Building and renovating

Overview

The protection of our environment is an important global and local responsibility. Council wants to help lead the transformation in how we live and use our resources in the future.

Today, buildings produce 20 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions through the use of energy during operation. What’s more, the construction of buildings, including demolition waste, contributes 40 per cent of all the materials sent to landfill, and in operation, buildings use large amounts of potable water for non–drinking purposes.

There are growing expectations from the community for the built environment to meet appropriate standards of environmental performance. Council is taking a leading role in this field. For environmental, economic and social reasons, Council encourages sustainable building practices and supports you in creating a more sustainable lifestyle.

Council currently offers free environmentally sustainable design consulting services to residents and developers intending to build or undertake significant renovations.

Council has also produced publications to assist residents in making environmentally sustainable choices when building or renovating.

Practically Green at Home – a guide to sustainable building, renovating and living

The guide is designed to help Nillumbik residents create an environmentally sustainable home and lifestyle.

The guide aims to provide advice on:

  • Sustainable design and construction.
  • Options for building materials.
  • Sustainable appliances and fittings.
  • Creating a sustainable lifestyle.

More information is available in the Practically Green at Home Guide(PDF, 6MB) .

Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)

If you require a planning permit for your project, Council’s planning application process can include sustainable design considerations.

Sustainable design elements are most effective and cost less when they are considered in the early stages of a development. These are good reasons for all applicants to incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) considerations within an application.

Nillumbik will be using the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) program developed by the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP), providing clear guidance on sustainability goals and consistency of process with other participating Councils across Victoria.  The SDAPP brochure(PDF, 689KB) provides more detail about what is required for all types of development.

The SDAPP framework:
  • Recognises the role of local governments as a statutory authority for planning matters.
  • Provides a framework for consideration of sustainable design elements of planning applications.
  • Offers a consistent method for identifying opportunities for improved environmental building performance.

The SDAPP framework identifies 10 key sustainable design criteria that will assist in achieving a more sustainable dwelling. These include:

The SDAPP framework acknowledges that the scale of a project has a bearing on the level of information and the types of sustainability initiatives that can be incorporated in a project. To address this, two assessment methodologies have been developed to target different sized projects. These are:

  • Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA)
  • Sustainability Management Plan (SMP)
Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA)

An SDA is a simple sustainability assessment of a proposed building at the planning stage. The assessment supports the planning application by demonstrating how the proposal addresses the 10 sustainable design criteria.

Applicants are encouraged to use self-assessment tools - STEPS (residential) and Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS) (non-residential) to demonstrate that the project achieves minimum environmental standards. A STEPS or SDS assessment, combined with a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) statement will generally satisfy council’s information expectations. Typically, an SDA can be prepared by applicants themselves – it should not be necessary to engage a sustainability consultant.

An SDA statement can be completed when logged into the STEPS tool. Simply click ‘Create Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA)’ on the left side of the page. Alternatively an SDA template(DOCX, 40KB) can be used.

Sustainability Management Plan (SMP)

An SMP provides a detailed sustainability assessment of a proposed design at the planning stage. It addresses the 10 sustainable design criteria and demonstrates that an holistic ESD review has been undertaken during a project’s early design stages. It also identifies beneficial, easy to implement and best practice initiatives. The nature of larger developments provides the opportunity for increased environmental benefits, opportunities for major resource savings, and lower ongoing running costs, therefore, more thorough investigation is justified.

For planning applications, an SMP should:

  • Identify relevant sustainability targets or performance standards.
  • Document the means by which the appropriate target or performance will be achieved.
  • Identify the different areas of responsibility and provide a schedule for implementation, ongoing management, maintenance and monitoring.
  • Demonstrate that the design elements, technologies and operational practices that comprise the SMP can be maintained over time.

Preparation of an SMP will generally require the engagement of a sustainability consultant.

Whilst applicants may include a STEPS or SDS assessment to support an SMP, due to the increased opportunity presented and the higher standard expected from larger developments, STEPS or SDS compliance alone may not meet Council’s expectations. Council acknowledges that other ESD assessment tools, such as green star rating tools, are available and where appropriate these tools can be used to benchmark environmental performance and demonstrate how the 10 sustainable design criteria have been addressed.

Further information

Romney Bishop, Sustainability Officer on 9433 3211 or Romney.Bishop@nillumbik.vic.gov.au