The Green Building Council of Australia has released a road map to decarbonise Australia’s precincts – setting a net zero goal for new precincts by 2030, and for existing precincts by 2050.

The Climate Positive Roadmap for precincts identifies five key actions that must be taken towards decarbonisation by all stakeholders, including:

  1. embedding climate positive pathways into all stages of planning
  2. committing to fossil-fuel-free precincts and ensure policy and planning processes support this ambition
  3. removing the barriers to low carbon precinct energy solutions
  4. driving lower upfront carbon in materials and construction activity
  5. committing to delivering low carbon buildings in all precincts

The Roadmap is intended to inform all stakeholders including developers, investors, planners, precinct operators, materials suppliers, and policymakers. 

Urban precincts being designed now will have carbon impacts for generations, so it is important that opportunities are acted upon now, said GBCA’s senior manager of market engagement Nick Alsop. Early decisions can inform transport, buildings, water, and waste infrastructure emissions. 

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that low carbon precincts will be a powerful solution to decarbonising our economy,” Mr Alsop said.

“But we’re also excited by the other benefits that we see in sustainable precincts – they’re efficient, healthy, resilient and tread lightly on the planet. They offer developers the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, responding to the growing call to action that we are seeing from investors, shareholders and consumers.

“We’ve seen some great examples of leaders in our sector already achieving these targets to drive carbon reductions in precincts that are now in operation and being enjoyed by communities.

“Our report highlights some of these precincts through case studies, and we’re really looking forward to continuing to add to this list as we see more sustainable precincts come to life.”

The case studies referenced in this roadmap are all developments that have achieved six Green Star ratings and are precincts that are already leading the way in carbon reduction. They include: 

  • the Ginninderry community across the ACT and NSW, which was a joint venture between the ACT Government and Riverview Developments. This was the first suburb in Canberra to be all-electric and powered by renewables. By 2055, Ginninderry will be home to more than 30,000 people.
  • Ed Square in south west Sydney’s Edmondson Park, a connected urban neighbourhood with energy-efficient and renewable-powered homes and businesses. 
  • Barangaroo South in NSW, Lendlease developed a climate positive community that is Australia’s first certified carbon neutral precinct under the Climate Active initiative and scored an unprecedented 104.98 out of a possible 110 points in the Green Star rating. 
  • Sydney’s Olympic Park, by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) as part of the NSW Government, mandates all new buildings to have Green Star, NABERS and BASIX requirements. 

The Climate Positive Roadmap for precincts was launched as part of the GBCA’s TRANSFORM conference and can be found here. The case studies of sustainable precincts can be found here.

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  1. The development should be assessed within its broader environmental context. In Brisbane we have a proposal touted to be the ‘greenest building in Australia’, but it trades extra height and bulk (above that zoned for) for its green credentials – it creates shade over a nearby park and brings additional cars and population to an already overpopulated suburb. Yet for all that it meets the GBCA rating. Why is that?