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Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD)

Along with other councils within Melbourne, we consider environmental performance when assessing planning permit applications within the City of Whittlesea.

Whittlesea 2040: A place for All is the long-term vision for the City of Whittlesea. It guides all of Council’s work and future partnerships with the community and others. City of Whittlesea is committed to creating Liveable Neighbourhoods and Sustainable Environment

Incorporating environmentally sustainable design into new development is now a requirement under the Whittlesea Planning Scheme, Clause 15.01-2L Environmentally Sustainable Development which was introduced in October 2018. The overarching objective is that development should achieve best practice in environmentally sustainable development from the design stage through to construction and operation.

The policy provides objectives and application requirements for residential, mixed use and non-residential development. It recognises the importance of considering environmentally sustainable design at the time of planning approval for new development.

Council can assist you to incorporate environmentally sustainable design into your development during the planning process. If you are preparing a planning application, we encourage you to come in for a pre-application meeting or speak to Council's Environmentally Sustainable Planning Officer to discuss your application.

 Application requirements

An application must be accompanied by either a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) or a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP):

SDA (Sustainable Design Assessment)


  • 2-9 dwellings
  • Other accommodation between 100-1000m2


  • New development or addition/extension between 300-1000m2

SMP (Sustainability Management Plan) and GTP (Green Travel Plan)


  • 10 or more dwellings
  • Other accommodation more than 1000m2


  • New development or addition/extension more than 1000m2

Various assessment tools like BESS, Green Star, STORM and MUSIC may be used to assess how the proposed development addresses the objectives of the policy, as appropriate. More information on ESD tools can be found in the fact sheet below. 

We have developed template for Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) which aims to provide indication of the expected information. 

Sustainability Objectives - Whittlesea's Sustainability Design Standards

When applying for a planning permit to construct a new building or altering/ adding to existing building, you will need to provide information with your planning permit application across the following areas:

  • Energy Performance Strategies
  • Integrated Water Management (IWM) Strategies
  • Indoor Environment Quality Strategies
  • Stormwater Management Strategies
  • Transport Strategies
  • Waste management Strategies
  • Urban ecology Strategies
  • Other categories not specifically covered by the planning clause 15.01.2L:
    • Building materials
    • Construction building management
    • Innovation

To assist you on how to consider these categories and achieve the best outcome for your building, council has adopted a series of SDAPP fact sheets. The fact sheets provide background information, design guidance and best practice standards across the 10 key categories relevant to your development. These fact sheets are also used by other Victorian Councils.

Whittlesea Council expectations are listed below each category to assist you in preparing the report:

  • BESS - Achieve a minimum score of 60% overall with minimum 50% across Energy, Water and Indoor Environment Quality.
  • Green Star – Demonstrate the development can achieve 4-star green star rating with minimum 50 points.


View information and factsheets on each of the SDAP category dropdowns below:

Policy objectives:

  • To achieve a healthy indoor environment quality for the wellbeing of building occupants, including the provision of fresh air intake, cross ventilation, and natural daylight.
  • To achieve thermal comfort levels with minimised need for mechanical heating, ventilation and cooling.
  • To reduce indoor air pollutants by encouraging use of materials with low toxicity chemicals.
  • To reduce reliance on mechanical heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting systems.
  • To minimise noise levels and noise transfer within and between buildings and associated external areas.

Whittlesea Council expectations:

  • Adequate daylight to all living areas, bedrooms and all other regularly occupied spaces (as defined in BESS)
  • All living rooms to have north facing windows
  • Openable windows in all habitable rooms
  • Appropriate shading to all windows receiving direct sunlight.

Fact sheet:

Indoor Environment Quality


Natural Ventilation

Policy objectives:

  • To improve the efficient use of energy, by ensuring development demonstrates design potential for ESD initiatives at the planning stage.
  • To reduce total operating greenhouse gas emissions.
  • To reduce energy peak demand through particular design measures (e.g., appropriate building orientation, shading to glazed surfaces, optimise glazing to exposed surfaces, space allocation for solar panels and external heating and cooling systems).

Whittlesea Council expectations:

  • Developments to perform 10% better than NCC Section J minimum requirement.
  • Residential development to achieve 6.5 star NatHERS average and Cooling loads should not exceed 22MJ/sqm for any dwelling
  • Energy efficient hot water, heating and cooling systems within one energy star rating of the best available.
  • Daylight/occupancy sensors for external lighting
  • External clothes drying facility where feasible

Fact sheets

Energy Efficiency

External Shading

Building Envelope Performance

Zero Carbon Development

Policy objectives:

  • To improve water efficiency.
  • To reduce total operating potable water use.
  • To encourage the collection and reuse of stormwater.
  • To encourage the appropriate use of alternative water sources (e.g. greywater).

Whittlesea Council expectations:

  • Rainwater capture and reuse for toilet flushing and irrigation at a minimum
  • WELS rated fittings within one star of the best available.

Fact sheet:

Water efficiency

Policy Objectives:

  • To reduce the impact of stormwater run-off.
  • To improve the water quality of stormwater run-off.
  • To achieve best practice stormwater quality outcomes.
  • To incorporate the use of water sensitive urban design, including stormwater reuse.

