What is BESS?

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is an assessment tool used in the planning permit stage, which is designed to evaluate the following areas of a new building or alteration against set benchmarks:

  • Energy/Water Efficiency
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Overall Environmental Sustainability Performance

This tool aims to assist builders, developers and community members in showing how a proposed development design meets sustainable design benchmarks and requirements. The BESS scorecard can provide input and guidance towards improving your home or development’s sustainability.

BESS can be used to assess:

  • Single Houses
  • Townhouse Developments
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Large non-residential or mixed use developments

BESS is used as an input for Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) reports or Sustainability Management Plans (SMP) for development projects in Victoria quickly becoming the Victorian equivalent of BASIX in New South Wales. More local councils are beginning to require ESD assessments at the planning permit stage of the development cycle.

BESS was created by the Victorian Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) to replace two existing tools that supported the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP):

  • STEPS (Sustainable Tools for Environmental Performance Strategy) for use with Residential building assessments
  • SDS (Sustainable Design Scorecard) for use with non-residential buildings

There are 9 categories that are assessed within the BESS tool, which are:

  • Management
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Stormwater
  • Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Urban Ecology
  • Innovation

Minimum scores in mandatory categories (Energy, Water, Stormwater, IEQ) along with an overall score of 50% is required to pass.

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