Retrofit Melbourne event featuring all the key speakers

To become a zero carbon city by 2040, more than 80 commercial buildings in Melbourne need to be decarbonised each year, according to the City of Melbourne’s deputy lord mayor, Nicholas Reece.

And the retrofit movement is key to the solution, he said.

Reece was speaking at the launch on Monday of the City’s Retrofit Melbourne plan.

“Existing buildings contribute 66 per cent of our current carbon emissions.” Reece said.

“It’s crucial we act now – working alongside industry, government, and academic partners to future-proof our city for generations to come. We need to get the balance right – protecting our older buildings, which give Melbourne its character while accelerating our collective journey towards zero net emissions.”

The plan was launched at the same time as the announcement of the latest report on retrofitting buildings from the Property Council of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia, this time placing local government squarely at the centre of responsibility and opportunity, with Every Building Counts – For Local Government.

Following the announcement, Global Cooksafe Coalition said the City of Melbourne and the City of Sydney were the first councils to commit to eliminating fossil fuel from state-owned buildings by 2040.

Making every building count

GBCA chief executive Davina Rooney, said the Every Building Counts for local government report will help councils define clear, long-term strategies that will encourage and deliver zero carbon ready and resilient buildings in a climate where it is increasingly important for local governments to demonstrate climate leadership by setting targets for achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner.

“Our local governments have been at the global forefront of climate action innovation,” Ms Rooney said.

“In recent years, we have seen them step up to lead the charge on policies and programs that accelerate action on energy efficiency, emissions reduction and electrification for homes and buildings in their communities.”

Key policy recommendations for local governments include:

  • setting a long-term vision for zero carbon ready buildings
  • supporting a nationally harmonised approach to phase out fossil fuel gas in buildings and appliances
  • accelerate the shift to high-performance, sustainable buildings with targeted incentives
  • commit to achieving zero carbon ready for new and existing government buildings by 2030
  • increase the application of credible rating systems
  • adopt a reasonable national framework for measuring embodied carbon

UPDATED 26 OCTOBER 2023 – to amend editing errors

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