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Sustainable Buildings SEPP

The NSW Government is committed to developing sustainable and resilient homes and buildings and bringing NSW closer to net zero emissions.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 encourages the design and delivery of more sustainable buildings across NSW. It sets sustainability standards for residential and non-residential development and starts the process of measuring and reporting on the embodied emissions of construction materials.

The SEPP will:

  • minimise the consumption of energy and potable water
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy use
  • monitor the embodied emissions of building materials
  • deliver buildings that are comfortable in summer and winter.

Creating sustainable and comfortable buildings

The Sustainable Buildings SEPP will ensure the buildings we live and work in are more comfortable places. Thermal performance measures ensure our buildings will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This will also make our homes and offices cheaper to run.

The policy will result in around 2.6 million tonnes of avoided greenhouse gas emissions over the 10 years to 2032. This is equivalent to planting over 8 million trees or running 54 wind turbines for 10 years.

The SEPP also helps to deliver on the NSW Net Zero Plan: Stage 1 and the national Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings.

BASIX standards

Increasing the BASIX standards will improve the performance of homes. We have made key changes to existing sustainability standards for new residential buildings by:

  • increasing the thermal performance standard from an average of 5.5–6 stars to 7 stars NatHERS rating
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by between 7% and 11% (depending on location and type of residential development proposed).

The BASIX standards are consistent and complementary to those in the proposed National Construction Code 2022. We are also updating the BASIX online tool and introducing a materials index to measure embodied emissions of construction materials.

New provisions for non-residential development

The sustainability provisions for non-residential development are new and include:

  • embodied emission measurement and reporting for all developments
  • energy standards for large commercial development with energy performance to be verified after the building is occupied and offsets purchased for residual emissions
  • minimum water standards for large commercial development
  • certain developments to be ‘all electric’ or capable of converting to operate without fossil fuels by 2035.

What happens next?

The Sustainable Buildings SEPP and Regulation amendments will commence on 1 October 2023 to give the industry and assessors time to prepare.

We have included transitional provisions so that the SEPP will not apply to development applications or modification applications that have already been submitted but won’t be determined by the commencement date.

The development standards within the SEPP will be reviewed in 2025 and then again, every 3 years.

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