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Sustainable design

Sustainable design elements are most effective — and have the least cost — when they are considered at the earliest stages of a development.

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We strongly encourage applicants to consider Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) within their planning applications.

Any new 'medium' or 'large' development should achieve best practice in environmentally sustainable development, from the design stage through to construction and operation. Developments should address the key sustainable building categories, listed further below.

Either a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) Report or Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) Report, along with additional documentation: such as performance reports from Council supported and recognised assessment tools, are required by Council to support your planning application.

We use the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) program developed by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). This provides clear guidance on sustainability goals and consistency with other participating councils across Victoria.

Fact Sheet: Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) explained

Council can assist you to incorporate environmentally sustainable design into your development during the planning process.

Incorporating ESD in your planning application

Step 1

Start considering environmentally sustainable development early in planning. To help, we provide ESD advice for planning applications.

Step 2

Determine from the guide below what information you need to submit depending on the size and type of your development.

Small developments

All planning applications other than described in the medium and large.

What to submit? Include ESD features in plans and drawings.

Who can prepare the submission? Yourself or an ESD professional.

Example tools: STORM, FirstRate5

Medium developments

Residential:

  • 2-9 new residential dwellings

Non-Residential:

  • 100m2 to 1000m2 of non-residential, or
  • 100m2 to 1000m2 of alterations and additions

What to submit? A Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) that shows best practice in ESD.

Who can prepare the submission? Yourself or an ESD professional.

Example tools: BESS, STORM, MUSIC, FirstRate5

Large developments

Residential:

  • 10 or more residential dwellings

Non-Residential:

  • 1000m2 or greater of non-residential, or
  • 1000m2 or greater of alterations and additions

What to submit? A Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) that shows best practice in ESD

Who can prepare the submission? An ESD Consultant.

Example tools: BESS, Green Star, STORM, MUSIC, FirstRate5

Step 3

Prepare your submission. Address the 10 key sustainable building categories. Use an online sustainability assessment tool to assist you. We recommend using BESS (Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS).

Step 4

Submit your environmentally sustainable development submission with your planning application. This will not delay your planning application being processed.

Step 5

Wait until we assess your planning application and consider your environmentally sustainable design submission.

Step 6

We will provide you will feedback and discuss referral responses. This means we will send you back some ideas, feedback and practical ways to improve the standard of ESD.

Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) for medium scale development

What is a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA)?

An SDA is a simple sustainability assessment of a proposed building at the planning stage that demonstrates best practice in ESD performance. The assessment will support your planning application by showing how you address the 10 key sustainable building categories.

SDA’s should also be clear and definitive about sustainability commitments and avoid the use of vague language. An example of vague language: Energy efficient light fittings will be used ‘where practical’. An example of clear language: All lighting in dwellings will be energy efficient LED lighting.

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) can be used to undertake a Sustainable Design Assessment. Submit the BESS report with your planning application to satisfy the requirements for an SDA.

You need to make sure all Environmentally Sustainable Development initiatives are clearly demonstrated and annotated on your architectural drawings.

Submitting your SDA

Typically, it should not be necessary to engage a sustainability consultant to prepare an SDA. You should make sure that all ESD initiatives addressed are clearly demonstrated and annotated on your architectural drawings.

Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) for large scale development

What is a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP)?

An SMP is a detailed sustainability assessment of a proposed building at the planning stage that demonstrates best practice in ESD performance. The assessment will support your planning application by showing how you address the 10 key sustainable building categories.

The nature of larger developments provides the opportunity for increased environmental benefits and major resource savings. Hence, greater rigour in investigation is justified.

A BESS report alone will not meet Council’s requirements for a Sustainability Management Plan.

Submitting your SMP

Preparation of an SMP will generally require the engagement of a sustainability consultant. A SMP should be submitted as a separate report with your planning application. You should make sure that all ESD initiatives addressed are clearly demonstrated and annotated on your architectural drawings.

Tools to help with assessments

Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS)

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is an online sustainability assessment tool purpose-built for the planning application stage. It can assess single dwellings, multi-dwellings, non-residential and mixed-use developments of any size.

The information required to complete a BESS assessment is simple for small developments and increases in complexity for larger developments.

A published BESS assessment will demonstrate how your project meets a best practice standard in ESD. A BESS report would typically be an attachment to the SDA or SMP and support the design elements shown on the plans and the various statements.

BESS can be used by anyone applying for a Glen Eira planning permit. If you regularly prepare complex assessments it is recommended that you complete a BESS training course.

If you are ready to commence, you can register at www.bess.net.au

STORM

STORM is a free, online calculator for testing whether a site achieves best practice water quality objectives. STORM is managed by Melbourne Water.

MUSIC

MUSIC is a detailed stormwater modelling software that is available for purchase from eWater.

Green Star

Green Star is a green building certification system administered by the Green Building Council of Australia. The Green Star Design and As Built rating tool is suitable for use by large developments, although particular care should be taken that all ESD commitments contained in an SMP can be clearly demonstrated at planning stage. Reliance on operational commitments to gain a Green Star benchmarked rating will not be accepted at planning stage.

FirstRate5

FirstRate5 is the software most commonly used in Victoria to demonstrate compliance with the National Construction Code of Australia energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings. It uses the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) protocol.

FirstRate5 assesses the energy performance of a residential building’s envelope only. Meeting NCC energy efficiency standards through a 6-Star FirstRate energy rating does not reflect best practice standard.

An energy rating will have to be completed for most new dwellings and some extensions at the building permit stage at the latest. A building’s orientation, glazing proportions and construction materials largely impact the rating, we strongly recommend conducting a preliminary assessment before lodging your drawings for a planning permit. You might have to apply for an amendment to your planning permit if a later energy rating shows that you have to amend the building design to meet minimum NCC standards. Many designers now use energy rating tools as design tools rather than as compliance tools.

More information on ESD Tools can be found on our ESD Tools Fact Sheet.

Sustainable Design Standards

Glen Eira City Council, as a member of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE), has identified 10 key sustainable building categories to be addressed.

If you are planning a medium or large development, you are recommended to demonstrate best practice in each sustainable building category within your design.

Council has provided Sustainable Design Fact Sheets for each category to guide design strategies and best practice standards.

The categories are: