Policy Framework Outlines Energy Opportunities for 80% of Australia’s Office Buildings

Industry associations and local governments across Australia have created a new policy framework what would outline new opportunities for making the country’s buildings more energy efficient.

The framework, Opportunity Knocks: Accelerating energy efficiency for mid-tier buildings found that up to 80,000 buildings in Australia are classified as “mid-tier” – that is non-A Grade or non-Premium Grade – and that these buildings are a powerful mechanism to help better manage our increasing demand for new energy.

GBCA head of public affairs Jonathan Cartledge said mid-tier buildings account for around 80 per cent of Australia’s office buildings and 50 per cent of floor space.

“We know that high performing buildings in Australia consume around a third less electricity and produce a third fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the average mid-tier building – so we are talking about a massive opportunity to improve efficiency and cut emissions.”

[Related reading: City-Shaping is the Responsibility of the Federal Government: Green Building Council]

Cartledge said that many are familiar with the challenges of improving the performance of the older building stock across our cities, but these challenges will only be met through a combination of measures delivered through government leadership and with industry support.

Mid-tier or sub-prime buildings are typically constructed between 1960 and 2000 with outdated and inefficient technologies, resulting in buildings operating well below their potential. The sector is highly fragmented, and characterised by varied ownership structures that contribute to market failures including split incentives between owners and tenants, and a lack of information and awareness among building owners and operators.

“The market failures characteristic of sub-prime buildings make them a natural priority for governments to lead practical policy interventions that will deliver real benefits across the economy,” Property Council of Australia policy manager Francesca Muskovic said.

The collaborating organisations invite governments to work with them to realise these opportunities and accelerate energy efficiency for mid-tier buildings.

The framework has been supported by a broad coalition of industry associations and local governments, including the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Property Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH), Energy Efficiency Council, Facility Management Association of Australia, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne and CitySwitch.

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