Sustainable Building Policy

Sustainable Building Policy Document No: CPL215.10
Approval Date: 27 June 2017
Approved By: Council
Review Date: 27 June 2020
Responsible Officer: Director City Services Version No 001
Authorising Officer: Chief Executive Officer

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Sustainable Building Policy is to guide organisational practices to manage the social, environmental and financial aspects of Council Buildings. It will facilitate a coordinated approach to management of buildings by Council Departments and provide clear commitments to achieve sustainability standards in Council buildings.

2. Scope

This Policy relates to buildings owned, leased or managed by Council. It does not cover sustainability standards for residential or commercial buildings through the planning scheme. The Sustainable Building Policy sets minimum sustainability standards for Council’s:

  • New buildings

  • Renovations and retrofits of existing buildings

  • Building maintenance and minor upgrades

  • Specific sustainability projects

The Sustainable Building Policy applies to all types of Councils buildings including: administrative offices; leisure and aquatic facilities; libraries; community buildings; sports ground pavilions; town halls; child care and health centres; works depots; and other Council buildings.

The aim is to improve sustainability throughout the full life cycle of Councils buildings, from concept and design, through to decommissioning.

The Policy will apply immediately from the date of adoption and will be reviewed every two years to help ensure that the building standards, financial implications, environmental outcomes and corporate processes are operating effectively and efficiently.

3. References

  • City of Greater Geelong City Plan

  • City of Greater Geelong Procurement Policy

  • City of Greater Geelong Environment Management Strategy

  • City of Greater Geelong Greenhouse Strategy

  • City of Greater Geelong Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

  • City of Greater Geelong Sustainable Building Management Plan (Ironbark Sustainability)

  • Geelong Buildings ESD Policy Report (Net Balance)

  • Low Carbon Growth Plan for Greater Geelong – Climate Works Australia

  • Green Building Council of Australia website

  • Victorian Government Office Accommodation Guidelines 2007 – Department of Treasury and Finance.

  • Victorian Local Government Act 1989

  • City of Greater Geelong Social Infrastructure Plan

  • City of Greater Geelong Children’s Services Plan

  • Low Carbon Growth Plan for Geelong

  • Sustainable Water Use Plan

  • Sustainable Communities Infrastructure Development Guidelines

4. Definitions

Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD): The design and development of property and infrastructure that attempts to minimise impact on the environment. It meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

5 Star Greenstar Design and As Built: Building rating tool administered by Green Building Council of Australia, for large and high profile buildings which offers certification and promotion benefits.

BESS: Built Environment Sustainable Scorecard tool to assess energy and water efficiency, thermal comfort, and overall sustainability performance of a new building or upgrade.

NABERS: National Australian Built Environment Rating System tool to measure ongoing performance of buildings in operation.

Upgrades: Building works where, as a guide, at least fifty percent of the floor area is renovated.

Large Buildings: Floor area greater than 1500m2

Small Buildings: Floor area less than 1500m2

Simple Payback Period: the period of time required to recoup the capital funds expended on an ESD investment

5. Council Policy

5.1 Background

The City of Greater Geelong’s strategic directions for City Plan 2013 - 2017 are:

  • Community Wellbeing. Growing the Economy. Sustainable Built and Natural Environment. How we do Business

This Policy has been prepared to help meet the City of Greater Geelong’s strategic directions. It also supports the aims of existing Council Policies and Strategies which are listed in the References section of this policy document.

The aim of the Sustainable Building Policy is to guide and influence organisational practices to manage the social, environmental and financial aspects of Council Buildings. It will facilitate a coordinated approach to management of buildings by Council Departments and provide clear commitments to achieve sustainability standards in Council buildings.

