Green valuers, green roofs and nasty politics

24 February 2012 – Valuers will next week be handed an amazing new document, at least it seems to be from our perspective. It’s a guide to assessing the sustainability profile of commercial buildings, created by the team at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

This document doesn’t just recommend valuers take note of a building’s Green Star or NABERS rating, it asks them to look into whether the claims are backed by reality; whether the building is performing to expectations or not.

And it gives a wide range of tools and guidelines to enable them to do so. In some ways it’s one of the best guides we’ve seen for assessing what a true green building is or should be. And it does it in the context of market value.

So it packs a double punch, because it assumes that a building’s sustainability profile – good or bad – will raise or lower value if not now, soon.

Written by Mark Willers and John Goddard FRICS, with technical assistance and review by Bryon Price, Stephen Hennessy and Davina Rooney Sustainability and the Valuation of Commercial Property, will be launched at the RICS Masterclass on Valuing Green on 2 March in Sydn

And in Victoria

SV again…and no, this isn’t a second rate four wheel drive, but then again it is still in danger of becoming so.

Last week we reported that SV or Sus Vic or Sustainability Victoria to give it its full title, was breathing signs of life beyond the rubbish dump. That the draft consultation paper put out and about was not as onerous as feared and that a reasonable level of renewable and sustainability programs might survive.

But this week, documents obtained by The Age ­– internal SV documents, we understand – indicated that the slash and burn mentality was still being considered. We were confused. Which version of events is correct?

Were we given a bum steer? What about the submissions – why haven’t they been released for public viewing like so many other government reviews are.

The spokeswoman for environment and climate change minister Ryan Smith said the same as she always says, that the review will soon be announced.

And that indeed the “Draft Consultation SV Draft 2015? doesn’t specify the cuts mentioned in the internal paper.

And the submissions?

There is still no idea when these can be made available, she says. And no, she does not know why they are not already open to the public.

What’s to hide?

Maybe the Institute of Public Affairs is in there with a recommendation to shut down the whole enterprise and use the money to dig for coal seam gas.

Steve Glibbery (left) and Jeff Angel

Total Environment Centre
What were Total Environment Centre boss Jeff Angel and facility manager Steve Glibbery doing on the roof of a building known as The Hub in Ultimo in Sydney one evening this week?

Together with a bunch of invited guests from the landscape, sustainability and ideas space, these two were plotting how to turn what seems like acres of concrete roof above the new TEC offices into a garden. Or maybe even an urban farm, with chickens and goats? Certainly the roof above TEC’s new offices is big enough, and well located enough to do something grand, or so it seems.

So far Glibbery and Angel’s teams have each pitched in with some raised garden beds purchased from Bunnings and filled with corn, basil, zucchini and other assorted greens, all looking reasonably healthy.

What will be interesting to watch is how the ideas for that space transformation will fare in the light of practical consideration or technical building constraints.

We’ll keep you posted.

The Labor Party right now?
Oh dear… the bloodlust seems to have become an addiction. Like the young woman said, “it’s like they’ve taken heroin and now they can’t stop.”

And the pusher in this drug game is Kevin Rudd himself. With that knowing schoolyard wink and hint of greater pleasures. That “you can trust me” smile.

The unpalatable political truth is the polls that say Julia Gillard is unpopular. No matter that she has achieved major reforms, including the most important of all, the carbon tax, no matter that she’s seen as leading a successful government, including by much of business, and no matter that given more than a 30 second grab, in a public forum, she can be very engaging.

It seems that the ordinary folk in the street would rather Rudd with the big brotherly promises that he’ll make it all ok if we just make him prefect again.

When Andrew Bolt drew up a wish list for Kevin Rudd in his Melbourne newspaper column last week, top of the list was to defer the carbon tax. You had to focus hard to realise this was Bolt talking, not Rudd. It could so easily be Rudd.

It’s a pity Rudd didn’t find the strength of his convictions when he had the chance as PM.

So now he wants a second chance.

Will climate change give us a second chance?

Don’t trust him.

In this game the person to trust is the steely one who won’t compromise on doing the right thing and introducing a carbon tax. Even if it means tarnishing her own reputation and becoming known as a promise breaker.

For further information on this see Machiavelli 101.