Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) in planning

Geelong is committed to achieving sustainable design and development to ensure that the quality of the environment is protected and enhanced for future generations.

Promoting residential and commercial buildings that achieve higher than mandated environmental sustainable design standards is key to achieving this commitment.

The Greater Geelong Planning Scheme clause 22.71 requires all planning permit applications to consider environmentally sustainable design. For medium and large developments, the application must address our 10 key sustainable building categories.

ESD principles aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment and improve the health and comfort of buildings for occupants. Consideration of environmentally sustainable design principles at the design phase of a development provides the best opportunity to make the greatest amount of difference in terms of sustainability for the least amount of cost.


Sustainable design and planning permits for large or medium development

To demonstrate sustainable design in your permit application, you will need to work out (using the following table) whether your development would be classified as large or medium.

Size/type of development What to submit Prepared by
Large developments
10 or more residential dwellings, or development of a building for accommodation with a gross floor area of more than 1500 square metres.

Development of a non-residential building with a gross floor area of more than 1500 square metres or Non-residential alterations and additions of more than 1500 square metres.

More about sustainable design for large-scale developments.
  1. Sustainability Management Plan, ideally based on our template.
  2. An assessment of your development using tools such as BESS, GreenStar, MUSIC and STORM.
  3. A set of plans or demonstration of every environmentally sustainable design element mentioned in the sustainable design assessment.
A sustainable design consultant, or other sustainability professional.

Medium developments
3-9 residential dwellings, or Development of a building for accommodation with a gross floor area between 100 square metres and 1500 square metres.

Development of a non-residential building with a gross floor area between 300 square metres and 1500 square metres or
Non-residential alterations and additions of 300 square metres to 1500 square metres.

More about sustainable design for medium-scale developments.

  1. A BESS report and associated attachments OR if not using BESS, a Sustainable Design Assessment, ideally based on our template.
  2. An assessment of your development using tools such as BESS, GreenStar, MUSIC and STORM.
  3. A set of plans or demonstration of every environmentally sustainable design element mentioned in the sustainable design assessment.
You can prepare it, ideally with support from a sustainable design consultant or sustainability professional.

For further information please refer to our frequently asked questions.

Key points to note:

  • All planning applications must consider environmentally sustainable design. This will not delay your planning application being processed.
  • If we don’t believe that your application meets the requirements of the planning scheme, we will help guide improvements with ideas, feedback and practical ways to improve the standard of your environmentally sustainable design.

Environmentally Sustainable Design case study examples

You can view a selection of building projects in Yarra City Council that align with our environmentally sustainable design objectives.





Page last updated: Monday, 28 October 2019

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