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Greens plan to cool cities

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 30 Jun 2016

Commercial offices, shopping centres, schools, hospitals, and hotels would be retrofitted with solar panels, ‘green’ walls and efficient appliances to slash energy usage and create healthier places to work under a Green’s plan to cool cities released today.

The $258million national Green Building Plan aims to refurbish up to 80,000 mid-tier buildings and offices across Australia to emit zero carbon pollution by 2040.

The plan would establish a $100million loan facility through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to retrofit buildings, reducing energy bills by as much as 80 per cent per year.

This plan targets small and medium sized businesses because these ‘mid-tier buildings’ offer the best low hanging fruit in terms of massive pollution reductions we can get for a relatively modest investment.

The Greens propose the CEFC will be able to issue loans for upgrades, which could be paid back over time from the energy savings the businesses will make.

It also includes $50m a year for new buildings to achieve a world leadership 6 star Green Star energy rating.

Costing $62million per year plan would establish:


A national target of 100 per cent zero carbon buildings by 2040


A new $100m annual loan facility through the CEFC for large scale retrofits of commercial buildings with a focus on mid-tier commercial buildings


A new $50m annual grant funding for new buildings to achieve  ‘world leadership’ 6 Star Green Star certification or an equivalent rating


A new $10m Green roofs and walls fund and a requirement for any buildings receiving government funding to include green walls or roofs


An urgent review and upgrade of the National Construction Code energy performance standards with a trajectory to net zero emissions by 2040, and an amendment of the Code to include the provision of end-of-trip facilities for bicycle users


Incentives for local governments, worth $10.1 million over forward estimates, to enroll commercial building owners in Environmental Upgrade Agreements.

Greens spokesperson for cities and co deputy leader, Senator for WA Scott Ludlam said Australia’s commercial buildings account for about 10 per cent of national energy usage.

“The potential for this plan is enormous. With refurbished electrics and upgraded appliances, businesses have the potential to save thousands of dollars a year on their energy and water bills,” he said. 

“One of our plans is to establish a $10million a year fund to green the walls and roofs of buildings in our cities. Not only does this look beautiful, it dramatically cools our cities as our summers get hotter.

“At the same time we can cool our cities from a local level and do our bit to curb global warming.”

The green walls and roofs plan bring Australia into line with international standards such as Toronto, which mandated green roofs on all new developments including commercial, industrial and residential covering 196,000sqm of green roofs since 2010.

Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert said coupled with the Greens $25million National Urban Forest Plan to cool our suburbs, our cities would be more liveable, offering valuable environmental, economic and health benefits.

Green spaces improve our city’s liveability, providing places to socialise, exercise and somewhere for our kids to play,” she said.

“People who live in greener suburbs are more likely to have active lifestyles including walking and cycling.”



$15m Urban Forest Acquisition Fund to enable the states to purchase areas of high conservation value natural habitat in urban areas


$5 million Community Grants to enable local communities to contribute to the Greenways through precinct-scale or neighbourhood scale plantings or infrastructure


$1m Household grants to subsidise local area biodiversity plantings in front verges and backyards, to enable households to directly link in to the local greenway


$1m to assist states and local councils develop local Urban Forest Plans


$2m to establish an Aboriginal Stewardship Committee in each state to steer planning and mapping of the greenways networks, and to engage Aboriginal businesses to develop cultural trails and deliver cultural, education and eco-tourism programs


$1m for ongoing maintenance including tree audits every 3 years to measure tree canopy cover and health


Introduce a federal moratorium on clearing of urban bushland until each city has completed Strategic Environmental Assessment and an assessment of by the Threatened Species Commissioner


Establish an Urban Biodiversity Taskforce within the re-established Major Cities Unit


Create a new category of National Park called ‘Urban National Parks’ by 2020 - consisting of a series of interlinked urban forests and greenways.


Read the full policy here:



The Perth example


In 2015 Scope Systems in West Leederville renovated a 1,400m2 floor warehouse into a one-story office, installing over 18 different measures that dramatically cut power bills and improved the indoor work environment, and resulted in achieving net zero energy consumption.

These include:



98Kw solar array, generating double energy required


70m long skylight through the centre of office to create an abundance of natural light.


2Kw Solar powered public art flowers


Grey water system for low water usage gardens


95% Led lighting


Light motion sensors throughout the floor and in toilets and storage areas


Green walls enhance productivity by 12%, with pond and water feature


High efficiency heat pumps for hot water


High Efficiency three pipe Air Conditioning System, Heats to 21DegC /Fan only 22-26DegC / Cools above 26DegC


“Green power” circuit that is only active when the security system is OFF


80% of lighting needs comes from natural sunlight through a 70m long skylight


Four Purge Fans to circulate fresh air into the building and dump the stale air outside


Employees are reimbursed for public transport costs to and from the office or charged $10 a day to park their own car in the car park


Provision of four Plug In Hybrid Electric cars are plugged into our solar system


Showers, secure bike room, washer/dryer, irons and ironing boards


Waste separation, High speed SMEG dishwashers and central ZIP tap for water



“Upside down blinds”, provide light at the top and reduce sun reflection

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