Environmental considerations are key factors affecting business decisions today. Choosing and implementing an environmental rating system can be a complex process so it is important to seek assistance from experienced consultants at all stages.
There are currently two accepted rating methods of tracking the environmental impact of buildings in Australia: the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating scheme (ABGR) and the Green Star environmental rating scheme (Green Star).
ABGR is a performance based rating scheme which measures actual greenhouse emissions. Green Star is a design and construction based rating scheme which takes a more holistic approach by measuring a range of factors such as building management, emissions, energy consumption, indoor health quality, innovation, land use and ecology, materials, transport and water.
While participation in the rating schemes is voluntary, many councils impose a minimum ABGR in development consents for commercial buildings. In addition, many government departments require a minimum Green Star rating before they will consider occupying a commercial building as a tenant.
In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, there are several reasons why organisations choose to adopt an ABGR or Green Star rating in respect of a development, including:
public and market recognition of a commitment to environmental considerations
commercial considerations such as lower energy costs and/or lower operating costs
government, council or tenant constraints.
However, achieving these ratings often means higher development costs.
Owners also need to be aware of other factors which can affect an ABGR or Green Star rating:
the tenant fitout impact, particularly where the owner or developer of the building is not directly involved in the fitout
the construction process
how the building will be occupied and operated, including operating hours, cleaners hours, number and age of computers, lighting, air-conditioning and car parks.
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Many retail leases include a covenant to trade, requiring the tenant to open the premises for trade during certain hours.
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