In the wake of the federal election announcement, a leading building industry lobby group has outlined three key priorities for policy makers with regard to green building and construction in Australia.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has called on all parties throughout the country to adopt policies which provide visionary government leadership, encourage the retrofitting and improvement of existing buildings and broaden the policy making focus to extend beyond buildings and to include cities and communities.
GBCA executive Director of Advocacy and BE alumnus, Robin Mellon MRE 2004 (UNSW), has called on all political parties to outline policies and programs that will drive productivity and sustainability in the nation’s built environment.
“We are now in the ideal position to assess all political parties based on sound policy, transparent programs and joined-up thinking”, Mellon says. “We will engage with all political parties over the next seven months to advocate a three-point green plan for our buildings and communities which we believe will place Australia on a clear, long-term pathway to sustainability.”
Mellon says visionary leadership requires a commitment that all buildings built, owned or occupied by the federal government achieve Green Star ratings.
With regard to improving existing buildings, Mellon says the federal government should follow the lead of some states in terms of policy incentives to improve energy efficiency and water use as well as widen the range of green building materials used and reduce construction and demolition waste.
Finally, Mellon says policy makers should embed benchmarks such as those used in the Green Star – Communities rating tool within federal policies and strategies to encourage better community and infrastructure outcomes.
“What’s more, we must learn from the extreme weather events we’ve experienced in recent years to make our buildings and communities more resilient and adaptable,” Mellon says. “This means updating our planning and building codes and developing national policies that realise the economic benefits of early adaptation and mitigation.”