In a welcome move, Planning Minister Andrew Barr has launched a discussion paper on ways to improve the energy efficiency of housing.
During the submission processes for the new Territory Plan, Gungahlin Community Council made numerous representations and suggestions about ways to improve this area of planning – see our submission to the draft plan.
Among other ideas, a key GCC idea was to require a declaration of star ratings on the vacant blocks (as opposed to the houses subsequently built on them) as a market mechanism to “encourage” developers to take more care in designing street layouts. With better oriented blocks it becomes easy to build good passive solar homes, and save a fortune on heating and cooling bills.
However there was an underlying criterion placed on the planners of keeping the new plan “policy neutral”. So we were told that those sort of improvements would have to wait until after the new plan was gazetted, and then a process to investigate such options could be started. So this appears to be Minister Barr delivering on his commitment.
After a quick squiz through the discussion paper, the subdivision design and market mechanisms section look a bit light on…the rest of it I reserve judgement on until I’ve had a better chance to read it.
So guess it’s time to crank up the submission template again. Submissions close 23 August. If you have a passion about sustainable design, now’s your chance!