COAG July 2009 agreed to implement (mandatory) disclosure at time of Sale or Lease of residential and and non‐residential (phasing in)
The commercial building sector is responsible for around 10 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions and this figure is rising. Improving building energy efficiency is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate climate change. From 1 November 2010, the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act (BEED) 2010 came into effect requiring mandatory disclosure of the energy performance of commercial premises. Together with changes to the Building Code of Australia, the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act is one of the principal means through which the Federal Government will drive emissions reductions in the commercial buildings sector. Mandatory disclosure requirements are necessary to ensure visibility of the energy performance of commercial buildings and encourage improvements through the implementation of energy efficiency measures.
Disclosing energy efficiency provides everyone with access to consistent and meaningful information about the building’s performance. This makes it easier for companies to buy or rent more energy efficient office space.
An informed market rewards better performing buildings. It creates a strong market-based incentive for owners to improve their properties with cost-effective energy efficient upgrades that are attractive to buyers and tenants and increase return on investment.
Under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010, the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program was established as an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and is managed by the Australian Government Department of Industry. It requires energy efficiency information to be provided in most cases when commercial office space of 2000 square metres or more is offered for sale or lease. The aim is to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings and to ensure prospective buyers and tenants are informed.
The CBD Program requires most sellers and lessors of office space of 2000 square metres to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before the building goes on the market for sale, lease or sublease.
BEECs are valid for up to 12 months and include:
- a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy for offices rating for the building — The NABERS Energy for offices rating provides information on the building’s energy efficiency. It must be a base or whole building rating (a whole building rating also covers the tenanted space and is disclosed if there is inadequate metering to obtain a base building rating);
- a tenancy lighting assessment of the relevant area of the building — the CBD lighting assessment is an assessment of tenancy lighting that measures the power density of the installed general lighting system; and
- general energy efficiency guidance —the general energy efficiency guidance includes information on how building owners might improve a building’s energy efficiency.
Mandatory disclosure has not been rolled out by the States.
- ACT has implemented the program since 1999: ABS survey showed approx. $9,000 higher resale price per extra star
- Qld had implemented a checklist but it has since been removed by new Qld government
- Some voluntary schemes have emerged but generally, progress has halted
Future Regulatory Trends in Buildings
Overall buildings will see more focus on lifetime perspective, precinct/neighbourhood scale, carbon neutral buildings, peak demand management, infrastructure for smart energy systems, integration with broader sustainability issues, further development of building rating and modelling tools and rating criteria, benchmarking, feedback, accountability and effective enforcement.
Key issue that remains is the need for EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT. There is a complete lack of enforcement and compliance with mandated energy ratings. For example, in Victoria, building surveyors are selected and paid by the builder to complete the assessment and lacks independence. Inspections are not required at times when energy efficiency features such as wall insulation can be easily verified. CSIRO study (2013) of 400 houses found only 36% of 6 star homes and 61% of 5 star homes achieved their claimed rating.
There needs to be a balance between energy/water efficiency and supply:
- ‘average’ Aust home ~7500 kWh electricity, 25 GJ gas
- ‘average’ Victorian home ~6000 kWh and 45 GJ gas
- ‘high’ gas/electric home (not extreme) 10,000 kWh, 100 GJ
- Efficient all‐electric home 1000‐2500 kWh
- Efficient gas/electric 700‐1500 kWh, 10‐20 GJ
Source: BCA, CDB