Infrastructure developers in Australia will now have a clear concept of carbon-neutral buildings after the federal government issued an official set of guidelines, according to Federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg.
The guidelines would require buildings to measure their emissions for a base year and work to reduce them as much as possible. At the same time, these buildings will need to acquire offset features to cover the remaining emissions.
There are several ways for buildings to accomplish specific energy requirements, including compressed air piping systems. As part of the guidelines, these systems would help buildings in acquiring a 4 Star NABERS Energy rating or a 4 Star Green Star – Performance rating. The certification serves as a key requirement to achieve carbon neutral status.
Frydenberg said that the government launched the new standards after consulting with the Property Council (PCA) and Green Building Council of Australia. PCA CEO Ken Morrison said that certified buildings could use the carbon neutral status ‘to showcase their achievement’. The guidelines complement the efforts of Green Building Councils (GBCs) worldwide, which target all buildings to be net zero by 2050.
GBCs from around the world have advocated for net zero buildings as standard practice to avoid major retrofits in the future. They urge buildings to hasten the pace of renovation not just to comply with construction requirements, but also to attain net zero carbon status.
The other GBCs in Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden and the UK have been developing a suitable programme for their market, which would observe carbon as a key metric and promote ‘deep energy efficiency’ among other principles.
The new guidelines would help the Australian building industry become energy-efficient, which would advance the country’s push to become a net zero environment in the future.