Sustainable Building Policy

Sustainable Building Policy Document No: CPL215.10
Approval Date: 11-9-2012
Approved By: Council
Review Date: 30-06-2014
Responsible Officer: General Manager City Services Version No 00
Authorising Officer: Chief Executive Officer

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Sustainable Building Policy is to guide organisational practices to manage the social, environmental and financial aspects of Council Buildings. It will facilitate a coordinated approach to management of buildings by Council Departments and provide clear commitments to achieve sustainability standards in Council buildings.

2. Scope

This Policy relates to buildings owned, leased or managed by Council. It does not cover sustainability standards for residential or commercial buildings through the planning scheme. The Sustainable Building Policy sets minimum sustainability standards for Council’s:

  • New buildings

  • Renovations and retrofits of existing buildings

  • Building maintenance and minor upgrades

  • Specific sustainability projects

The Sustainable Building Policy applies to all types of Councils buildings including: administrative offices; leisure and aquatic facilities; libraries; community buildings; sports ground pavilions; town halls; child care and health centres; works depots; and other Council buildings.

The aim is to improve sustainability throughout the full life cycle of Councils buildings, from concept and design, through to decommissioning.

The Policy will apply immediately from the date of adoption and will be reviewed at 30th June 2014 to help ensure that the building standards, financial implications, environmental outcomes and corporate processes are operating effectively and efficiently. It will be reviewed every 2 years thereafter.

3. References

  • City of Greater Geelong City Plan 2009-2013

  • City of Greater Geelong Procurement Policy

  • City of Greater Geelong Environment Management Strategy 2006-2011

  • City of Greater Geelong Greenhouse Response 2008-2011

  • City of Greater Geelong Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

  • City of Greater Geelong Sustainable Building Management Plan (Ironbark Sustainability)

  • Geelong Buildings ESD Policy Report (Net Balance)

  • Low Carbon Growth Plan for Greater Geelong – Climate Works Australia

  • Green Star Foundation Course Workbook – Green Building Council of Australia

  • Building a Sustainable Future: A Guide for Local Government – Green Building Council of Australia.

  • Victorian Government Office Accommodation Guidelines 2007 – Department of Treasury and Finance.

4. Definitions

Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD): Environmentally Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD): The design and development of property and infrastructure that attempts to minimise impact on the environment.

5. Council Policy

5.1 Background

The City of Greater Geelong’s Vision is: Geelong: coast, country and suburbs is the best place to live through prosperous and cohesive communities in an exceptional environment. To support the Vision, the City of Greater Geelong has adopted three strategic directions for City Plan 2009-2013. These are:

  • Community Wellbeing. Objective: To improve the health and quality of life of all residents of Greater Geelong.

  • Growing the Economy. Objective: Securing Geelong’s economic future.

  • Sustainable Built and Natural Environment. Objective: The City of Greater Geelong leads the community in sustainable planning and environmental action.

This Policy has been prepared to help meet the City of Greater Geelong’s Vision and strategic directions. It also supports the aims of existing Council Policies and Strategies including:

  • Environment Management Strategy

  • Greenhouse Response

  • Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

  • Low Carbon Growth Plan for Geelong

  • Sustainable Water Use Plan

  • Sustainable Communities Infrastructure Development Guidelines

  • Procurement Policy

The aim of the Sustainable Building Policy is to guide and influence organisational practices to manage the social, environmental and financial aspects of Council Buildings. It will facilitate a coordinated approach to management of buildings by Council Departments and provide clear commitments to achieve sustainability standards in Council buildings.

The Policy will deliver a range of improved sustainability outcomes and benefits to Council, the community and the environment including:

Social benefits

  • A healthier workplace for staff

  • Demonstration of corporate responsibility and leadership to the community on sustainability and environmental issues

  • Improved Council reputation and a boost to staff and community pride

  • Making Council buildings more resilient and comfortable

Economic benefits

  • Future proofed assets

  • Lower operating costs through energy and water efficiencies

  • Management of the financial risks of rising utility prices

  • Improved financial performance through a whole-of-lifecycle approach to managing Council buildings

  • Higher return on investment

  • Competitive advantage when applying for grants and funding opportunities

  • A more productive workplace, reduced absenteeism and an increased ability to attract and retain staff

Environmental benefits

  • Reduced demand for limited and non-renewable resources such as water, materials and fossil fuel based energy

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

  • Reduced pollution, toxic by-products and waste production

The Policy is supported by the Sustainable Building Management Plan which provides a comprehensive overview of actions and processes to achieve sustainable Council buildings. It provides further detail to the Policy objectives and should be used as an ongoing resource for implementation, development and review of the Policy.

5.2. Guiding Principles

5.2.1. Financial Responsibility

Council has a financial responsibility to deliver sustainable buildings that are affordable and represent value for money while achieving improvements in sustainability.

The cost of buildings and upgrades will be considered on a whole-of-lifecycle basis when considering the benefits and financial costs. The sustainable design features of a project should be considered as a holistic package which should aim to meet a 7 year simple payback period.

Council’s procurement will be carried out on the basis of obtaining value for money. Lowest cost is not necessarily an indicator of value for money and social and environmental factors should be balanced with economic considerations.
Ongoing maintenance and performance costs will be considered in the design and delivery of new buildings.

