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By Fiona Hamann
January 21, 2019
Three of Australia’s leading property companies have added their names to a growing chorus of businesses and councils committing to zero-net carbon emissions by 2030. These industry leaders will also serve as advocates for driving buildings to be net zero in operation by 2050.
“The net-zero emissions commitments from these leading property companies set an international benchmark for best practice in development,” said Green Building Council Australia’s (GBCA) CEO Romilly Madew. “This continues the trend of Australian companies leading globally in delivering sustainability.”
Cbus Property, Dexus and Nightingale Apartments signed up to the World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, joining numerous others, such as Cundall, Frasers Property and AMP Capital Wholesale Office, Stockland, the Sydney Opera House and the City of Sydney Council.
“Momentum is building across the industry for meaningful action on climate change,” said Madew. “Leading companies and organisations know that creating a more sustainable property or community will ultimately create a better outcome for them as businesses, but more importantly, the communities they build for.”
Steps to Ensure a Sustainable Future
A net-zero carbon building, as defined by the WorldGBC, is highly energy efficient and is powered entirely (on or off-site) by renewable energy sources.
The first six Australian companies and buildings to sign up to the net-zero target did so in September, and they were among the first globally to do so. The WorldGBC said that by setting ambitious and absolute standards, it was maximising the chances of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees as it aimed to drastically reduce operating emissions from buildings. It is a huge chunk of all emission—with US studies showing they are responsible for 41 per cent of total energy consumption.
“Our net-zero target is supported by increasing renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency, all while achieving lower carbon emissions,” said Dexus CEO Darren Steinberg in a recent media release. “Dexus is committed to making practical steps to ensure a sustainable future and giving others the confidence to set similar targets.”
Nightingale Housing managing director Jeremy McLeod said the net-zero emissions commitment complemented its existing target of 100 per cent fossil-fuel-free building operations.
“Sustainability is central to what we do, so we are pleased to join other industry leaders to build action on climate change,” he said.
Leading Companies, Driving Innovation
Under these commitments, 320 Australian buildings, including major CBD towers, are expected to be net zero by 2030. That energy load is equivalent to eight per cent of a coal-fired power station in a year, or the annual power use of more than 35,000 homes, according to the GBCA.
In a September media release, CEO Romilly Madew discussed the benefits of such an ambitious target: “It provides a unique framework for organisations to develop globally ambitious, yet locally relevant, solutions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
“More than ever before, leading companies are driving innovation while delivering on emissions reduction goals, which inspires others to follow their lead,” added Madew.
In October, the Sydney Opera House and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also committed to ensuring all the buildings they own, operate and develop are net-zero carbon by 2030.
The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s number one tourist destination and busiest performing arts centre. Every year, it welcomes more than 8.2 million visitors and hosts 1,800 performances attended by 1.45 million people. Through this latest commitment, it will reduce 17,580tCO2e across its entire floor area of 59,090m2 by implementing energy efficiency measures and powering the building with renewable energy.
“As a symbol of modern Australia, the Sydney Opera House has an important responsibility to inspire change in the community. Achieving Carbon Neutral certification five years early makes reaching this important milestone incredibly meaningful,” said Emma Bombonato, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Sydney Opera House.
The Commitment is one of three pathways to join EP100, an initiative of The Climate Group, which will comprise 100 large-scale organisations at the cutting edge of sustainable practice. It is one of many initiatives GBCA has been involved in to drive change in the industry.
Green Building Council of Australia
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