NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Sustainable Buildings SEPP

The NSW Government is committed to the development of sustainable and resilient homes and buildings. We are introducing a new policy to support these goals and bring NSW closer to net zero emissions.

The new 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 purpose of this new SEPP is to:

  • 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 places to live and work

The Sustainable Buildings SEPP brings changes that will ensure the buildings we live and work in are more comfortable places to be. 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.

These changes have great benefit for our planet as well. The policy will result in around 2.6 million tonnes of avoided greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years. This is equivalent to planting over 8 million trees or running 54 wind turbines for 10 years.

It 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:

  • an increase of the thermal performance standard from an average of 5.5-6 stars to 7 stars NatHERS rating
  • an increase of between 7-11% in greenhouse gas reduction (this standard varies 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.

Introducing 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 industry, assessors and other stakeholders time to prepare for the requirements.

Savings and transitional provisions included in the SEPP mean the requirements commencing on 1 October 2023 will not apply to development applications or modification applications that have already been submitted, but not yet determined before that date.

The development standards within the SEPP will be reviewed every three years, starting from 2025.


More information

Find out more about the policy by following the links or downloading the documents below.

Page last updated: 02/03/2023