Commercial buildings next on the block for carbon cuts

Commercial buildings next on the block for carbon cuts

Many of Australia’s buildings fall outside the scope of a disclosure regime that the federal government intends to expand to better capture energy and emissions information.

Non-residential buildings contribute about 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the economy, meaning that reducing their carbon footprint could make a significant difference, according to Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister.

Expanding an existing program would drive cost savings for business and significant emissions cuts in the commercial buildings sector, Senator McAllister will tell an industry audience on Friday.

The commercial building disclosure (CBD) program requires energy efficiency information to be provided, in most cases, when commercial office space of 1000 square meters or more is offered for sale or lease.

The program aims to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings and to ensure prospective buyers and tenants have enough information.

Since 2010, there has been a 35 per cent reduction in base building energy usage per square meter for office buildings covered by the program.

“The CBD program has a proven record helping commercial buildings cut the emissions and energy use,” she said.

“Energy performance can reduce emission, improve the comfort for building tenants and help save on energy costs.”

She said the government would seek feedback until mid-September on options to expand the program to different types of commercial buildings and more ownership structures including trusts, partnerships and individuals.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, energy efficiency and electrification can deliver almost half of the global emissions abatement needed by 2050.