The Policy will aim to deliver a range of improved sustainability outcomes and benefits to Council, the community and the environment including:

Social benefits

  • A healthier workplace for staff

  • Demonstration of corporate responsibility and leadership to the community on sustainability and environmental issues

  • Improved Council reputation and a boost to staff and community pride

  • Making Council buildings more resilient and comfortable

Economic benefits

  • Future proofed assets

  • Lower operating costs through energy and water efficiencies

  • Management of the financial risks of rising utility prices

  • Improved financial performance through a whole-of-lifecycle approach to managing Council buildings

  • Competitive advantage when applying for grants and funding opportunities which require ESD consideration

    A more productive workplace

Environmental benefits

  • Reduced demand for limited and non-renewable resources such as water, materials and fossil fuel based energy

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

  • Reduced pollution, toxic by-products and waste production

  • Provide leadership to the community

The Policy is supported by the Sustainable Building Management Plan which provides a comprehensive overview of actions and processes to achieve sustainable Council buildings. It provides further detail to the Policy objectives and should be used as an ongoing resource for implementation, development and review of the Policy.

5.2. Guiding Principles

5.2.1. Financial Responsibility

Council has a financial responsibility to deliver sustainable buildings that are affordable and represent value for money while achieving improvements in sustainability.

The cost of buildings and upgrades will be considered on a whole-of-lifecycle basis when considering the benefits and financial costs. The sustainable design features of a project should be considered as a holistic package which should aim to meet a 7 year simple payback period.

Council’s procurement will be carried out on the basis of obtaining value for money. Lowest cost is not necessarily an indicator of value for money and social and environmental factors should be balanced with economic considerations.

Ongoing maintenance and performance costs will be considered in the design and delivery of new buildings.

5.2.2. Sustainability

Sustainability is a balanced consideration of social, environmental and economic factors that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

5.2.3. Environmentally Sustainable Building

An environmentally sustainable building combines design, construction and operational practices to significantly reduce negative impacts on both people and the environment by following the principles of:

  • Energy efficiency

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  • Water conservation

  • Waste avoidance, reuse and recycling

  • Pollution prevention

  • Enhanced biodiversity

  • Reduced natural resource consumption

  • Productive and healthy environments

  • Flexible and adaptable spaces

  • Sustainable transport

  • Built to last and resilient to climate change

Sustainability will be considered:

  • Throughout the whole-lifecycle of a building

  • As an integral part of a building

5.2.4. Working Collaboratively

The City of Greater Geelong is a large organisation with a complex, and often shared, division of responsibility for managing buildings over a whole-of-lifecycle. Council recognises that working collaboratively is vital to delivering sustainable buildings and will:

  • Work with an ethic of consultation and collaboration where stakeholders are involved in the relevant project stages, particularly in cases where responsibility will be handed over to another Council Department or asset manager.

5.3. Policy: Sustainability Standards for Buildings

5.3.1. Building Design

New buildings and upgrades will be designed to meet the following minimum standards:

  • Large buildings will meet a 5 Star GreenStarDesign and As Built rating or equivalent.

  • Small buildings will meet an ‘Excellent’ rating on the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard for design, or equivalent.

5.3.2. Building Performance

Existing buildings will aim to meet and maintain a 4 Star NABERS rating or equivalent when upgrades occur.

5.3.3. Appliances

Appliances replaced during building maintenance or installed in new buildings will meet the following standards:

  • Electrical appliances will meet a 4 Star Energy Rating Labelling Scheme or equivalent.

  • Water appliances will meet a 4 Star Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) rating or equivalent.

5.4. When the Standards Will Apply

5.4.1 New buildings and upgrades

  • The standards for new building design will apply from the date of adoption of the Policy.

  • Will meet the ongoing building performance targets.

  • Will meet the standards for appliances.

5.4.2 Existing buildings

  • The City of Greater Geelong has a large existing building stock. To make a manageable transition to a more sustainable portfolio of buildings, the building performance standards will apply when building upgrades occur.

  • The Appliance standards will apply when appliances are replaced.

5.4.3 Special considerations

There are some cases where the sustainability standards or certain ESD items may not be achievable or practical to deliver. In the following cases Council will aim to reach the standards while recognising that the standards remain as aspiration targets.

  • Heritage Buildings – Due to building construction techniques and heritage protection guidelines it may not be possible, or practical, to reach the standards.

