News & Press: RETA News

Australian Government set to deliver $50 million in energy savings

Wednesday, June 22, 2016  


The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has welcomed the expansion of the Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme.

Federal Minister for Energy, Josh Frydenberg, said today the government will lower the threshold of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program from 2,000 to 1,000 square metres, which will see an additional 1,000 commercial buildings now disclose their energy efficiency when they sell or lease their property.

"This will help inform purchasers and tenants of building energy costs, delivering more than $50 million in energy savings, and around 3.5 million tonnes of emission reductions over five years," he said.

This change will commence on July 1, 2017.

"We have also amended the tenancy lighting assessment requirements so that from September 1 this year, building owners will only be required to undertake these assessments every five years instead of each year," Frydenberg said.

"This change adds to the more than $4.5 billion of red tape the Coalition Government has cut from our economy."

The changes follow a comprehensive review of the CBD Program and public consultation earlier this year which showed overwhelming support for the program. The announcement will also lead to improvements to the Equipment Energy Efficiency program.

ASBEC’s president, Ken Maher said the CBD scheme has led to improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in GHG emissions.

"It has also been effective in raising awareness of building performance and creating a market incentive for higher-performing buildings," Maher said.

“The expansion of this program is an excellent initiative, which will engage many more commercial buildings in energy efficiency endeavours.”

The pathway set by the Equipment Energy Efficiency program aims to deliver energy savings in building appliances.

ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance report has found that Australia’s building sector can deliver up to 28 per cent of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target and save $20 billion, if a strong suite of measures is adopted.

“An expanded CBD program and a pathway for improved appliance efficiency are both strong steps in enabling the built environment to meet its emissions reduction potential, while also creating healthier and more productive buildings.” Maher said.

Green Buildings Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO, Romilly Madews, said the nation’s built environment sector can reach zero carbon by 2050, deliver healthier, more productive cities and save $20 billion using technologies that exist today.

“The market leaders have already demonstrated that step change is possible. New Green Star-rated office buildings emit less than half as much greenhouse gases as the average 10-year-old building," she said.

“Our buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This makes programs which tackle older buildings, and which drive investment in energy efficiency, essential as we move towards a zero carbon future."

Last week the GBCA released a five-point plan for sustainable buildings, communities and cities to guide politicians in the lead-up to the federal election on July 2, 2016.

Madew said the plan has been developed to help politicians from all parties understand the policies and programs that drive down emissions while enhancing productivity, liveability and sustainability in Australian cities.

“For the last decade, the Australian property and construction industry has been committed to reducing carbon emissions, delivering cost savings, boosting health and productivity, and creating places that are good for the environment and people too,” Madew said.

“The evidence of this evolution is there for all to see. More than 1,060 Green Star projects equate to 14 million square metres of Green Star certified space – more than twice the size of the Melbourne CBD.

“Our industry has been ranked the ‘global green leader’ for five years running by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, and Australian companies dominate the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

“But we need to move faster if we are to arrest climate change – and we need to move faster if we are to ensure we can accommodate a growing population in cities that are liveable and sustainable.”

The GBCA’s five priorities for federal government action are:

Move towards net zero
Raise minimum standards for buildings
Harness the potential of mid-tier buildings
Accelerate the advancement of a precinct utilities marketplace
Catalyse the sustainable cities movement.

Madew said these policies and programs are important – but strong leadership from Australian politicians is vital.

"We’ll continue to work hard over this long election campaign to seek commitment from all political parties to build a better, more sustainable future for all Australians,” she said.


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