Sunday, November 28, 2021

Auckland adopts sustainable asset policy

Auckland Council has voted to adopt a regional Community Facilities – Sustainable Asset Policy in its efforts to reduce operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The regional policy, which was outlined as the first of three phases under the council’s Sustainable Asset Standard (SAS), commits Community Facilities to:

  • Achieve carbon neutrality in operations for new asset development;
  • Achieve a minimum 5-Star Green Star rating (or equivalent certification) on the development of all new assets with a budget over $10 million;
  • Incorporate decarbonisation principles into guideline documents for renewals and new asset development of all community assets.

Chair of Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee, Richard Hills, says the implementation of the policy shows that the council is committed to walking the talk when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The built environment accounts for over 20 per cent of GHG emissions in New Zealand. It includes emissions from the production of construction materials, the energy used for construction, as well as the waste generated during construction,” Cr Hills said.

“For Auckland Council, emissions from the built environment are over 50 per cent of all our operational emissions.

“In Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan, we committed to halving the council’s operational emissions by 2030. To do this, we need to reduce our built emissions by over 65 per cent – the adoption of the Community Facilities – Sustainable Asset Policy is the first step in us achieving that goal.”

Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff says the Sustainable Asset Policy is one of a range of actions needed to ensure Auckland meets its climate obligations and delivers for future generations.

“Climate action is not a luxury or a nice to have – it’s a necessity to ensure we leave a positive legacy for our children and grandchildren,” he says.

“This policy is a step in the right direction and is part of a suite of actions we are taking to address the challenge of climate change.

“There is much more work to be done and I will be outlining proposals around that as part of my Mayoral Proposal for the Annual Budget in December.”

Prior to being endorsed as a regional policy, the Sustainable Asset Policy (SAP) was an internal, operational policy within Community Facilities that local boards could choose to adhere to when developing community assets.

With the adoption of the SAP as a regional policy, local boards will now be required to implement the policy when investing in Community Assets, ensuring sustainability is a key factor in the decision making from the start.

By incorporating sustainability requirements from the outset, it is less likely changes will be made to the design in the later stages, reducing the risk of additional costs being incurred, Council said in a statement.

“The implementation of Sustainable Asset Policy will minimise operational greenhouse gas emissions and increase the climate resilience of community assets. Research also shows benefits on health, wellbeing and productivity from green rated built environment,” it said.

“The implementation of the Sustainable Asset Policy also aligns with the council’s kaitiaki strategic plan 2030 in relation to Culture & Identity and Natural Environment, as well as Kia ora Tamaki Makaurau.”

The Sustainable Asset Standard has been developed by Community Facilities to address climate change through the built environment through sustainable design, construction, operation and fit-out. It consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1 (FY22) – adoption of a Sustainable Asset Policy (SAP) by the Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECC) as a regional policy.
  • Phase 2 (FY22-24) – A site-specific decarbonisation plan for the top 30 highest-emitting community facilities.
  • Phase 3 (FY24) – Change management to support Community Facilities staff, contractors and suppliers to embed the Sustainable Asset Policy into Community Facilities’ whole of life asset management cycle.

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