Sustainable buildings –

The New South Wales government is committed to developing sustainable and resilient homes and buildings. We are introducing a new policy to support these goals and bring NSW closer to net zero emissions.

The new State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 encourages the design and delivery of more sustainable buildings throughout New South Wales. It sets sustainability standards for residential and non-residential development and initiates the process of measuring and reporting on embodied emissions from building materials.

The objective of this new SEPP is to:

  • minimize energy and drinking water consumption
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to energy consumption
  • monitor embodied emissions from building materials
  • deliver comfortable buildings in summer and winter alike.

Create sustainable and comfortable places to live and work

SEPP Sustainable Buildings is making changes that will ensure that the buildings we live and work in are more comfortable places. With the introduction of thermal performance measures, our buildings will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It will also make our homes and offices cheaper to operate.

These changes also have great benefits for our planet. This policy will result in approximately 2.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided over the next 10 years. This is equivalent to planting more than 8 million trees or operating 54 wind turbines for 10 years.

It also helps deliver on the NSW Net Zero Plan: Stage 1 and the national Trajectory for low-energy buildings.

BASIX standards

Updating BASIX standards will improve home performance. We have made key changes to existing sustainability standards for new residential buildings:

  • an increase in the thermal performance standard from an average of 5.5-6 stars to 7 stars.
  • a 7-11% increase in greenhouse gas reduction (this standard varies by location and type of proposed residential development).

BASIX standards are consistent and complementary to those of the project National Building Code 2022. We are also updating the online BASIX tool and introducing a material index to measure the intrinsic emissions of building materials.

Introduction of new provisions for non-residential development

Provisions relating to the sustainability of non-residential development are new and include:

  • measurement and reporting of embodied emissions for all developments
  • energy standards for large commercial developments with energy performance to be verified after building occupancy and purchased offsets for residual emissions.
  • minimum water standards for large commercial developments
  • some developments to be “all-electric” or capable of converting to run without fossil fuels by 2035.

What happens next?

Amendments to SEPP and the Green Building Regulations will begin on October 1, 2023 to give industry and assessors time to prepare.

Savings and transitional provisions have been included so that SEPP does not apply to development requests or change requests that have already been submitted, but not yet determined at the start date.

Development standards within SEPP will be reviewed in 2025 and then again every three years.

More information

Learn more about the policy by following the links or downloading the documents below.

Last page update: 08/29/2022

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