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HG News: Green Property Scene - 4 May 2010

Welcome to Green Property Scene!

Welcome to the second issue of the Green Property Scene.

There are a number of sustainability-related seminars coming up which may be of interest to you. The Urban Development Institute of Australia is holding a breakfast seminar on the legalities of sustainability on 7 May 2010. Please see their website.

HopgoodGanim is also hosting a number of seminars on sustainability over the next few months. At our seminar Climate resilient development - adapting to uncertainty, HopgoodGanim partner David Nicholls will discuss the legal instruments and principles applicable to developments on floodplains, including ESD principles. Guest speaker Norrie Sanders will present a detailed analysis of climate change impacts on Queensland coastal catchment areas, while examining the idea of using knowledge of design, urban form, coastal protection and infrastructure risks to create climate resilient development.

We also have two sustainability seminars coming up as part of our Back to Basics seminar series: Green Star v Nabers Rating (21 July 2010) and Sustainability for a Body Corporate (1 September 2010). Please contact Philipa Kehoe to register your interest in these seminars.

We’re always happy to answer any queries about our articles, and are interested in knowing what information you’d like to see in future issues of the Green Property Scene.

Wind farms: did you know?

  1. There are 52 operating wind farms in Australia.
  2. A good wind site is a site where the average wind speed is greater than eight metres per second at ground level (www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au).
  3. The Queensland Government has released the Queensland Wind Map, which outlines wind speeds in metres per second at 10 metres above ground level and 70 metres above ground level - the approximate height of a turbine. The map is  available in the Queensland Government’s Interactive Resource and Tenure Maps system.
  4. The majority of Australia’s wind energy comes from South Australia, which contributes a massive 45 percent of wind energy.
  5. It is estimated that wind energy saved 4,284,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2009, which is equivalent to removing 952,000 cars from our roads (www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au).
  6. Australia’s biggest wind farm (and one of the world’s biggest) will be at Silverton, near Broken Hill in New South Wales. It is expected to produce enough electricity to power over 430,000 homes.
  7. The United States produces most of the world’s wind power, totalling 35,159MW in 2009. Australia can learn valuable lessons from a mature wind farm market where mistakes have been made and techniques refined in the prospecting, validating and micrositing processes.
  8. HopgoodGanim Lawyers can advise wind farm developers and land owners about wind farm feasibility agreements and leases. If you have any questions, please contact us.

National Building Energy Standard-Setting, Assessment and Rating Framework submission deadline approaches

In March this year, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency released a public discussion paper for the National Building Energy Standard- Setting, Assessment and Rating Framework, available to download from their website. With the shelving of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the Framework remains key in helping Australia meet its climate change goals. The proposed Framework will initially only relate to some office buildings, but may eventually extend to multiple classes of buildings, potentially including residences and all offices areas.

The Department is calling for comments on the discussion paper. While submissions on the framework close on Friday 7 May 2010, it has been indicated that, given the short timeframe, late submissions may be considered if the submitting party contacts the Department in advance and makes arrangements.

Discussions at recent public forums have focused on the fact that the Framework is still very much in the planning stage, and that the Department is still examining options and considerations. Therefore, it is an excellent stage at which to raise concerns you may have about the operation of the Framework and the effect it may have on your industry.

HopgoodGanim is offering to review submissions, free of charge, before you lodge them with the Department. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please forward your submissions to one of our Climate Change team members.

For more information on the scheme, please see our recent alert.

New Green Star recycled steel credit tool introduced

The Green Building Council of Australia has introduced a new Green Star steel credit, which encourages the use of recycled steel in structural applications. Applicants will be able to claim two points towards their project’s Green Star rating if at least 95 percent of structural steel and reinforcing steel used in the building is sourced from steel making facilities that meet best practice guidelines and that are members of the World Steel Association’s Climate Action Programme.

The Council has confirmed that all Green Star projects that were registered before 29 April 2010 have the option to use either the old or the new Green Star Steel credit. Any projects registering after 29 April 2010 must use the new Green Star Steel credit.