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Lower emissions from Sydney’s better buildings

Building Better Partnerships. Image credit: Jack Begbie

The Better Buildings Partnership – a City of Sydney-led collaboration of major property owners – is driving Australia’s world leading sustainable building results, according to GRESB Head of Asia-Pacific, Ruben Langbroek.

Better Buildings Partnership members have now recorded a staggering 52 per cent emission reduction across their $105 billion property portfolio since the Partnership’s inception in 2011.

The figures revealed in the partnership’s annual report show its members are on track to exceed the 70 per cent emission reduction target (based on a 2006 baseline) well ahead of the 2030 deadline.

Mr Langbroek said the results are consistent with GRESB data that shows the Australian property sector has emerged as a global leader in energy efficiency, emission reductions and diverting waste from landfill.

“Although Better Buildings Partnership members are based in Sydney, they manage properties across the country and are driving great positive change in how buildings are constructed and operated in Australia,” Mr Langbroek said.

“Our data has consistently shown that the Australian property market is a global sustainability leader and this reflects the strong environmental work of the Better Buildings Partnership.

“Institutional investors are demanding greater transparency when it comes to environmental performance of their real estate investment portfolio, and that is why Australia’s prime building portfolio is increasingly valued on the world stage.”

Seven years ago, Lord Mayor Clover Moore brought Sydney’s major commercial landlords together to present the scale of the climate challenge and the City’s ambitious target for action – a 70 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“We knew we couldn’t achieve our target of a 70 per cent emissions reduction across our area unless we worked with the major commercial landlords of the city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Sydney’s biggest building owners and building managers, accounting for 54 per cent of all commercial office space in the city centre and 35 per cent across our local government area, signed up to the City’s targets – and their concerted efforts have made a huge difference.

“This phenomenal result came about thanks to effective long term collaboration between government and the private sector. Buildings account for more than 80 per cent of emissions generated in our area, we’re fortunate to have some very collaborative and forward thinking organisations to work with.”

Despite the portfolio growing 14 per cent since its inception as more organisations have come on board, the Better Buildings Partnership has recorded several impressive achievements, including:

  • 52% reduction in emissions
  • 36% reduction in potable water use
  • $33 million savings in electricity bills
  • 43% energy reduction
  • 8000 tonnes of rehomed furniture.

The BBP Chair, and Dexus Head of Group Sustainability, Paul Wall, said the results reflected Sydney’s building owners’ ability to drive business growth while reducing carbon pollution.

“Sydney’s major property owners continue to lead the world in sustainability, delivering super-efficient, liveable and resilient buildings and enhancing our city’s reputation as a global investment destination,” Mr Wall said.

The partnership is now working towards net zero emissions across all buildings, better waste data recording, 80 per cent strip out waste recovery, better data insights and systematic green leasing.

The City recently placed two sustainability sector plans relating to the accommodation and officer sectors on exhibition for public comment.

“Despite the great results, there is more work to do over the coming years so we have unveiled new sector plans outlining actions we can take to slash emissions in the office and accommodation building sectors,” the Lord Mayor said.

The Better Buildings Partnership is directed by a leadership panel comprising senior representatives from each member organisation. The leadership panel meets quarterly to set the overall vision and strategic direction of the partnership including targets and develop the annual work program.

Partners include AMP Capital, Brookfield, Charter Hall, City of Sydney, DEXUS, Frasers Property, The GPT Group, Investa, ISPT, LendLease, Mirvac, Stockland, University of Sydney, Sydney TAFE, and University of Technology Sydney.

GRESB collates and analyses environmental, social and governance assessments to provide insights to investors across the world.

Source: City of Sydney

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