Our built environment and communities face significant environmental challenges, with the construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings across Australia comprising approximately one quarter of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
To help overcome these challenges, our industry must continue to implement sustainable rating and assessment systems that mitigate the impacts of the built environment through measuring, encouraging, and recognising sustainable development practices.
One such solution is the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) EnviroDevelopment rating system, which independently reviews and certifies property developments with outstanding sustainability performance, to help ensure that the best environmental solutions are implemented today, to create a better tomorrow.
What is EnviroDevelopment?
The UDIA’s EnviroDevelopment certification is a scientifically-based assessment scheme that provides an independent review of developments to award certification to those that achieve outstanding performance across four or more key elements – Ecosystems, Waste, Energy, Materials, Water and Community. These key elements are represented as ‘leaves’:
- Ecosystems – Protected and enhanced health and sustainability of natural systems and the encouragement of native biodiversity and rehabilitation of degraded sites.
- Waste – Comprehensive waste management procedures and practices to reduce the amount of waste to landfill.
- Energy – Reduced production of greenhouse gases and reduced use of fossil fuels. This is achieved through greater efficiencies in energy usage and use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources such as solar power.
- Materials – Environmentally responsible material usage including reuse of materials, recycled materials and consideration of the life cycle environmental costs of materials.
- Water – Improved water use through water efficiency mechanisms and / or source substitution such as rainwater and stormwater harvesting.
- Community – Vibrant, cohesive, sustainable communities with good community design; the provision of community facilities and networks; safe, accessible housing and options for the reduced use of private motor vehicles.
EnviroDevelopment aims to make it easier for purchasers to recognise and choose more environmentally sustainable developments and lifestyles, with each ‘leaf’ demonstrating where the development has exceeded the requirements of the program.
There are a wide range of developments that can be certified under the EnviroDevelopment system, including masterplanned communities, residential subdivisions, seniors living, multi-unit residential, mixed use, industrial, retail, education, health and aged care, and commercial developments.
What are the steps involved in certifying your project?
There is a rigorous application and assessment process required for all projects that are certified under the EnviroDevelopment assessment process, to ensure that each development certified is truly sustainable.
The Technical Standards guiding the assessment process have been carefully developed and are refined on a regular basis by an expert panel comprised of ecologists, engineers, town planners, architects, lawyers, and economists. The assessment process ensures that each individual project’s journey throughout the certification process is smooth, efficient, and connected.
What are the benefits of EnviroDevelopment certification?
Aside from the significant environmental benefits, achieving an EnviroDevelopment certification has an array of benefits for home buyers, government and environmental groups, and property developers.
For home buyers and occupiers, an EnviroDevelopment home helps to lower operating costs and provides eligibility for rebates and incentives, as well as ensuring homes, workplaces, and communities are healthier by helping to reduce ecological footprints.
For all levels of government and environmental groups, the EnviroDevelopment system helps to create a more attractive, livable, and sustainable state and region, alongside using resources more efficiently to help facilitate and support a growing population.
For participating developers, an EnviroDevelopment accreditation helps to quantify and communicate their commitment to sustainability by helping to create more sustainable and enhanced developments, alongside the marketing benefits associated with EnviroDevelopment certification.
How can Barker Ryan Stewart assist?
Barker Ryan Stewart is a corporate member and proud supporter of the EnviroDevelopment Professional program, with three in-house EnviroDevelopment Professionals who have undertaken the UDIA’s EnviroDevelopment course.
With our expertise in the certification and compliance process, combined with our strong professional links with the UDIA assessment team, we work with the project team and UDIA to ensure all sustainability credits are accounted for in the assessment of gaining EnviroDevelopment certification.
We have recently achieved just that for a proposed commercial building being developed by a NSW Council – stay tuned for an update on this landmark project!
If you have any queries about how we can assist with your EnviroDevelopment certification, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.