The Commonwealth Government has announced the introduction of a
national scheme to encourage office building energy efficiency. The
scheme is designed to help combat Australia's ever-increasing
greenhouse gas emissions of which the commercial building sector is
responsible for approximately 10 per cent. It is expected that the
scheme will affect approximately 2,170 buildings throughout the
The scheme is intended to be implemented in the second half of
2010 in two phases:
a national disclosure scheme for large commercial office
buildings (that is office buildings which have an area of more than
2,000 square metres); and
a possible expansion of the first phase to include other
commercial building types such as hotels, retail buildings, schools
The scheme will require building owners to give prospective
buyers and tenants a Building Efficiency Certificate. This
certificate (which will remain valid for 12 months) must
a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)
energy base building star rating;
an assessment of the lighting energy efficiency of tenancies in
the building; and
suggestions on how to improve the building's energy
The Government claims that the costs of preparing a Building
Efficiency Certificate will be low when compared to the total
proceeds to be obtained from the sale of the building or under a
Owners who fail or refuse to comply with the scheme may be fined
or prosecuted. There are, however, limited exemptions
new office buildings that are less than 12 months old; and
situations where it is not feasible to prepare a Building
The Government hopes that the scheme will help prospective
buyers and tenants make informed decisions before acquiring office
space. It is claimed that such steps will create a market that
rewards better performing buildings and stimulates greater
investment in energy efficiency.
The Government also optimistically claims that 'greener
offices' have the ability to increase productivity, reduce sick
days, sustain industry and account for savings of up to 40 per cent
on electricity. Whether the scheme will actually achieve these
objectives remains to be seen.
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