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Councils mandate solar and plants on warehouse roofs

We could turn our industrial estates into sustainable systems

BRISBANE, September 2022 — Under an ambitious plan to speed the transition to renewables, three local councils in South-east Queensland have introduced planning bylaws that require new industrial and commercial buildings to generate energy and grow plants.

Under the rules, new buildings in areas zoned for industry will be required to generate enough solar energy to meet their needs. They will also need to contribute to improving air quality and reducing urban heat via a green roof.

Existing businesses will have five years to comply with the new laws, after which a new Energy Transition Charge of up to $10,000 per year would be added to council rates.

Industrial estates, typically built on cheap land with little environmental amenity are often hotter than surrounding suburbs and host a range of energy-intensive businesses.

The mayors of Brisbane City, the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay said the large, warehouse-style buildings with flat roofs were ideal for producing energy and growing things.

“Our industrial parks are vital to local economies. They will now be vital to building a sustainable future.”

Local entomologists welcomed the initiative saying it would expand the available habitat for insects. However, they called for rules about the use of pesticides.

“It’s great that ants, bees and bugs can return but let’s make sure they’re not murdered.”

Inspired by green rooftop laws in several countries, including Denmark, the United States and Argentina.

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