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HG News: Green Property Scene - March 2011

Welcome to Green Property Scene!

Associates Tammy Berghofer and Angie Coleman and Solicitor Alison Wilckens will be presenting a breakfast seminar on green leasing on Wednesday 11 May 2011 at our offices at Waterfront Place, Brisbane. Watch this space for more information and registration details.

Renewable energy projects article series

With the Federal Government's announcement that a fixed price on carbon will be in place from 1 July 2012, and that an emissions trading scheme will follow within three to five years, activity in the renewable energy sector is expected to receive an arguably much-needed boost.

Our Green Property team is developing a series of articles discussing topical property issues for landowners, developers and consultants who are considering undertaking or being involved in renewable energy projects in Queensland. The first article in the series discusses the stages of wind farm development and the legal issues for landowners to consider before signing any agreement with a wind farm developer. The article is available on our website.

EnviroDevelopment National Standards to be launched

The Urban Development Institute of Australia will launch its new EnviroDevelopment National Technical Standards at the UDIA National Congress on 29 March 2011.

The original EnviroDevelopment program was launched in Queensland in 2006, but individual standards were implemented in various States over the last few years as demand for EnviroDevelopment accreditation around Australia increased. The new National Standards have been developed to ensure consistency between States. All EnviroDevelopment applications will now be assessed under the National Standards, rather than the previous State-based standards.

You will find the following differences in the National Standards from the State-based standards:

  • Definitions of commonly used terms have been introduced.
  • Development categories (industrial, commercial and residential) have been allocated, as some criteria are more relevant to some developments than others.
  • The bar has been raised for performance criteria to ensure that EnviroDevelopment projects remain at the forefront of the sustainable development industry and promote innovation.

If you have any questions about EnviroDevelopment or the National Standards, please contact Associate Tammy Berghofer, who is a member of the EnviroDevelopment Technical Standards Taskforce.

Green investments show returns

At the Green Building Council of Australia's recent Green Cities conference, Dr Anthony De Francesco of IPD Australia launched the new Green Property Investment Index. The Index reveals the following insights:

  • Return on investment is higher for green-rated buildings than for non-rated buildings.
  • A NABERS Energy base building rating of 4 star or higher shows much higher returns than a building with a rating of 3.5 stars or below.
  • A building with a Green Star 'office design' or 'office as built' rating outperforms non-rated buildings.
  • The spread between rated and non-rated buildings is around 400 basis points.

These findings are great news for developers and owners who invest in obtaining green ratings for their buildings.

Round 7 of the Green Building Fund: Applications close soon

The Commonwealth Government has recently announced Round 7 of the Green Building Fund grant. If you wish to apply for the grant, you must do so soon, as applications must be received by the relevant government department by 5.00pm on 29 March 2011.

The Green Building Fund was established in 2008 to encourage property owners and developers to retro-fit or re-commission existing commercial office buildings, and has since expanded to encourage retro-fitting and retro-commissioning of certain shopping centres and existing hotels.

Government grants of between $50,000 and $500,000 are available for up to half the cost of retro-fitting and/or retro-commissioning a commercial office building, hotel or shopping centre.

For more information about the eligibility requirements of the Fund, please visit the Government's website or contact us.

If you were affected by the recent natural disasters but still wish to apply for a grant, you can contact the Green Building Fund Team on 03 9268 7555 to discuss an extension to the application closing date.