What is ‘Net Zero Carbon’ and what does it mean for apartments?

Market Insights
4 years ago
3 minutes

As we find out more and more about the negative impact we have on the environment, industry professionals are turning towards ‘green’ building codes to ensure the homes we live in cause minimal harm. 

The great news? Developers like Cbus Property, Dexus, and Nightingale Apartments are signing on to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (NZCBC).

But what exactly is the NZCBC and when a developer has crafted apartments on NZCBC guidelines, what does it look like?

NZCBC explained

Our current construction methods for homes, and the way in which we use our homes, release toxic carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which is massively detrimental to the natural environment. We need to reduce our carbon emissions, ideally to 'net zero', otherwise known as 'carbon neutrality'.

In order to support this, the World Green Building Council proposed a new guideline challenging businesses, organisations, cities, states, and regions all over the world to reach net zero operating emissions by 2030. These new guidelines will ensure any new buildings are energy-efficient, both in the way it is made and the way in which it is used afterwards, and energy to the building is supplied via renewable sources.

In Australia, the federal government has committed to carbon neutrality and supports certifications like the National Australian Built Environment Rating System and the star rating systems formed by Green Building Council Australia (GBCA).

The different certifications

GBCA has four certifications which target different aspects of residential projects. 

  • Green Star Communities — looks at the planning, design, and construction of large-scale development projects like mixed-use precincts Melbourne Square and Ed.Square.
  • Green Star Design & As Built — assesses the sustainability of design and construction methods used in creating new buildings.
  • Green Star Interiors — looks at the indoor environment quality and the overall greenhouse emissions which can occur from living in the home.
  • Green Star Performance — assesses the same as the interiors of an individual home but for the building as a whole.

What does this look like in an apartment project?

Developers and architects are working together to ensure they achieve Green Star ratings. For instance, Lendlease has created mixed-use precinct Melbourne Quarter with over 50 per cent of the site dedicated to green open spaces. As a result, the project was awarded a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating.

Meanwhile, Frasers Property Australia has ensured all residential apartments within Ed.Square in Sydney have been built using environmentally friendly construction methods, with a focus on minimising any waste produced. Thanks to this dedication, and the provision of a renewable energy generation system for both businesses and residences within the precinct, Ed.Square was awarded a 5-Star Green Star Design & As Built rating.

As more industry professionals sign on to the NZCBC, others will feel pressured to follow suit. This, alongside the fact that innovative technologies like electric vehicles and on-site car charging ports are being incorporated in residential projects, is a positive sign for the future.

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Hero image: Melbourne Quarter 'Sky Park'