Commercial Building Disclosure – Program Review

by Energy Action | Mar 07, 2016
Following a recent review by ACIL Allen Consulting commissioned by the Department of Industry and Science, Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, released the Commercial Building Disclosure Program Review for public consultation.

As described in a previous edition of the Energy Market Update, the current Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program mandates the disclosure of energy efficiency information for commercial office spaces of at least 2000 m2. Disclosure of this information assists prospective buyers and tenants in making informed decisions which in turn encourages building owners to implement energy efficiency measures.

The review by ACIL Allen Consulting concluded the CBD Program has delivered $44 million in benefits over the last four years by assisting to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings and highlights a number of key findings and recommendations:

1. The CBD Program is an appropriate program that complements a suite of related government policies and programs, and should continue.
2. 
The CBD Program has been effective in inducing positive behaviour change in relation to commercial building energy efficiency in affected buildings, resulting in significant benefits.
3. 
The CBD Program remains the principal Commonwealth Government program for driving energy efficiency improvements in the office sector.
4. 
The focus for the CBD Program should remain on office buildings.
5. 
The CBD Program is expected to deliver further benefits in energy reduction and greenhouse gas abatement.

ACIL Allen Consulting’s analysis found that improvements in base building energy performance, as measured by the building’s National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating, has delivered cumulative benefits of $44 million between 2010 and 2014 – well in excess of the program’s costs. The review also found a reduction in end-use energy consumption of 10,020 terajoules (TJ) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 2,051 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent (ktCO2-e) were indicated over the period 2010 to 2023.

Minister Frydenberg agreed that the CBD Program will continue and consideration would be given to the recommended regulatory changes to the program that is projected to deliver an additional $13 million in energy efficiency benefits by 2028 and streamline industry regulatory obligations.  The proposed changes to the program include:            

Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency information on buildings from 2,000m2 to 1,000m2 to capture smaller office buildings; and
Extending the certification validity period for the energy efficiency office lighting assessment, known as a tenancy lighting assessment (TLA), from one to five years.

Any changes to the CBD program will be preceded by a one year transition period following ministerial approval.  It is anticipated that any changes to the program will not become mandatory until July 2017 at the earliest.

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