Sustainable design in planning FAQs

Refer to the following frequently asked questions.

What are the 10 categories of sustainable design I need to consider?

If your application is for a medium or large scale development, your application needs to address the 10 key sustainable building categories.

The categories are:

  • indoor environment quality
  • energy efficiency
  • water efficiency
  • stormwater management
  • building materials
  • transport
  • waste management
  • urban ecology
  • innovation
  • construction and building management

Do I need to know what appliances I will install?

As part of an SDA submission, we don't expect you to know what appliance models you will be installing in the future. We recommend committing to an energy efficiency standard, for example through declaring the Star rating for different appliances (commonly heating, cooling and hot water).


Can I use the BESS tool without having completed a NatHERS (for example: FirstRate) assessment?

An energy rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) will have to be completed for most new dwellings and some extensions at the building permit stage at the latest.

A building’s orientation, glazing proportions and construction materials largely impact the rating, we strongly recommended to conduct a preliminary assessment before lodging your drawings for a planning permit.

You might have to apply for an amendment to your planning permit if a later energy rating shows that you have to amend the building design to meet minimum NCC standards. Many designers now use energy rating tools as design tools rather than as compliance tools.


What information will I need in order to demonstrate sustainable design in my medium or large-scale development?

You can use free online tools, template report on our website or prepare your own report. In addition to your architectural drawings, you will generally require the following information:

For all developments (residential and non-residential):

  • BESS report print out (or equivalent tool)
  • STORM rating, a free online tool that measures your application’s storm water management qualities
  • anticipated minimum energy efficiency rating of major appliances for heating, cooling and hot water (energy labelling)
  • anticipated minimum water efficiency rating of taps and fittings (WELS ratings)
  • anticipated light fittings (for example: incandescent, compact fluorescent of LED?)
  • on-site renewable energy devices (if applicable).

What if my development falls within a Heritage Overlay?

You may need a planning permit that considers the heritage values of your place as part of improving its sustainability, refer to the Greening Geelong’s Heritage information sheet for further information





Page last updated: Wednesday, 14 August 2019

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