Energy saving information and programs for business in Australia are constantly evolving due to new technology and, most especially, changes in government policy and funding. The following is just some of the national initiatives currently available, and in development, as at mid-year 2014.
- Department of Industry – a suite of 18 fact sheets focused on the energy efficient operation of HVAC systems. The factsheets are designed to provide a quick overview and reference on specific topics of relevance to building owners, facility managers and the HVAC industry to inform, educate and encourage energy efficiency in HVAC operations. Also available is the Guide to Best Practice Maintenance and Operation of HVAC Systems for Energy Efficiency.
- The Energy Efficiency Exchange – a joint initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments administered by the Department of Industry. It aims to support the development and implementation of energy management and energy efficiency strategies by providing quality information from respected national and international sources in one location. It features case studies, energy-saving opportunities and other guidance material on ways to reduce demand, optimise and upgrade systems across a range of technologies, including HVAC, waste heat recovery, metering and monitoring. eex.gov.au
- RICS Leasa – best practice guidance and app for SME commercial office tenants from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The Leasa application aims to promote the benefits of high-performing buildings, facilitate better market transparency and allow for more informed decisions regarding commercial workspaces. The tool allows offices around Australia to be searched, ranked and compared on sustainability and cost merit, ensuring tenants can make smart choices when deciding on the most energy-efficient and cost-effective space.
Rating systems and tools
- NABERS – the National Australian Built Environment Rating System is the national system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. www.nabers.gov.au
- Calculating Cool – currently in development and expected to be launched late 2014, this is an online self-assessment tool designed to measure the energy efficiency of office building HVAC systems. Designed with facilities managers in mind, the tool makes use of both quantitative data and qualitative information about HVAC systems either designed or in operation to benchmark a systems energy efficiency performance and help identify potential areas for improvement. Tool development is being managed by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Council of Australian Government’s Energy Efficiency Working Group and Buildings Committee.
Programs – national
- Commercial Building Disclosure Program – this program requires most sellers and lessors of office space of 2000 square metres to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before the building goes on the market for sale, lease or sublease. BEECs are valid for up to 12 months and comprise: the building’s NABERS Energy star rating, a tenancy lighting assessment of the relevant area of the building and general energy efficiency guidance. The aim of the program is to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings and to ensure prospective buyers and tenants are informed. The website includes a register of all current BEECs as well as a dataset containing all historic BEEC data providing a valuable resource not only to prospective buyers and tenants, but also to facility managers (and other interested parties) as they can use the information to benchmark the overall energy efficiency of the buildings they manage, as well as the efficiency of the lighting in the office areas. www.cbd.gov.au
- Smart Blocks – an online energy efficiency toolkit designed with and for key stakeholders in the residential strata sector Australia-wide. The toolkit aims to educate and guide users through the process of considering and undertaking energy efficiency projects within a strata-titled development, allowing users to gather and share information across all building types. www.smartblocks.com.au
- CitySwitch – a no-cost service that supports commercial office tenants to improve office energy efficiency through the provision of a range of services, with the ultimate aim of achieving a four-star or higher NABERS Energy rating. www.cityswitch.net.au
A more comprehensive list of national and state government and industry programs available to support businesses to evaluate their energy use and implement energy-efficient practices, systems and technologies is available on the Energy Efficiency Exchange website.