New Waverley Council climate report shows how to keep our dwellings cool

07 July 2021 | News

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, is calling on the state and federal governments to act on the results of new award-winning research, which demonstrates simple ways residential developments in Sydney’s east can cope with increasing local temperatures caused by climate change.

Adaptations to Residential Building Design, the second report from Waverley Council's Future Proofing Residential Development to Climate Change Project,  found heating and cooling of buildings can be improved for Waverley residents through existing methods such as building materials, window glazing and improved shading.

The report responds to the alarming findings from Council’s initial project report which showed that as the number of warm days increase, cooling needs for houses and apartments may surge by over 300% by 2070.

The Project won the Planning Disruptor Award at last week's Greater Sydney Planning Awards.*

“The Adaptations to Residential Building Design report, authored by WSP finds that solutions already exist to enhance the resilience of our buildings, and ensure dwellings are comfortable and safer for residents,” Mayor Masselos said. “Council needs to know that the buildings we approve in our area will be safe in a hotter climate in the future,” Mayor Masselos said.

“We want to avoid dwellings that require high levels of air conditioning, are expensive to run and pose health risks during a blackout.

In 2019, Waverley Council declared a state of climate and biodiversity emergency acknowledging that urgent collaborative action at all levels of government is necessary to protect our environment and community for future generations.

The Council is also reassessing its 2050 carbon emission targets and is expected to declare that it aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“Achieving net zero carbon emissions is a matter of urgency so that the planet can keep global temperatures below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels as per the Paris Agreement on climate change,” Mayor Masselos said.

“It is estimated that 500,000 houses and apartments will be built over the next three years across Australia and these dwellings must be built to cope with the projected warmer temperatures affecting the approximately 1.3 million people who will live in them.

“All governments have a responsibility to accelerate efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the public, private and commercial sectors and adapt building regulations to prepare for future climate conditions.”

“Therefore, we would also like to see State and Federal governments use future climate data to update planning instruments as soon as possible.”

The Future Proofing Development to Climate Change Project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government and supported by Local Government NSW, and Randwick and Woollahra Councils.


*Greater Sydney Planning Awards - Planning Disruptor WINNER: Future Proofing Residential Development to Climate Change - Waverley Council In partnership with DPIE, three Sydney Local Councils, the Commonwealth Department of Industry, CSIRO and WSP Consulting tackled the impacts of climate change on residential housing in Sydney’s Eastern beaches. Through research it shows that building controls based on historical climate records are undermining the resilience of residential development and threatening the safety of communities. Testing of recently completed compliant dwellings failed regulated thermal comfort requirements for cooling by 2030, with more extreme failure resulting in subsequent decades. The overarching recommendation is to design for a hotter climate right now using future climate data files to update planning instruments.