5.2.2. Sustainability

Sustainability is a balanced consideration of social, environmental and economic factors that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

5.2.3. Environmentally Sustainable Building

An environmentally sustainable building combines design, construction and operational practices to significantly reduce negative impacts on both people and the environment by following the principles of:

  • Energy efficiency

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  • Water conservation

  • Waste avoidance, reuse and recycling

  • Pollution prevention

  • Enhanced biodiversity

  • Reduced natural resource consumption

  • Productive and healthy environments

  • Flexible and adaptable spaces

  • Sustainable transport

  • Built to last and resilient to climate change

Sustainability will be considered:

  • Throughout the whole-lifecycle of a building

  • As an integral part of a building

5.2.4. Working Collaboratively

The City of Greater Geelong is a large organisation with a complex, and often shared, division of responsibility for managing buildings over a whole-of-lifecycle. Council recognises that working collaboratively is vital to delivering sustainable buildings and will:

  • Work with an ethic of consultation and collaboration where stakeholders are involved in the relevant project stages, particularly in cases where responsibility will be handed over to another Council Department or asset manager

5.3. Policy: Sustainability Standards for Buildings

5.3.1. Building Design

New buildings and major renovations will be designed to meet the following minimum standards:

5.3.2. Building Performance

Existing buildings will reach the following standards when upgrades occur:

  • Large buildings will seek to meet and maintain a 4 Star NABERS rating or equivalent.
  • Small buildings will seek to meet and maintain a 4 star NABERS rating or equivalent.

5.3.3. Maintenance

Appliances replaced during building maintenance will meet the following standards:

  • Electrical appliances will meet a 4 Star Energy Rating Labelling Scheme or equivalent.
  • Water appliances will meet a 4 Star Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) rating or equivalent.

5.4. When the Standards Will Apply

5.4.1 New buildings and major renovations

  • The standards for new building design will apply from the date of adoption of the Policy.
  • Will meet the ongoing building performance targets.
  • Will meet the maintenance standards for appliances.

5.4.2 Existing buildings

  • The City of Greater Geelong has a large existing building stock. To make a manageable transition to a more sustainable portfolio of buildings, the building performance standards will apply when building upgrades occur.
  • The maintenance standards will apply when appliances are replaced.
  • Building performance standards will apply for any new or renewed leases, where Council will be a tenant, from the date the Policy is adopted

5.4.3 Special considerations

There are some cases where the building performance standards may not be achievable or practically possible to reach. In the following cases Council will aim to reach the standards while recognising that the standards remain as aspiration targets:

  • Heritage Buildings – Due to building construction techniques and heritage protection guidelines it may not be possible, or practical, to reach the standards.
  • Buildings leased by Council (Council as tenant) – Council may not be able to meet building performance standards due to market forces or other factors. In such cases Council will try to reach the standards and advocate for property owners to meet the standards.

5.5. Responsibility

The responsibility for actions and standards is assigned to relevant Council departments as outlined in Section 5.5.1 Action Plan. Where responsibility for an action is assigned to a Council Department it also involves a responsibility to follow the guiding principle in section 5.2.4 Working Collaboratively.

5.5.1. Action Plan

Action Area: Organisational Processes 

Action  Department
Policy development Environment
Policy implementation All service managers
Working group All service managers
Monitoring & reporting Environment
Senior management responsibility for policy GM City Services
Behaviour change initiatives All service managers

Action Area: New Buildings & Major Retrofits

Action  Department
Design Capital Projects
Specification Capital Projects
Tender documents Capital Projects, Procurement
Commissioning Capital Projects
Technical specifications for fittings & appliances Capital Projects
Building efficiency management plans (BEMPS) Capital Projects
Staff training & development Capital Projects
Funding & business case development Service Managers/Capital Projects

Action Area: Management of Existing Buildings & Leases

Action  Department
Maintenance  Property
Ongoing building performance Property
Aquatic and leisure centres Property
Minor retrofits & upgrades Property
Heating ventilation & cooling (HVAC) systems
*Except leisure centres HVAC - Managed by Leisure Services
Technical specifications for fixtures & fittings Property
Advice to clubs/community group tenants on fittings Property
Staff training & development Property
Building efficiency management plans (BEMPS) Property
Specific sustainability projects & upgrades Environment
Performance measurement & reporting Property
Develop Green Lease Schedules Property
Develop centralised management and standards for clubs/community ‘self help’ works Property

6. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.


Retention/Disposal Responsibility

Retention Period


Design Plans

PROS 07/01

Council Building - Permanent

Non Council Building - Temporary – destroy 15 years after property is no longer occupied


Technical documents associated with commissioning a building and/or equipment

PROS 07/01




PROS 07/01 – 14.4.1. Records documenting construction & renovation activities carried out on government owned properties




PROS 07/01 – 14.4.2. Records documenting construction & renovation activities carried out on non-government owned properties

Temporary – destroy 15 years after property is no longer occupied


Building Efficiency Management Plans

PROS 09/05



Performance measuring and monitoring

PROS 09/05 – 7.5.2. Records relating to the development and implementation of routine sustainability initiatives within a municipal jurisdiction

Temporary – destroy 15 years following conclusion of initiative


7. Attachments

Attachment 1: Overview of Buildig Rating Standards

There are a number of different rating tools and standards that apply to a sustainable built environment. Unfortunately there is not one rating that covers the design, build and operational performance of buildings. The purpose and level of detail covered must be matched to the size and type of building as well as the life stage of building. It is necessary to choose the right rating for the right purpose, even though it might appear simpler to use one rating standard across all building types and stages. GreenStar and NABERS, for example, are suitable tools for large buildings but may be too onerous (and expensive) to apply to small buildings. The following table provides a simple guide:

Sustainability tools for Local Government in Victoria

  Large facilities (>1000m2) Small facilities (<1000m2)
Design & Build   Green Star Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS)
Operational performance NABERS NABERS or equivalent
(such as Engeneous)

Further detail of the tools is provided in the Sustainable Building Management Plan prepared by Ironbark Sustainability.

Page last updated: Thursday, 14 July 2016