Building energy disclosure requirements are expanding

by Energy Action | Jul 04, 2016
The Federal Government recently announced an expansion of the Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme. It is anticipated an additional 1000 commercial buildings will now be required to disclose their energy efficiency ratings at the time of sale or lease.

As described in a previous edition of the Energy Market Update, the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program as it currently stands, 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.

Following the announcement by the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia on 21 June 2016, building owners will need to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate whenever an office space of 1000 square metres or more is offered for sale or lease.

These changes will commence on 1 July 2017 after a one year transition period. 

A Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC), which provides energy efficiency information will be required when commercial office space above the mandatory disclosure threshold is offered for sale or lease. A BEEC is also required prior to advertising the space on the market to ensure that prospective buyers and tenants are able to take into account the costs and other factors associated with the energy efficiency of the premises when making a purchase or leasing decision.

Lowering of the mandatory disclosure threshold is complemented by a decision to increase the Tenancy Lighting Assessment validity period, also known as a TLA, from one to five years.  Changes to the TLA validity period requirements are proposed to take effect for all new TLAs submitted from 1 September 2016.  This means that building owners already covered by the program will now enjoy extended validity for their TLAs, which should reduce their regulatory burden.

The further expansion of the scheme follows a review by ACIL Allen Consulting which concluded the CBD Program has delivered $44 million in benefits over the previous four years by assisting to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings.

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.

According to Government statements, by continuing the Commercial CBD Program and reducing the mandatory disclosure threshold to 1000 square metres, the program is projected to provide a reduction in end use energy consumption of 17,395 TJ and abatement of over 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. This will also deliver around $60 million in benefits over the period from 2015 to 2019.

Prospective buyers and tenants of smaller commercial buildings will now be able to make more informed choices about energy efficiency when purchasing or leasing a property.

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