New energy efficiency report a ‘must read’ for government, owners and tenants of mid-tier buildings

Real-world examples of energy efficiency in action provide a compelling narrative for owners and tenants of older buildings and ‘must read’ material for government ministers, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Sustainability Victoria’s Energy Efficient Office Buildings: Transforming the Mid-Tier Sector report, released today, underscores the potential economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency upgrades.

“This report emphasises why a common-sense approach can help business increase profits and government meet energy productivity targets,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“The mid-tier sector accounts for around 80 per cent of all office buildings and takes up around half the nation’s floor space. Tackling this part of the market is challenging, as ownership structures are varied and fragmented, and decision-makers are unsure of the benefits of more efficient building space,” Ms Madew explains.

“However Sustainability Victoria’s report demonstrates that these benefits are compelling – and many of the actions are ‘quick wins’ that any building owner could undertake today.”

These actions include preventing air conditioning and heating systems from running simultaneously, installing inexpensive temperature sensors to better control air conditioning and turning off lights in unoccupied rooms.

Building owners and tenants participating in the program reported fewer sick days and complaints about office temperature, and increased employee satisfaction and productivity.

“It’s important to emphasise that, while these actions may seem obvious, they don’t make it onto the ‘to do’ list of many building owners and tenants in the mid-tier sector because they are focused on the urgent and essential tasks that keep their businesses operational.

“However, some buildings participating in Sustainability Victoria’s program achieved savings of nearly $100,000 a year – and they did it with a payback period of less than three years.”

Sustainability Victoria has also found large-scale change across the sector could deliver emissions reductions of 540,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking 135,000 cars off the road.

“Victorians could save more than $150 million in energy costs each year and create 12,000 jobs. With more than 400,000 workers occupying mid-tier buildings in Victoria alone, there is huge potential to improve people’s 9-to-5.”

 “Sustainability Victoria’s report has proven that governments can perform an important role in closing the information gap within this sector, and help deliver simple improvements to buildings with long-term gains for businesses, employees and the community. 

Ms Madew says the Green Building Council of Australia will continue to work with Sustainability Victoria and the property industry to leverage the findings from the report.

“This report should be at the top of Minister Frydenberg's reading list. As the Australian Government looks for easy opportunities to meet our Paris climate goals, these findings demonstrate the untapped potential within the building sector,” Ms Madew concludes.