Friday 31 October 2014
PRECINX®, a strategic urban planning and design tool collaboratively developed by UrbanGrowth NSW and Kinesis, has been announced as one of the Top 10 finalists in the Urbanisation category of the GreenTec awards.
The GreenTec awards are Europe’s largest environmental and business awards, and take place every year. They provide a platform that puts environmental technologies and commitment in the spotlight.
Voting starts November 6, and you can vote online on the GreenTec awards website.
What is PRECINX®?
PRECINX® is a strategic urban planning and design tool that predicts the potential long term environmental, social and financial impacts of large, multiple-dwelling and mixed-use developments while they are still at an early design stage. This allows designers to avoid misdirected effort and unnecessary cost. It gives an accurate picture of a project’s sustainability performance very quickly with limited upfront inputs.
Drawing on comprehensive local data sources including climate and utility data, PRECINX links urban design with environmental metrics to calculate the performance of a development across transport, land–use, embodied energy, operational energy, water and stormwater, housing affordability, capital and recurrent costs and household operating costs. What makes PRECINX® unique is its ability to deliver a measurable, fully verified comparison of sustainability performance
Key features of PRECINX®:
- Perform complex calculations in a fraction of the time such assessments would normally require.
- Compare design scenarios to a reference scenario using local, metropolitan or state averages.
- Assess a full scope of demand and supply side energy, water and transport technologies alongside urban and building design parameters.
- Communicate outcomes using standard quantifiable metrics including; greenhouse gases (tonnes CO2e/year), ADMD (kW/dwelling), potable water (kL/year), transport use (km/day), capital and recurrent costs and household operating costs ($/year).
- Report on key requirements for NABERS, Green Star Communities and EnviroDevelopment.
Since the introduction of BASIX, the Building Sustainability Index, NSW has seen significant improvements in design for water and energy efficiency of individual homes and home sites. Landcom (now UrbanGrowth NSW) saw an opportunity to build on the success of BASIX by comparing a range of sustainability initiatives as potential options before decisions on building and design parameters were fixed.
UrbanGrowth NSW’s experience in land development had shown that the greatest opportunity to introduce sustainability initiatives in a cost effective way is at a ‘precinct level’, particularly when major infrastructure is involved. It is also most effective to consider these issues very early in the planning process, before project fundamentals are locked in. This was the motivation behind the development of PRECINX®.
UrbanGrowth NSW engaged sustainability consultants Kinesis to develop the model, with the project guided by a working group that included representatives of the (then) NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Sydney Water, Department of Planning, Energy Australia and Integral Energy. Sydney Water and Planning, in particular, provided significant data for the model. Additional data was provided by the Ministry of Transport. DECCW also contributed $100,000 to the project from its Climate Change Fund.
PRECINX® has already been adapted and calibrated for use throughout Australia. Urban Growth NSW and Kinesis have licenced the tool to the majority of government land organisations (GLOs) across the country. Combined, the GLOs represent the majority of government land development nationwide and have a pipeline of development in the billions of dollars.
It is also effectively licenced and used by Planning Authorities, Housing agencies, public and private utilities and a suite of Australia’s largest publically listed developers who have seen the value of PRECINX® in guiding strategic urban design, infrastructure and sustainability decisions in their own projects.