The City of Melbourne is urging building owners, tenants, industry associates, facility managers and governments to transform and retrofit buildings in the CBD to reduce their carbon emissions and propel the municipality towards the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2040.

To reach the milestone, almost 80 Melbourne buildings each year would need major upgrades and refurbishments to improve energy performance – a significantly higher rate currently being delivered by the market.

Commercial buildings are responsible for 60 per cent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, while residential towers account for six per cent of emissions. Improving the sustainability of all new and existing buildings presents a significant opportunity to considerably reduce carbon emissions, while creating healthier workplaces and homes.

To help accelerate the current retrofit rate, Council has released a Zero Carbon Buildings for Melbourne discussion paper – outlining potential initiatives the City of Melbourne and partners could implement to support the transition of city buildings to net zero emissions.

The paper proposes seven key initiatives:

  • Developing zero carbon building leases – agreement between landlords and tenants to ensure the ongoing use and operation of zero carbon buildings
  • Establishing a carbon risk tool – understanding the future risk of carbon for mid and low-tier buildings
  • Incentivising periodic commercial building disclosure – a program to encourage periodic reporting of a building’s NABERS rating
  • Promoting joint procurement – supporting lower grade and ungraded buildings to increase capacity to carry out deep retrofits jointly
  • Convening zero carbon building retrofit teams – to create a more collaborative, relational way of working
  • Incentivising building performance through rates – using rates to encourage emissions reduction
  • Introducing an emissions cap through local law – establishing an emissions ceiling for buildings

Speaking about the City of Melbourne’s Zero Carbon Building Implementation Plan, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, said that the City is proud to be leading Melbourne’s transition to becoming a zero net emissions city by 2040, but that it can’t achieve this ambitious goal alone.

“By working alongside key industry, academic and government partners, we can accelerate our journey towards zero net emissions– reducing costs and improving our environment,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We want to hear from those involved in every facet of the building industry– so we can better understand how to empower them to help us create a greener, more sustainable city for all Melburnians,” she added.

The recommended initiatives were informed by local and international case studies and developed through detailed interviews with more than 70 industry stakeholders.

Industry stakeholders, academics and community members are encouraged to have their say on the discussion paper via the Participate Melbourne online portal .

Feedback will inform the development of the to be delivered in mid-2023.