A report from an ESD assessment tool should be appended to your main ESD report. These tools provide an assessment of your proposal against an established rating system.
Some ESD assessment tools assess a broad range of ESD categories, while others focus only on a single component of ESD, such as stormwater quality or energy efficiency.
Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS)
Use the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS), or alternative assessment approach, to demonstrate how your proposed development will incorporate environmentally sustainable design. BESS can also be used on existing buildings to help you identify how to improve sustainability performance.
BESS is a free online tool that is purpose-built for the planning permit stage and can be used for any type and size of development, including mixed use. Where BESS is used, a pass in BESS is required, as a minimum. A BESS score of 50 per cent indicates a 'Pass', while a score of 70 per cent or greater indicates 'Excellence'.
There are four mandatory categories which must be passed: energy, water, stormwater, indoor environmental quality. Additional score points can be gained from other categories including: waste, transport, urban ecology, management.
To use the BESS tool, register on the BESS website, create a new project and then add the details of your project under the various sustainability categories. Once you have completed your assessment click on ‘View report’. Follow the instructions on the summary page and once your report is complete select ‘Finalise Application’. Submit a fully published copy of the BESS report with your planning permit application.
Green Star is the Green Building Council of Australia’s certification system. Their Design and As Built rating tool assesses a broad range of ESD categories and is suitable for assessing large-scale developments. Reliance on operational commitments to gain a Green Star benchmarked rating will not be accepted at planning stage.
Please note: Green Star equivalency has been denounced by GBCA, so the Council do not accept Green Star equivalency. If the applicant does not intend to formally register the project with the GBCA and complete the Design Review as part of the planning permit process, the project should use the BESS tool to demonstrate compliance with Council’s ESD Policy
The STORM Calculator is a user friendly, free online tool developed by Melbourne Water. It is designed to be suitable for applicants without any formal training designing stormwater treatment systems.
STORM assesses stormwater quality outcomes for small to medium-scale developments, as part of an ESD assessment. The STORM Calculator inputs include the total development area and all impervious areas (including impervious areas where no treatment will be provided for stormwater runoff). The calculator enables users to select from a range of WSUD treatment types.
An overall STORM score of at least 100 per cent is required to demonstrate that best practice stormwater management has been achieved.
The Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC) is a modelling tool that uses historic rainfall data to estimate catchment runoff and predict the performance of WSUD infrastructure. It enables a significantly higher degree of modelling complexity and flexibility compared to the STORM calculator.
The MUSIC model should only be used by those with appropriate expertise. MUSIC models used to prepare WSUD responses for the City of Maroondah must be developed in accordance with Melbourne Water MUSIC Guidelines.
MUSIC users must have a software licence and a minimum level of training and competency to develop a MUSIC model. MUSIC training is provided by eWater. MUSIC is generally the most suitable assessment tool for complex medium to large-scale developments (e.g. large multi-lot subdivisions) and any proposal that involves stormwater harvesting.
FirstRate5 assesses residential energy efficiency for the building envelope only.
The software is most commonly used in Victoria to demonstrate compliance with the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings. It uses the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) protocol, however, a 6-Star FirstRate energy rating does not reflect best practice energy efficiency for ESD.
A building’s orientation, glazing proportions and construction materials largely impact the rating. Many designers now use energy rating tools as design tools rather than as compliance tools.
We strongly recommended conducting a preliminary assessment before lodging your drawings for a planning permit. This can reduce the likelihood of having to apply to amend your planning permit if a later energy rating shows that you have to change the building design to meet minimum NCC standards.
An energy rating will have to be completed for most new dwellings and some extensions at the building permit stage at the latest.