our city – that’s why we need to work alongside developers and property owners to combat climate change, which will also reduce energy costs for businesses and homes.”

Quotes attributable to Property Council Victorian Executive Director Cath Evans

“Australian building owners and developers have been at the forefront of sustainable building performance, and great sustainability outcomes are being increasingly sought by tenants, occupiers and residents.”

“We encourage building owners and developers of all sizes and sectors to read the detail of this important work and provide their input to this consultation.”

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