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80,000 mid-tier buildings under the energy productivity spotlight

A new pathway for mid-tier commercial office buildings aims to tackle the energy productivity of up to 80,000 buildings around Australia.

Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia: A national pathway to improving energy productivity takes a snapshot of the nation’s mid-tier office building sector, outlines key stakeholders, and identifies barriers and the opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry Innovation and Science commissioned the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to undertake the project, with support from Sustainability Victoria, City of Melbourne and EY.

“Twenty three per cent of our CBD office stock is now Green Star-rated, and the industry has been extremely effective at tackling the energy efficiency of premium and A-grade building stock,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“However, a large portion of the market has lagged behind due to a range of barriers, split incentives, lack of skills and expertise.  While pathways had been identified in the past – such as changes to regulation and innovation in green building – this pathway document outlines the challenges and opportunities, and charts a new course for the industry.”

Mid-tier buildings are commonly defined as the B, C and D-grade buildings, usually found in the capital city CBDs and fringe areas, suburban centres and some regional towns.

Commercial buildings account for about 10 per cent of the nation’s overall energy consumption.

Launching the report at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in Melbourne, the GBCA's Director of Advocacy Katy Dean said Australia had up to 52 million square metres of mid-tier building stock.

“Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is widely regarded as one of the most cost-effective opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The mid-tier office sector presents huge opportunities, and our industry can be an exemplar for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction around the world.”

The pathway document includes a list of actions, including a Building Retrofit Toolkit which will establish best practice in retrofits and tune-ups in mid-tier buildings, and reviewing the scope of the current Commercial Buildings Disclosure program to encompass smaller office buildings.

Other actions include building a business case for energy efficiency upgrades, conducting further research to better understand the sector and its stakeholders, and establishing a sector network to increase collaboration, innovation and exchange.

Download Mid-tier commercial office buildings in Australia: A national pathway to improving energy productivity.