Expanded CBD program can tackle mid-tier buildings

The Australian Government’s commitment to continue the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program has been applauded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

An independent review of the CBD program, which was developed to drive energy efficiency improvements in the commercial office sector, has found $44 million in benefits have been realised in just four years.

“The review demonstrates why tackling energy efficiency in commercial office buildings is a smart solution to climate change – one that can be done at a minimal cost to industry and the tax payer,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“The GBCA has always been a strong supporter of the CBD program, which has proven to be a critical driver in unlocking the emissions reduction potential of our buildings while raising awareness of building energy performance among building occupants, delivering cost savings and creating jobs,” Ms Madew says.

Analysis from the review has found that improvements in base building energy performance, as measured by the building’s NABERS rating, has delivered cumulative benefits of $44 million between 2010 and 2014 – well in excess of the program’s costs. The review also found a reduction in end-use energy consumption of 10,020 terajoules (TJ) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 2,051 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent (ktCO2-e) over the period 2010 to 2023.’

The review has identified two enhancements to the program:
  • Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency information on buildings from 2,000sqm to 1,000sqm to capture smaller office buildings.
  • Extending the length of time an office lighting assessment (known as a Tenancy Lighting Assessment) is valid from one to five years.

“Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure is particularly important, as it will open opportunities for greater energy efficiency in the mid-tier commercial buildings sector,” Ms Madew says.

“There are an estimated 80,000 mid-tier commercial office buildings around Australia, but this sector has traditionally lagged behind in energy efficiency upgrades. Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure will prompt many building owners to explore the range of services, resources and technologies that can deliver building upgrades, often at relatively low cost, with attractive payback periods.”

Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg has said that “the delivery of the program, with the proposed enhancements, will deliver around $60 million of benefits to consumers through to 2019.”

Buildings are responsible for around a quarter of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, but are also one of the most cost-effective opportunities to cut emissions

“Expanding the program to include more buildings will help the Australian Government’s target of increasing Australia’s energy productivity by 40 per cent by 2030,” Ms Madew concludes.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions.

Media contact

Karen Jamal
Green Building Council of Australia
Phone: 0412 179 135
Email: [email protected]