06/02/2008 - 22:00

Green building incentive proposal

06/02/2008 - 22:00

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Developers looking to build eco-friendly commercial offices may soon receive an incentive in the form of a plot ratio bonus, with the City of Perth set to draft an amendment to its planning laws.

Developers looking to build eco-friendly commercial offices may soon receive an incentive in the form of a plot ratio bonus, with the City of Perth set to draft an amendment to its planning laws.

The bonus would be available for six-star ‘green star’ buildings, which have the highest efficiency rating according to the Green Building Council of Australia’s code.

While the size of the bonus ratio is yet to be decided, it would be above the 20 per cent quota currently available under the city’s planning laws.

The council’s decision follows a recommendation from its planning committee, which has held discussions about green development with the Property Council of Australia and other stakeholders over the past six months. 

Property Council of Australia policy and communications manager, Lino Iacomella, said a plot ratio bonus for gross floor space would be an important step towards Perth securing its first six-star building.

“The experience in Melbourne is that there is enormous international awareness about the city’s role in their green star buildings,” he said.

“It becomes almost a tourist attraction.”

However, Mr Iacomella said retrofitting of existing buildings was an equally important priority for the commercial property sector.

“Most existing buildings in Perth are a number of years old and it’s very expensive to retrofit them to bring a much higher level of environmental standard,” he said.

“What we’re calling for are incentives like rate reductions (for land owners in the City of Perth), priority assessment of development applications and rebates on development lodgment fees.”

Mr Iacomella said national tax reform should also be considered, in order to make green development easier.

He said commercial property owners were going to have to put more resources towards meeting environmental standards, in order to meet tenant demand.

“Owners are concerned about having property that will be less attractive in future. Investors want high environmental standards because they’re future proofing their asset,” he said.

“We don’t want to be in the position down the track where there’s a shortage of people and capacity (to retrofit buildings), because it’s only going to become more expensive.”

The City of Perth is also seeking to become a signatory of the Green CBDs initiative, after supporting a motion by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors.

The program, which currently operates in Sydney, encourages CBD commercial office tenants to commit to a minimum four-star accreditation for energy efficiency.

According to the City of Perth’s planning committee, up to 75,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions could be saved annually if all commercial tenants in the CBD participated.

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