Whittlesea Council Expectations:

  • 100% STORM score or MUSIC modelling demonstrating best practice stormwater management

Fact sheets:

Stormwater Management

Site Permeability

Policy Objectives:

  • To ensure that the built environment is designed to promote the use of walking, cycling and public transport, in that order.
  • To minimise car dependency.
  • To promote the use of low emissions vehicle technologies and supporting infrastructure.

Whittlesea Council Expectations:

  • Residential Bicycle parking - 1 per dwelling for residents and 1 per 5 dwellings for visitors
  • Non-Residential Bicycle Parking - 50% more than as required by Planning Clause 52.34 Bicycle Facilities and End of Trip facilities (1 shower per 10 bicycle spaces and 1 locker per bicycle space provided)
  • Infrastructure to support electric vehicles charging

 Fact sheet:


Electric Vehicles

Policy Objectives:

  • To ensure waste avoidance, reuse and recycling during the design, construction and operation stages of development.
  • To ensure durability and long-term reusability of building materials.
  • To ensure sufficient space is allocated for future change in waste management needs, including (where possible) composting and green waste facilities.

Whittlesea Council Expectations:

  • Recycling facilities are as convenient as general waste facilities to all future occupants.
  • 80% of all construction and demolition waste by mass is recycled.

Fact sheet:

Waste Management

Policy Objectives:

  • To protect and enhance biodiversity within the municipality.
  • To provide environmentally sustainable landscapes and natural habitats and minimise the urban heat island effect.
  • To encourage the retention of significant trees.
  • To encourage the planting of indigenous vegetation.
  • To encourage the provision of space for productive gardens, particularly in larger residential developments.

Whittlesea Council Expectations:

  • Protect existing on-site vegetation.
  • Incorporate indigenous and /or productive gardens.
  • Provide a tap for irrigation (connected to rainwater tank) and drainage on balconies, courtyards and backyards.

Fact sheets:

Urban Ecology

Green Roof Wall Facade

While the following categories are not specifically covered in Clause 15.01.2L, the information does often overlap with other categories. City of Whittlesea encourages development applicants to also address these categories in any proposed development.

  • Building materials
  • Construction building management
  • Innovation
  • Melbourne Climate

Whittlesea Council Expectations:

  • Substitute cement content of concrete with recycled content.
  • Select low embodied energy materials. Limit or do not use aluminium, zinc and other high embodied energy materials.
  • Source all timber from sustainably managed sources that hold third party verification.
  • Select recycled or re-usable materials.
  • Avoid materials which are toxic in manufacture and use.
  • Select low maintenance and highly durable materials.
  • Preparation and availability of Building Users Guide (BUG)
  • Individual utility meters for all dwellings and non-residential areas/ tenancies.

Fact sheets:

Building materials

Construction & building management


Melbourne Climate

Sustainable Subdivisions Framework

The creation of a subdivision is the creation of a community. Subdivision design commences with a relatively blank canvas, setting up the life of the community that will extend over hundreds of years. The initial subdivision design presents an enormous opportunity to create the fundamental conditions for a sustainable and resilient community.

The long-term nature of subdivision planning is now set against the backdrop of our climate fundamentally changing. Many councils are  planning for population growth for the next 20-30 years, in some cases via Precinct Structure Plans, and are currently considering how these communities might contribute to achieving the 2050 net zero emissions target identified in the Victorian Climate Change Act.

Despite clear objectives in existing planning policy, which seek to influence sustainable design outcomes in the built environment, there are limited information requirements and standards to support a robust evaluation of a subdivision from a sustainability perspective.

What is the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework?

The Framework seeks to mitigate the impacts of future climate projection scenarios, creating sustainable and liveable subdivisions that can adapt to the changing climate. The Framework identifies seven (7) categories that can assist in creating environmentally sustainable subdivisions:

  • Site Layout and Liveability
  • Streets and Public Realm
  • Energy
  • Ecology
  • Integrated Water Management (IWM)
  • Urban Heat
  • Circular Economy (Materials and Waste)

The seven Framework categories each include objectives and measurable standards to facilitate stronger sustainability outcomes and apply innovation and implementation considerations to all categories.

City of Whittlesea Sustainable Subdivisions Framework Trial

The City of Whittlesea along with partnering local governments are testing the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework through existing planning processes for an 18-month trial from October 2020 to March 2022.

City of Whittlesea will work with the applicants to assess their subdivision applications greater than 3 lots against the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework for the duration of the trial. There is no additional application fee for developers to adopt this framework. While the take-up of sustainability recommendations is highly encouraged, it is voluntary, enabling capacity building and shared consideration of innovative approaches. Through this process we aim to understand the willingness of the development community to adopt voluntary recommendations, while simultaneously gaining detailed feedback on the Framework.

We invite you to talk to us about opportunities to apply the Framework to your project/subdivision applications.

City of Whittlesea’s contact is:

Nick Bowman, Environmental Sustainable Design Planner

E T 03 9217 2170


There are a range of materials and resources available to support the Framework.

For detailed information about the Framework, please visit the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) website

There is an extensive array of resources available to support the Framework, including a copy of the Framework and sample submission requirements. A series of case studies have also been developed, which can be accessed from the same website for your convenience.


Looking for more information?

If you require further assistance, please contact us on 9217 2259 or contact us online