Planning leadership


It is important to be able to demonstrate that incorporating clean energy into projects is achievable and there is a sound business case for doing so. The following case studies have been developed to demonstrate a broad cross-section of opportunities for the planning sector to help deliver a clean energy future.

Case studies

The Ecovillage at Currumbin

The Ecovillage at Currumbin is located on a semi-rural site on the Gold Coast, Queensland. The project comprises 144 homes and a village centre including community facilities, home offices and retail space, on 110 hectares of land. 50% of the site has been retained as environmental reserve, with a further 30% dedicated to open space.

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Vauban, Germany

Situated in the university city of Freiburg, Germany, the suburb of Vauban is a showcase of sustainable urban renewal. Built on a 38 hectare brownfield site, previously a military barracks, the precinct now contains over 2,000 dwellings and a mixture of land uses supporting around 5,000 residents and 600 workers.

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Cape Paterson Ecovillage

Located immediately to the west of the existing Cape Paterson township, with strong pedestrian and cycling links to the town, the project will see the development of approximately 190 new homes, a community garden, conference facility and barefoot bowls club. A significant biodiversity restoration and maintenance project will be undertaken on the remainder of the site, covering around a third of total land.

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Lochiel Park

Lochiel Park is a ‘green village’ residential development in Adelaide, South Australia. The master planned community has been built on a former TAFE college and Metropolitan Fire Service training centre approximately eight kilometres north east of the CBD on the River Torrens.

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Melbourne Planning Scheme Amendment

The City of Melbourne has developed a local planning policy which seeks to increase environmental performance of buildings and precincts developed in the municipality. This policy is currently being considered for incorporation into the planning scheme.

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City of Sydney Decentralised Energy Master Plan

The focus of the Master Plan is to facilitate the uptake of trigeneration, a technology that enables local production of electricity at high efficiency, while capturing and utilising the waste heat generated by this process for heating, hot water or cooling (via absorption chilling).

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Case study overview by mechanism, outcome and scale

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Case study summary and links




The NSW Department of Planning developed BASIX, the Building Sustainability Index, to assess the environmental impact of residential buildings. This state-funded web-based tool currently assesses energy, water and thermal comfort.
It is a good example of a policy initiative that has delivered widespread improvements to energy efficiency through a regulatory approach.


The STEPS tool was developed by Moreland City Council to assess the environmental impact of residential dwellings and to promote early integration of sustainable design initiatives. The web-based tool is available for the public to use and assesses the areas of energy, peak demand, water, stormwater and materials on a scale of percentage improvement above the average residential development.

Sustainable Buildings Guide

The Sustainable Buildings Guide was developed to encourage and to explain to local government in Victoria, why and how to introduce practices to improve the sustainability of buildings constructed within their municipalities.

Hepburn Wind

The Hepburn Wind Farm is located at Leonards Hill, 10km south of Daylesford, Victoria, and is Australia's first community-owned wind farm. It consists of two 2 megawatt wind turbines producing enough electricity for 2,300 homes, almost the number of households in the nearby towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. The project was initiated in 2005 by the Hepburn Renewable Energy Association (now Sustainable Hepburn Association – Renewing the Earth or SHARE) and Future Energy Pty Ltd. SHARE had a desire to establish a community owned wind farm that would help match the electricity needs of the Hepburn Shire.


Subi Centro, recognised as one of Australia’s best urban renewal projects, is transforming former industrial land in inner suburban Perth into a vibrant and sustainable mix of townhouses, apartments, parkland, commercial and retail space.  The 80 hectare site comprises1500 dwellings, with 10-15% dedicated to social or affordable housing. Subi Centro is a transit oriented development, with an emphasis on a balanced transport network that provides connectivity, amenity and integration.  To achieve this, the development provides well-lit walking and cycling links, streets designed to encourage low speed traffic and open civic spaces. Design guidelines for residential developments encourage energy and resource efficiency.

The Merton Rule

The 'Merton Rule' is an innovative planning policy, developed by Merton Council, which requires the use of renewable energy onsite to reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the built environment.
Merton developed the rule and adopted it in 2003, and its success has resulted in the Mayor of London and many other councils implementing similar policies; it has also become part of national planning guidance.

Milton Keynes

This development sought to replace grid energy with highly efficient gas fired cogeneration, providing electricity and heat via new network.  The development framework (similar to structure plan) highlighted the network as a key opportunity. Any new development required to demonstrate consideration of joining the network and if the value proposition for end users is shown to be sound, required to connect. Currently 6 MW combined heat and power plant and network to 1,200 homes and businesses.

The Portland Streetcar

The Streetcar was introduced to enhance Portland’s vitality while helping the city accommodate new residential and business growth (Portland Streetcar Inc, 2008). It also contributed to the State of Oregon's state wide strategy aimed to reduce total vehicle miles travelled. The financial benefits of the streetcar have been demonstrated in property values, occupancy and rental rates for properties within two blocks of the streetcar. The major benefits for occupants of these premises is greater volumes of passing consumers and less "dead" net letable area devoted to car parking. The product is public transport and the major innovation for the Portland project was the selling of the long-term value of public transport to land owners who would be levied to provide a proportion of the capital cost for the project.

One Brighton (UK)

One Brighton is a 170 apartment development in central Brighton, UK which has been designed and built in strict compliance with the 10 One Planet Living principles. The mixed-use development was constructed on former industrial land and achieves best-practice ESD outcomes within a traditional cost envelope. One of the aims of One Brighton was to demonstrate that sustainable urban development can be achieved in an affordable manner, and can compete in the mainstream housing and commercial building market. The dispensation of standard car parking rates by local government planners was critical to the successful delivery of this project. That form of discretion has the potential to increase the number of sustainable projects delivered considerably. 


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