Developers planning to build in the Wollongong CBD would be encouraged to incorporate vertical gardens and plant covered roofs to make the new structures more environmentally friendly.
Known as green roofs and walls, the high-rise gardens are among a number of changes to Wollongong City Council’s development control plan (DCP), which helps govern how the council approves new buildings.
According to a council report, these “living” roofs and walls “improve the efficiency and performance of the development and reduce its overall impact on our environment”. Their benefits include better sound and thermal insulation, reduced need for heating and cooling, reduced storm-water runoff and increased capture of small-particle pollution, the council said.
Aside from the new gardens, the proposed update to the DCP - now on exhibition – would insert a new chapter into the document, which highlights the importance of ecologically sustainable development in Wollongong.
This would mean new developments would need to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change and reduce waste and the use of clean water. They would also need to use renewable energy, improve the indoor environmental quality and use recyclable or recycled materials.
For new houses, there are a number of provisions which encourage the retention of native trees and planting of greenery as well as controls over how big a building’s footprint can be.
For instance, homes on blocks of between 450-900 square metres would only be able to take up 50 per cent of the land, while homes on blocks larger than 900 metres would only be able to cover 40 per cent of the land.
New houses would also be required to have a minimum percentage of landscaping and plant “a minimum of one semi mature small to medium evergreen or deciduous tree” within that area.
Currently, 20 per cent of a dwelling site is required to be landscaped, but the new provisions will increase this to 30 per cent and 40 per cent for larger blocks.
The council is also advocating “green travel plans” at large residential developments, offices and recreation facilities, with developers encouraged to highlight cycling and walking through the provision of bike parking, showers and lockers and the prominent display of cycle route maps.
The changes are on exhibition through the council’s website until July 8.
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