In Australia the built sector accounts for approximately 20% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Emissions from this sector are the result of fossil fuel combustion for heating, cooling and cooking needs as well as the management of water and wastewater.
Australia’s Commercial Building Disclosure Program lowering emissions
To lower commercial GHG emissions, the Australian government’s Commercial Building Disclosure Program – which requires energy efficiency information to be provided when commercial office space is offered for sale or lease – has lowered its mandatory disclosure threshold for commercial buildings.
Under these changes, a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate will be required whenever a space of 1,000 square meters or more (previously it was 2,000 square meters or more) is offered for sale or lease. In addition, a current NABERS Office Energy rating will also need including in advertising, where NABERS is the National Australian Built Environment Rating System that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes.
Environmental and economic benefits of the change
The expansion of the program is expected to provide a reduction in end use energy consumption of over 17,000 TJ, abatement of over 3.5 million tons of GHG emissions and $60 million in benefits between now and 2019. In addition, prospective buyers and tenants of smaller commercial buildings will now be able to make informed choices about energy efficiency when purchasing or leasing a property.
Mandatory building disclosure programs can be used as a market tool to ensure building owners make energy efficiency retrofits.
*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley). Urban Water Security argues that, with climate change and rapid urbanization, cities need to transition from supply-side to demand-side management to achieve urban water security. The book also provides a series of in-depth case studies of leading developed cities from around the world that have used demand management tools to modify the attitudes and behavior of water users in an attempt to achieve urban water security.