New buildings in the City of Sydney will face more rigid standards on energy efficiency and consumption, under a proposed new set of standards to be voted on by council in the coming weeks. 

In line with the council’s aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, development applications for new office buildings, hotels, shopping centres, as well as for major redevelopments of existing buildings, will have to comply with new energy ratings from January 2023, and achieve net-zero energy output by 2026. 

Proposals for new buildings will be required to show they can achieve net zero through a mix of increased energy efficiency, on site energy generation, and offsite renewable energy purchases.

Offsite energy generation plays a key role in the new strategy and can be credited through the purchase and retirement of Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs), purchase of Green Power certificates or through power purchase agreements. 

“If we’re to meet our target of net-zero emissions by 2035, we need to ensure this sector is contributing to emissions reduction through increased energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy production and off-site renewable energy procurement,” Sydney lord Mayor Clover Moore said.  

In the City of Sydney LGA, commercial office space, hotels and apartment buildings contribute 68 per cent of total emissions.

NABERS and Green Star rating tools will be used to determine building’s performance and have the added benefit of being a third party verification. 

“We’re providing a clear pathway and time for developers to improve energy performance and transition to net zero buildings,” Ms Moore said.  

The proposed new building performance standards were created in collaboration with developers, industry bodies, consultants and government agencies.

Lendlease executive development director Neil Arckless and Stockland chief executive commercial property, Louise Mason were among those to express their endorsement of the changes. 

“(We) welcome the City of Sydney leading the way in the development of these performance standards. I’m confident we can all rise to the challenge,” Mr Arckless said.