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A new front in the campaign to meet zero emissions targets by 2050 is poised to open with the proposed rollout of mandatory reporting.
The new regime, if adopted by the federal government, would require investors, occupiers and building managers to report emissions in their annual reports, potentially starting in the 2024-25 financial year with the biggest companies and largest emitters.
The 60,000-square-metre tower at 435 Bourke Street in Melbourne will include landscaped open-air or mixed-mode terraces.Credit:
Organisations with more than 500 employees and/or $1 billion in consolidated gross assets, and more than $500 million in revenue, would be the first to report, with smaller companies following in 2027 and 2028.
Knight Frank head of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) Jenine Cranston said many organisations have been doing voluntary reporting for some time, but “it has largely been storytelling around what they have been doing for the environment”.
“Large businesses would need a report with audit-ready data to show what their emissions are, which would be transformational for commercial property,” Cranston said.
Cranston said calculations would include which emissions they control in the operation of buildings, and which emissions come from suppliers.
A raft of newer buildings, including Mirvac’s 200 George Street tower and Lendlease’s Salesforce tower in Sydney, and the Victoria Place building in East Melbourne, are at the forefront of ESG measures, but Cbus Property, Brookfield-owned Multiplex and architect Bates Smart are going even further with their new 48-storey, $1 billion tower at 435 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
It is not just the solar-skin facade wrapping around the tower and generating its own energy – one of the first in the world – that will earn its green credentials.
Multiplex is also aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of the entire construction process, cutting embodied carbon emissions by at least 30 per cent by using 100 per cent recycled vegetable oil and a specially developed concrete with 40 per cent less cement.
An artist’s impression of 435 Bourke.Credit:
Ross Snowball, Multiplex’s regional managing director, said attracting workers back to the office post-COVID would require coming up with “state-of-the-art buildings that appeal to people”.
Multiplex is also digging deep and spending more time on planning, to help cut the cost of rolling out new technologies.
Cbus and Multiplex are aiming for a 5.5 star NABERS Energy rating and 6 Star Green Star Buildings rating for 435 Bourke.
So far, the Commonwealth Bank has signed up for a quarter of the 60,000 square metre space, moving staff from offices in nearby 385 Bourke and Docklands. Negotiations are under way with other new tenants in a move that would draw more office workers back into the centre of the CBD, and new restaurants in the ground floor retail spaces.
The site, on the corner of Queen and Bourke streets, will also open up onto McKillop Street – one of Melbourne’s historic laneways that has become a hospitality hotspot.
Cbus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo said the building “will be one of a kind.”
‘While there are a multitude of reasons that tenants prefer prime-grade office space over secondary grades, a major drawcard is the ability to reduce their emissions through office occupancy.’
In a bid to prepare landlords and tenants for the new zero emissions environment, the Real Estate Institute of Australia launched its first Commercial Real Estate Sustainability Report, to help tenants and investors prepare for the new regimen.
REIA president Hayden Groves said sustainability measures would be a key driver of office space choices in the future.
“While there are a multitude of reasons that tenants prefer prime-grade office space over secondary grades. One of the major drawcards of better-quality space is the ability to reduce their emissions through their office occupancy,” Groves said.
“As environmental awareness, sustainability practices and the regulatory environment demands it, it is anticipated these considerations will continue to gain traction,” he said.
Knight Frank is also at the forefront of the new regime, launching a new ESG data management and reporting solution called Prism, which will allow users to calculate large volumes of data through artificial intelligence.
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