Building a better, stronger Sydney

The City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 Vision aims to create a green, global and connected city that has by 2030 reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70%, compared to 2006 levels, reduced water resource demands and achieved greater energy security.

Building a better, stronger Sydney

One of Sydney’s key programs for achieving the 2030 goals is the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), which is a collaboration between the City of Sydney and leading property owners, managers, peak bodies and industry influencers to improve the environmental performance of the city’s existing built environment by reducing sustainability performance barriers and developing collaborative initiatives: important given that 44% of Sydney’s GHG emissions come from its commercial office buildings and their occupants. These buildings are also responsible for significant water consumption too. To date, the program has been successful with partner buildings:

  • Reducing GHG emissions by 47% (from FY06)
  • Avoiding 6.4GL of potable water (from FY06)
  • Reducing energy consumption by 333% (from FY06)
Building a better, stronger Sydney

Building a better, stronger Sydney

Commercial green lease standards

To further reduce GHG emissions and water and energy consumption, the BBP has released a new commercial green leasing standard to deliver better sustainability outcomes for tenants and landlords. The green leasing standard – a world first – aims to help landlords and tenants benchmark their agreements against others and save on power and water bills.

The BBP green leasing standard is an online tool developed for landlords and tenants, allowing them to indicate ‘green’ credentials of proposed leases. The score of the lease is determined by measuring the lease clauses against 20 green categories including Energy Management, Performance Standards, and Sustainable Transport. The online tool enables leases to be assessed and a lease scorecard and rating badge generated. The scorecard and badge makes it easy to identify the strength of the proposed lease and compare it with other leases.

Preparing buildings for recycled water

To reduce water consumption in buildings across Sydney, BBP’s Water Technical Working Group has developed connection guidelines for preparing a building for recycled water. These guidelines outline the considerations and practical needs for building owners and facility managers who wish to upgrade their assets for recycled water. These guidelines have been written on the assumption that:

  • The off-site recycled water scheme will supply non-potable water of a quality fit for cooling towers, toilet flushing and irrigation without the need to upgrade existing cooling towers, toilets, and urinals
  • The cost of connecting an existing building to the recycled water network is minimized by undertaking the required plumbing upgrades incrementally during planned building refurbishments

The take-out

Public-Private Partnerships can create green standards and guidelines to align private sector environmental performance with city-wide goals.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley), and of the forthcoming titles Blue and Green Cities (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance and society.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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