City of Melbourne, Buildings


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Improving the sustainable performance of commercial buildings:
There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to minimise the impact of climate change on current and future generations. The City of Melbourne is showing strong leadership, setting an ambitious goal of zero net emissions by 2020. However, despite continued efforts, sustainability is a low priority for mid-tier commercial building owners.

Our challenge was to prototype effective ways of influencing the behaviour of building owners to improve sustainability performance.

Key Features


Innovative solutions arise from human-centred research:
We began with human-centric research to understand the sector’s unique needs and drivers. We looked wide for innovative solutions before narrowing the focus to prototype and test concepts. The council had already conducted research into the sector, but hadn’t yet engaged directly with building owners.

This important process develops empathy with users and builds an understanding of their pain and gain points. Once we had conducted a series of 1:1 interviews, our synthesis uncovered a number of insights and intervention ideas that became the basis for prototyping.


Collaborative process and iterative prototypes:
We worked collaboratively with the City of Melbourne to prioritise concepts before fleshing out the most influential idea for the sector: This was a Holistic Council Service that provided commercial building owners with a relationship manager to act as their direct contact to the council.

To strengthen and test the concept we carried out 3 rounds of iterative prototyping with 6 building owners. This enabled us to deliver tangible results within a short time frame, with the people who would be using and interacting with the final product.


Engaging audiences through new channels:
Our final deliverable was a document that contained new and critical actions for City of Melbourne to take to their target audience, as well as an outline of other effective channels to share and communicate council programs, educational tools and information.

The City of Melbourne will pilot and roll out the concepts over the coming months in a bid to have better performing buildings and more engaged and educated building owners.

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