As reported by The Fifth Estate, a majority of Australia's office buildings are currently using inefficient energy systems, but they don't need to. The story relates how the Green Building Council is scrutinising energy use by business --specifically 80,000 office buildings. Here's the excerpt:
About half of Australia’s office space – around 80,000 office buildings – is being scrutinised by the Green Building Council of Australia as part of a federal government-commissioned energy productivity pathway.
The federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science commissioned the GBCA (in partnership with Sustainability Victoria, City of Melbourne and EY) to coordinate a project that would quantify the energy productivity opportunities of mid-tier (B, C and D-grade) commercial buildings and identify the barriers to implementation of energy-efficiency initiatives.
These buildings, which are generally found in capital city CBDs and suburban centres and tend to be under 10,000 square metres, have historically had a lower level of energy efficiency than premium (or A-grade) assets, due in part to being older buildings with original HVAC systems, minimal controls and outdated lighting. These buildings also tend to have higher vacancy ratings and short lease terms.
However, following the publication of a preliminary research report by EY, GBCA held an interactive workshop with 50 industry stakeholders to inform a national pathway to improving energy productivity within this building sector.
Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia: A national pathway to improving energy productivity, released today, identifies the barriers and opportunities that exist to encourage better development. It is intended the report and pathway document be used by industry and government to “guide and inform the development of future policies and programs, including through the National Energy Productivity Plan”.
It states that the uptake of energy efficiency improvements in the mid-tier sector – which makes up half of all Australia’s office space – has been slow due the fact that tenants are predominantly small- to medium-sized organisations with no corporate sustainability agenda and “limited knowledge of energy efficiency”, are run by those who have difficulty accessing capital, and owned by hard-to-reach people, such as foreign investors).
Mid-tier buildings also tend to have lower rental returns from smaller/older buildings, and reactive maintenance of plant equipment and lighting.