MEDIUM to high density developments in Bendigo with at least three dwellings will need to adhere to a new environmentally sustainable design policy, including seven-star energy ratings.
The City of Greater Bendigo will become the first regional Victorian council to have the policy added to its planning scheme, requiring developments to include reduction in energy demand at peak periods through their design.
It will also require the use of low-toxicity chemicals, reduce reliance on mechanical heating and cooling, minimise noise transfer, reduce stormwater run-off and maximise the use of walking, cycling and public transport.
The environmentally sustainable design policy was approved by the planning minister for Bendigo and six metropolitan Melbourne councils. It also applies to commercial and industrial developments.
City of Greater Bendigo director strategy and growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the policy was designed to target larger-scale developments, rather than individual houses.
“By targeting developments of three or more dwellings, the amendment will ensure the biggest impact without affecting smaller, ‘mum and dad developers’,” he said.
“In line with council’s commitment to One Planet principles, we have been doing a lot of work to require and encourage better choices in design and construction of new buildings and infrastructure.
“There is a lot more to be done in this space, but the approval of this amendment is a very positive step forward and will ensure a higher standard of design is incorporated to all new medium-large scale developments in Greater Bendigo.”
Developers have been eased into the new policy framework, with voluntary assessments carried out over 15 months to aid in incorporating environmentally sustainable design elements.
Each application must be accompanied by a sustainable design assessment or sustainability management plan.
Houses with a 10-star energy rating do not require the use of artificial heating or cooling. A six-star rating indicates a “good, but not outstanding” thermal performance.
Houses built before 1990 average a one-star rating, meaning they contain almost no design elements to naturally handle hot or cold weather, and do not use stormwater runoff.
In 2003, fewer than one per cent of houses achieved a six-star rating.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.