Energy Efficiency Gets The Green Light

Energy Efficiency Gets The Green Light

In an effort to increase the efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings, the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program has seen some significant changes. With green being the new black, owning a Tesla isn’t the only way to be energy efficient!

What is the CBD Program and why does it exist?

The CBD Program is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) requiring energy efficiency information be provided to potential lessees and buyers in certain circumstances to ensure that Australia’s largest buildings improve their energy efficiency.

If a building is affected by the program, it will require a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) to be issued that includes key energy efficiency information about the building. This information includes a NABERS rating, which is a national rating system measuring environmental performance and a Tenancy Lighting Assessment, which measures the power density of the installed general lighting system at the building.

The CBD Program was established to attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings, which are estimated to be responsible for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

What has changed and what is an affected building?

Pre 1 July 2017, a building only has to have a net lettable area of 2,000 or more square metres and be made of at least 75% office space before the owner is required to obtain a BEEC and provide same to prospective tenants or buyers if it offering part or all of the building for lease or sale.

From 1 July 2017, the net lettable area threshold will reduce to 1,000 square metres, which the government anticipates will capture a further 1,000 commercial buildings.

Some buildings are exempt, such as buildings less than 2 years old or that are held under a strata title scheme.

To try and decrease the red tape for property owners, the government has allowed for Tenancy Lighting Assessments to be valid for 5 years rather than 1 year.

What is the intended effect of the changes?

The government estimates that the changes to the CBD Program will deliver more than $50 million in energy savings and an emission reduction of 3.5 million tonnes over the next five years – great for the hip pocket and environment!

What do I need to do?

If you own a building that is affected by the changes, you do not need to obtain a BEEC unless you intend offering part or all of the property for sale or lease after 1 July 2017. If you offer the property for sale or lease before 1 July 2017 and it remains on the market for sale or lease after that date, you will need to obtain a BEEC.

If you need to obtain a BEEC, you must engage a qualified assessor to prepare the BEEC. As you will need to supply the assessor with a lot of information we recommend you start this process as soon as possible.

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