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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As a member of the Council Alliance for Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE), we are passionate about supporting applicants to develop sustainable buildings.

Here at Council we encourage applicants to consider Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) within their planning applications. Our city futures team are in the process of incorporating an ESD policy into the Glen Eira Planning Scheme as part of an amendment.

This is scheduled to take place in 2021.

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.

The SDAPP framework refers to the inclusion of ten key environmental performance considerations into the planning assessment process. This achieves a more sustainable building outcomes for the long-term benefit of the wider community. 

All applicants are encouraged to consider these within their design.

Check out the fact sheets for each category below;

This can be demonstrated by the submission of a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) or a Sustainable Management Plan (SMP) along with your planning application.

These are sustainability assessments of a proposed design at the planning stage. 

The assessment will support your planning application by showing how you intend to address the ten key sustainable building categories.


The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is the recommended sustainability assessment tool under the SDAPP framework. As a planning permit applicant, you can use this free online tool to assess and improve the environmental performance of your development. BESS can assess single houses, townhouse developments, apartment buildings, large non-residential or mixed-use developments.

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

What information do I need to complete the assessment?

Once logged in to BESS, you will need the following information about your project:

  • Town planning drawings, elevations, section drawings, materials palette
  • Knowledge of the major construction materials
  • Thermal performance modelling (e.g. FirstRate)
  • Understanding of the building context (built form surrounding the site)
  • Anticipated minimum energy efficiency rating of major appliances for heating, cooling and hot water (energy labelling)
  • Anticipated minimum water efficiency rating of taps, toilets and fittings (WELS ratings)
  • On-site renewable energy devices and rainwater tank details (if applicable)
  • A Stormwater Treatment Objective - Relative Measure (STORM) or a Model for Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC) rating.