Black roofs now beyond the pale in Town of Bassendean

A Perth metropolitan council has made lighter-coloured roofs mandatory under its local planning and design approval processes.

The Town of Bassendean’s new sustainable development policy stipulates that the roofs of all new houses built within its local government area must have a solar absorptance of 0.5 or less.

The policy also requires new or upgraded dwellings to incorporate photovoltaic solar systems (minimum of 3kw) to be fitted with rainwater tanks and be installed with electric vehicle charging points (3-phase power) or the capacity for EV charging points to be installed later.

Bassendean Mayor Kath Hamilton told a Perth newspaper last week that with rising energy costs, the new requirements would enable ongoing financial savings for residents occupying new housing developments.

“The design and development choices of residential buildings constructed today will remain a feature of our Town for decades to come,” she said.

“It is important to encourage the development of housing that will provide long-term environmental benefits now and into the future.”

In the past, some councils have opposed developments with lighter roof colours, citing issues with heritage and glare.

Action on lighter-coloured roofs has generally been a state government preserve with a focus mainly on the commercial building sector.

In 2021, then NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes foreshadowed a new Design and Place State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) that would have banned dark roofs on new apartments and new master-planned communities to make them more sustainable.

His successor, Anthony Roberts, scrapped the plan in April, saying it would place too much of a regulatory and cost burden on builders and developers.

A Development Control Plan (DCP) which stipulates light-coloured roofs and space for trees for all new homes in the Wilton Growth Area, in Sydney’s west, remains in place.