Latest Industry News

20.4.2011 - Green Tax Breaks Off The Table

The Federal government has axed the $1billion tax breaks for green buildings program from the coming budget and put it up for consultation for 12 months after a storm of protests from the property industry about its design.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten yesterday said the government had decided to delay the scheme for 12 months from its former 1 July starting date this year and would conduct “further consultations around the Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program to deliver the best outcomes for industry.”

31.1.2011 - Green Building Fund Round 7

The Federal goverments' Green Building Fund Round 7 is now open for applications. The round closes at 5pm on Tuesday 29 March 2011. For detailed information about the eligibility, merit criteria and the updated process for applications, visit the AusIndustry web site at or contact us for details.

The Green Building Fund aims to reduce the impact of Australia's built environment on green house gas emissions, by reducing energy consumed in the operation of existing commercial office buildings, hotels and shopping centres.

1.11.2010 - Mandatory Commercial Building Disclosure scheme commences

The Federal governments mandatory commercial building disclosure scheme commences today, with the first 12-months seeing a reduced assessment requirement. The proposed tenancy lighting assessment and energy efficiency improvements report components of the Building Energy Efficiency Certificate have been delayed for 12 months to facilitate implementation improvements and further assessor training.

From 1st November 2010 most sellers or lessors of office space over 2,000sqm will have to disclose their energy efficiency at the point of sale or lease. The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 means businesses could potentially be caught out if their NABERS ratings aren't up to date.

10.3.2010 - NSW Electricity Price Surge

NSW Business Chamber's Policy Director, Paul Orton commented, "Today's determination by IPART into the pricing of electricity in NSW will see electricity prices rise by at least 36% over the next three years for the average small business". IPART also detailed if the Federal Government's CPRS emissions trading scheme proceeds, NSW's electricity which is mostly sourced from coal-fired generators in the Hunter Valley would increase by up to 60% over the next three years.

IPART is the independent economic regulator for NSW. IPART oversees regulation in the electricity, gas, water and transport industries and undertakes other tasks referred to it by the NSW Government. Yet to respond to IPART's recommendations, the NSW Government is still considering privatising its electricity assets ahead of next years State elections.

25.2.2010 - Rating Tools to Collaborate

A memorandum of understanding signed between the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water and Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) and the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) which adminsters NABERS, and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) which manages Green Star, outlines the parties future commitment to share tool development, benchmarks and methodologies to strengthen both rating systems.

Speaking at Green Cities 2010 in Melbourne, DECCW's Manager Built Environment, Matthew Clark, said: "The collaboration will help close the loop between the design and construction professions and those who ultimately operate and occupy a building. This commitment to work together and share knowledge will result in more sustainable outcomes for Australian buildings."

Chief Executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew, said: ""We are committed to working together to develop a common language for both rating tools and the metrics that underpin them. This will deliver greater compatibility between the assessment attributes covered by Green Star and performance of key impact areas such as energy, water and waste, which are assessed by NABERS."

12.11.2009 - Mandatory Disclosure for Commercial Offices

"Australia’s federal and state governments have agreed to a new national scheme to improve the energy efficiency of commercial office buildings", Environment Minister, Peter Garrett announced in a media release today. "Starting in the second half of 2010, building owners will need to provide up-to-date energy efficiency information when they sell, lease or sub-lease office space covering more than 2,000 square metres. This means all parties—the building owner and potential buyers or tenants—will have access to consistent, credible and meaningful information about a building’s energy efficiency and make informed decisions when they buy or rent office space", Mr Garrett said.

"Greener offices are not only more comfortable to work in, they can also boost productivity, bring down sick leave, support green building industry jobs and have the potential to deliver savings of 20-40 percent on energy bills. Energy efficiency is a fast, cheap way of making inroads into Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This scheme will provide a strong incentive in the market for building owners to improve their properties by investing in cost-effective energy efficient upgrades", said Mr Garrett.

Building owners will need to disclose a valid Building Energy Efficiency Certificate, which will include a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy base building star rating. It will also include an assessment of the lighting energy efficiency of tenancies and some suggestions on how to improve the building’s energy efficiency. Owners who don’t comply will risk a fine or prosecution.

11.11.2009 - The Cost of Going Green

As larger companies gear up for the Government’s new reporting rules on energy consumption, medium sized businesses will have to follow suit, experts warn. From the end of the October, corporations such as property trusts, will have to start reporting their energy and greenhouse performance to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS). Penalty rates are up to $220,000, and a further $11,000 a day for non-compliance. The disclosure rules will then progressively cascade down to medium-sized business.

As well, anyone selling or leasing out commercial space of more than 2,000 net square metres will have to disclose their energy consumption under the National Australian Built Environment Ratings System (NABERS) by mid to late next year. Penalty rates are set to exceed $100,000 and public naming for non-compliance.

21.6.2009 - Retro-greening pays for ageing offices

A study commissioned by the Property Council of Australia to be released today, reports Australia's ageing office buildings can be environmentally upgraded and estimates that sustainability initiatives can achieve internal rates of return of over 10 per cent over a 10-year period. The study did not quantify the impact of a CPRS on office property, but points out that energy costs will rise under the scheme, making energy efficiency initiatives more valuable and energy efficient buildings more attractive through improved payback periods and improved net present values.

The study notes that Australia has over 60 million square metres of existing office space. Most is over 25 years old and more than 90 percent would have a NABERS rating of less than three out of five stars. The study analysed the impact of four levels of sustainability upgrade on three generic office types - a 20,000 sq m CBD tower, a 15,000 sq m city-fringe high rise and a 2,800 sq m suburban office, all built in the 1980's. The modelling sweet spot was a level-three upgrade, a major work involving replacement of the central plant and some of the building facade, costing close to $1,000 a sq m. The invesment moved the NABERS energy rating up to 4.5, and cut CO2 emissions and water use by 50 percent.