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NSW plan for energy efficiency can save billions

Now is the time for the NSW Government to lead by example and capture the benefits of more energy-efficient buildings, says the nation’s authority on green building and communities.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has commended the NSW Government’s new Energy Efficiency Action Plan, launched last Friday 16 August.

“We applaud the NSW Government for its leadership and commitment to improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, which can help households, businesses and the government to save money, while at the same time reducing the state’s carbon footprint,” says the GBCA’s Advocacy Manager, Katy Dean.

“Investing in energy efficiency can save the people of NSW billions of dollars each year.  The NSW Government estimates that energy efficiency measures in households alone could save up to $5.2 billion a year.  An investment in retrofitting NSW government buildings is estimated to deliver up to $110 million in savings over the next four years.

“We are particularly pleased with the suite of policies and programs that prioritise Green Leases, provide access to funding or finance mechanisms for building upgrades, and commit to NABERS Energy ratings for commercial buildings.

“We also welcome the establishment of a team of energy efficiency specialists to help key agencies identify and implement energy efficiency projects.  We encourage the swift implementation of this program across the whole of the NSW Government, which would match the commitment made by the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings program that is set to save $2 billion over 20 years. . “Energy efficiency is a great place to start, but even greater savings are possible if issues like water, waste and indoor environment quality are also considered.  By looking holistically at each building, the NSW Government can provide better economic, social and environmental outcomes for the state,” Ms Dean says.

The new Green Star – Performance rating tool, which will be launched in October, can assist the NSW Government to track the operational performance of different types of building across its portfolio, and set benchmarks and targets before embarking on ongoing upgrade and retrofit programs. 

“Achieving Green Star – Performance ratings for NSW Government buildings will demonstrate leadership, accountability and a commitment to best practice.  It will also help the NSW Government to realise these ambitious goals and deliver buildings that are more efficient, productive, affordable and sustainable,” Ms Dean concludes.

The GBCA has developed a three-point plan for better buildings and communities, which outlines three priorities for governments in Australia.  These are: visionary government leadership; retrofitting and improving existing buildings; and moving from building to communities.