In a new concept for Australia, the City of Melbourne has introduced the Green Factor tool, which will aid developers in the measurement of the sustainability credentials of their design in an early phase.

Through the use of the tool, building designers and others will put in info regarding their site with green infrastructure components of their proposed design like inground features (standing and new), green walls, green facades, on structure planters and green roofs.

They then will get an overall scorecard, with scores determined by green elements, ecosystem outcomes and the location of green elements.

The score takes into consideration the approximate volume and efficacy of green elements compared to the complete area of the site.

This will stand in comparison to a Green Factor Target currently under development.

Based on a building typology and location basis, the target will be a benchmark for the expected minimal performance required to correspond with broader green objectives.

While the tool is intended for voluntary use, the City is requesting that developers submit plans, with the exception of single storey detached homes, to submit a green factor scorecard and to attain a target score of 0.55 or 0.25 in the instance of industrial property.

The City of Melbourne stated that the tool will promote sound practices regarding urban heat island effect reduction, the shielding of biodiversity, stormwater reduction, social amenity and aesthetic value.

It bears the potential to work in tandem with other rating systems like Green Star, the Council feels.

City of Melbourne Environment portfolio chair Councillor Cathy Oke heralds the arrival of the new tool, saying that it would lead to the construction of more sustainable buildings and communities. She reveals that more than 650 people have registered for an information session regarding how to use the voluntary Green Factor Tool; an interest that should translate to the construction of ecofriendly places where people want to live and work.