Energy efficiency disclosure to be tightened for smaller office buildings

Energy efficiency disclosure to be tightened for smaller office buildings

28 April 2017

Tighter disclosure thresholds due to start on July 1 will promote a transparent assessment of the energy efficiency at more of Australia’s office buildings, says Colliers International.

The revised threshold is expected to trigger a new wave of energy assessments, particularly across smaller and lower grade office buildings captured by the new rule.

Under changes in the national Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program, the mandatory disclosure threshold will be lowered from 2,000 square metres to 1,000 square metres on July 1, requiring owners and lessors of smaller commercial office buildings to disclose a NABERS rating when they market the property.

A NABERS rating measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.

Originally introduced in 2010, the CBD Program was designed to encourage all parties in a purchase or lease transaction to consider energy efficiency.

The new threshold will require sellers and lessors of office space from 1,000 square metres to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before the building goes on the market for sale, lease, or sublease.

“Disclosing a building’s energy efficiency provides future buyers and occupants with consistent information about the building’s performance,” said Patrick Jeannerat, CBD Accredited Assessor and Sustainability Manager at Colliers International.

“This makes it easier for companies to identify more energy efficient buildings when they are buying or renting office space.”

BEECs can be provided by accredited CBD assessors and will show a building’s NABERS energy rating and a tenant lighting assessment of relevant areas of the building.

Substantial penalties could be charged for non-compliance, said Mr Jeannerat. He added that there would be exceptions to the disclosure rule for new buildings, strata-titled buildings and mixed-use buildings where office space was less than three quarters of the total space.

“In some cases, the landlord may apply for a BEEC exemption,” he said.

“Marketing plans for office buildings affected by the new threshold will need to allow three months for a BEEC to be completed.”

Since the Commercial Building Disclosure Program began in 2010:

  • Over 5,000 Building Energy Efficiency Certificates (BEEC) have been issued.
  • Over 1,500 unique buildings have been captured by the Commercial Building Disclosure Program.
  • The average NABERS rating on a BEEC was 3 stars.
  • The average Nominal Lighting Power Density (NLPD) of tenancies was 12.5 W/m2.
  • The average number of active CBD assessors was 130.

According to the Australian Government’s Commercial Building Baseline Study, office buildings contribute 2.5 per cent to the nation’s total energy use.