U City Declared South Australia's First Carbon Neutral Building this Morning

Uniting Communities’ U City has become the first building in South Australia to achieve Carbon Neutral Building Certification and a 5 Star Green Star Performance Rating via the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Australian Government’s Climate Active Program.

Uniting Communities Chief Executive Simon Schrapel said U City’s efforts to become carbon neutral since it opened in 2019 involved measuring the whole building’s carbon emissions – including natural gas, refrigerant, purchased electricity, waste to landfill and water consumed; purchasing and retiring offsets to cover the total emissions, and reporting to the GBCA and Climate Active.

To become carbon neutral, Mr Schrapel said carbon offsets had been purchased and retired to cover the whole of the mixed-use U City building in Adelaide’s CBD, and Uniting Communities had provided a commitment to offset the building’s carbon emissions for 10 years.

The carbon offsets include biodiversity credits from the EcoAustralia native revegetation protection project, which covers 7,350 m2 at Mount Sandy, near the Coorong, and a wind power project in Taiwan. Both projects contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Acknowledged by the Property Council of Australia as the nation’s best mixed use development, U City was the first of its kind built in Australia. It blends Uniting Communities’ varied social services and offices with commercial, retail, hospitality and other tenants, a retirement village, NDIS supported long term accessible rentals and an accessible hotel,” Mr Schrapel said.

“In line with our leadership in sustainable practices, U City is setting a new benchmark for developments in Australia, and for the community and aged care sectors in particular by being not just aware of our carbon footprint but doing as much as possible to reduce our environmental impact as we head towards a net zero future.”

Uniting Communities last year announced it had set a target to achieve Net Zero by 2035. It has also committed to optimising performance, with tracking and tuning applied to the building services to achieve ongoing energy efficiency and water ratings.

Sustainability is at the heart of U City and is considered in all aspects of the building’s operations, including in procurement, to ensure environmentally and socially conscious choices are made at all levels of business operations.

There are also regular assessments of employee and occupant satisfaction with the building’s performance, and transport surveys to raise awareness of sustainable options and to gather data for ongoing measurement.

Mr Schrapel said U City’s residents, Uniting Communities’ employees working in the building, and its visitors are committed to supporting efforts to achieve Net Zero and to drive a sustainable future.

“Our retirement village residents and our tenants are proud to occupy a building that is leading the way in environmental sustainability, and they’re willing to do their bit to ensure we leave as small a footprint as possible in our daily lives at U City,” he said.

“We urge other organisations to make a pledge to achieve their own carbon reduction targets for the future of our community, our state and our planet. Charities and social service agencies like Uniting Communities have a vital part to play in not only advocating for climate change action – but taking responsibility through our own actions and behaviours. Our sector is a significant contributor to the Australian economy, and it is upon all of us big, small, private or NGO, to take action and to start now.”

U City features a state-of-the-art function centre, accessible accommodation, retirement residences, a social services hub, serviced apartments, community spaces, a concierge and a restaurant and café. Events held at the function centre can also claim carbon neutral water and energy use.

Source: https://www.unitingcommunities.org/

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