Moreland mayor Meghan Hopper with MAV president Bill McArthur.

Australia’s newest sustainability rating tool is now in use across a group of councils in Melbourne.

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard, or BESS, assesses energy and water efficiency, thermal comfort and overall sustainable performance of a variety of buildings and renovations.

BESS replaces two older rating tools, SDS and STEPS, which were used to assess non-residential and residential buildings.

Members of local government and industry gathered at Westwyk Ecovillage in Brunswick last week to officially launch the BESS tool.

Moreland City Council manager of strategy and design Sue Vujcevic said the event was a result of more than 10 years working in partnerships with councils and industry partners.

“We are confident that BESS will be accepted as the new standard for sustainability assessment at the planning permit stage, and that it will continue to improve the buildings that we all live and work in,” Ms Vujcevic said.

“BESS helps achieve comfortable, sustainable, affordable buildings and can be used to assess any size and type of building and it covers the key elements that make up good liveability and design practice.”

In a speech to guests Moreland City Council mayor Meghan Hopper said the creation of BESS began with the realisation that sustainability had to be considered as early as possible in the planning process for a new building.

“We need to think about orientation for passive heating and cooling and for good daylight, we need to think about insulation, about communal green spaces and about harvesting rainwater and the energy of the sun,” Ms Hopper said.

The BESS tool goes hand in hand with a new Environmental Sustainability Design policy submitted by eight councils to the planning department.

The policy would make it compulsory, rather than voluntary, for developers and builders to submit a sustainable design assessment or management plan for most developments and some extensions.

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  1. The online tool is simply unusable in its current state – constantly crashes, bugs everywhere. Reminds me of BASIX when it first came out 10 years ago.