Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme Update - April 2010

Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Scheme
Released by Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency April 2010

UPDATE – APRIL 2010

The commercial office building energy efficiency disclosure scheme has reached a critical milestone with the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill introduced to Parliament on
18 March 2010.

The aim of the Bill is to ensure that credible and meaningful energy efficiency information is given to prospective purchasers and lessees of large commercial office space.

Once the legislation is passed, building owners will have to provide a Building Energy
Efficiency Certificate when they sell or lease office space covering more than 2,000 m².

The scheme is a COAG commitment under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency. It is
being managed by the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy
Efficiency. Australian, state and territory government energy ministers approved the policy
parameters of the commercial building disclosure scheme in November 2009.

The Bill requires owners and lessors of commercial office space with a net lettable area of
2,000 m² or more to disclose a valid Building Energy Efficiency Certificate to prospective
purchasers and tenants when the space is to be sold, leased or subleased. The Building
Energy Efficiency Certificate will include three components:
1. a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy base building rating
2. a tenancy lighting assessment
3. energy efficiency guidance.

The Building Energy Efficiency Certificate will be valid for up to 12 months. At the time of disclosure, the certificate will need to be valid, current and registered on the scheme’s online central registry (currently being developed). The NABERS Energy star rating will need to be disclosed in any advertisement about the sale, lease or sublease of the office.

Seminar series
In November and December 2009 a commercial building disclosure scheme seminar series was delivered in major capital cities, in partnership with the Property Council of Australia.
The seminars attracted more than 700 attendees from across the commercial property sector.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. More than 90 per cent of respondents said that they would attend future seminars or workshops on the disclosure scheme and would recommend them to colleagues. In line with this, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is planning an additional national workshop series in mid-2010. The workshops, for those involved in large commercial office building transactions, will explain the requirements of the scheme and provide information about how to comply.

Likely start date
It is anticipated that the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill will be passed by mid-2010 and that all other legislation will be in place for the disclosure requirements to come into effect around October 2010.

Transition arrangements
The Bill contains transitional provisions that will apply for the first 12 months after the scheme starts. Under these provisions, an existing NABERS Energy base building rating, obtained before the disclosure requirements come into effect, and that is within its 12 month validity period, can be disclosed in lieu of a full Building Energy Efficiency Certificate.

Tenancy lighting assessment and energy efficiency guidance
Two new components are being developed for inclusion in the Building Energy Efficiency
Certificate: the tenancy lighting assessment and energy efficiency guidance material.

The tenancy lighting assessment will benchmark the existing tenancy lighting (that will be passed on to the incoming tenant or building owner) against best practice. Accredited assessors will complete a relatively straightforward survey of the lighting and enter data into a calculator. The survey will be undertaken with the NABERS Energy assessment. A prototype tool has been developed and will be refined over the coming months.

The energy efficiency guidance will provide general advice to building owners and tenants on common energy efficiency opportunities in commercial office buildings. The material will not be tailored to the individual building and will not be an energy audit.

The scheme will not require building owners to undertake a comprehensive energy audit.

Assessor training and accreditation
Once the tenancy lighting assessment process has been finalised, and the final details of the legislation are known, formal training and accreditation will begin. This will supplement the current NABERS training and accreditation program delivered by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

Advice for building owners
• Energy use and sustainability considerations are increasingly becoming part of decision making processes.
• A NABERS Energy base building star rating gives building owners a useful snapshot of their building’s energy efficiency. It is also a good way to understand what is involved in obtaining a rating.
• It is likely that NABERS Energy base building ratings obtained between now and the scheme’s start date will be able to be disclosed under the transitional arrangements.

More information
Visit www.environment.gov.au/buildings to find out more about this initiative.
Email your questions to commercialbuildings@environment.gov.au.