  • Buildings leased by Council (Council as tenant) – Council may not be able to meet building performance standards due to market forces or other factors. In such cases Council will try to reach the standards and advocate for property owners to meet the standards.

  • Where compliance with sustainability standards or components of them have been assessed to provide inadequate environmental, social or economic benefit to warrant the investment required. This assessment will be made by relevant officers with representation from Council’s Environment unit and, where appropriate, with input from a suitably qualified person in sustainable building design. The decision to apply special considerations in this regard will be made by the relevant Director.

5.5. Responsibility

The responsibility for actions and standards is assigned to relevant Council departments as outlined in Section 5.5.1 Action Plan. Where responsibility for an action is assigned to a Council Department it also involves a responsibility to follow the guiding principle in section 5.2.4 Working Collaboratively.

5.5.1. Action Plan

Action Area: Organisational Processes 

Action  Department
Policy development Environment
Policy implementation All service managers
Working group All service managers
Monitoring and reporting Environment
Senior management responsibility for policy Director City Services
Behaviour change initiatives All service managers

Action Area: New buildings and upgrades

Action  Department
Design Capital Projects
Specification Capital Projects
Tender documents Capital Projects, Procurement
Commissioning Capital Projects
Technical specifications for fittings and appliances Capital Projects
Building efficiency management plans (BEMPS) Capital Projects
Staff training and development Capital Projects
Funding and business case development Service Managers/Capital Projects

Action Area: Management of Existing Buildings and Leases

Action  Department
Maintenance  Property and Procurement
Ongoing building performance Property and Procurement
Aquatic and leisure centres Property and Procurement
Minor retrofits and upgrades Property and Procurement
Heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems
*Except leisure centres HVAC - Managed by Leisure Services
Property and Procurement
Technical specifications for fixtures and fittings Property and Procurement
Advice to clubs/community group tenants on fittings Property and Procurement
Staff training and development Property and Procurement
Building efficiency management plans (BEMPS) Property and Procurement
Specific sustainability projects and upgrades Environment
Performance measurement and reporting Property and Procurement
Develop Green Lease Schedules Property and Procurement
Develop centralised management and standards for clubs/community ‘self help’ works Property and Procurement

6. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention/Disposal Responsibility Retention Period Location
Design plans

Technical documents associated with commissioning a building and/or equipment

Building Efficiency Management Plans
PROS 07/01 – 14.4.1. Records documenting construction and renovation activities carried out on government owned properties Permanent Electronic Document Management System
General PROS 07/01 – 14.4.2. Records documenting construction and renovation activities carried out on non-government owned properties Temporary – destroy 15 years after property is no longer occupied Electronic Document Management System
Performance measuring and monitoring PROS 09/05 – 7.5.2. Records relating to the development and implementation of routine sustainability initiatives within a municipal jurisdiction Temporary – destroy 15 years following conclusion of initiative Electronic Document Management System
  PROS 09/05 – 7.5.1. Records relating to the development and implementation of significant and unique sustainability initiatives within a municipal jurisdiction Temporary – destroy 25 years following conclusion of initiative Electronic Document Management System

7. Attachments

Attachment 1: Overview of Building Rating Standards

There are a number of different rating tools and standards that apply to a sustainable built environment. Unfortunately there is not one rating that covers the design, build and operational performance of buildings.

The purpose and level of detail covered must be matched to the size and type of building as well as the life stage of building. It is necessary to choose the right rating for the right purpose, even though it might appear simpler to use one rating standard across all building types and stages.

GreenStar and NABERS, for example, are suitable tools for large buildings but may be too onerous (and expensive) to apply to small buildings.

The following table provides a simple guide:

Sustainability tools for Local Government in Victoria

  Large facilities (>1000m2) Small facilities (<1000m2)
Design and Build   Green Star Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS)
Operational performance NABERS NABERS or equivalent
(such as Engeneous)

Further detail of the tools is provided in the Sustainable Building Management Plan prepared by Ironbark Sustainability.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2023