Environmentally sustainable design in planning

Eligible development applications must incorporate environmentally sustainable design (ESD), under the Yarra Planning Scheme.

You need to submit this information with your planning application. The protection of our environment is an important global and local responsibility. We want to help lead the transformation in how we live and use our resources in the future.

Any new 'medium' or 'large' development must achieve best practice in environmentally sustainable development, from the design stage through to construction and operation.

How do I incorporate environmentally sustainable design in my planning application?

Step 1

Start considering environmentally sustainable design early in planning. To help, we provide ESD advice for planning applications. Our Environmentally Sustainable Development Advisor can also attend pre-applications meetings upon request.

Step 2

Determine what information you need to submit depending on the size and type of your development. See the table below or download the PDF. 

Size/type of development What to submit Who can prepare the submission
Small developments – all planning applications other than described in the medium and large. Include ESD features in plans and drawings Yourself
Medium developments:
  • 2-9 new residential dwellings, or
  • 100m2 to 1000m2 of non-residential, or
  • 100m2 to 1000m2 of alterations and additions
A Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) that shows best practice in ESD Yourself
Large developments:
  • 10 or more residential dwellings, or
  • 1000m2 or greater of non-residential, or
  • 1000m2 or greater of alterations and additions
Sustainable Management Plan (SMP) that shows best practice in ESD A ESD consultant or sustainability professional


Step 3

Prepare your submission. Address the 10 key sustainable building categories. Use an online sustainability assessment tool to assist you. We recommend using the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS).

Step 4

Submit your environmentally sustainable design submission with your planning application. This will not delay your planning application being processed.

Step 5

Wait until we assess your planning application and consider your environmentally sustainable design submission.

Step 6

We will provide you will feedback and discuss referral responses. This means we will send you back some ideas, feedback and practical ways to improve the standard of ESD.