February 2017 Newsletter

In this issue:


Welcome to the 2017 NettZero February Newsletter

The NettZero team wish all our readers a propserous 2017. Last year was both a demanding and rewarding year that will be used as a benchmark to improve on for the year ahead.

Applying the principles of continuous improvement, one of our core objectives this year is to focus on further improvements in our service delivery. Additionally, we're planning to introduce more clients to new sustainability tools that are now available. 

The NettZero team continues to growh with new staff, projects and opportunities. Our most recent team member, Lisa Williams, has several years of valuable industry experience, and is a well known and respected NABERS professional. Additionally, our Sydney team grew by another two as we welcomed Atif and Kevin in late 2016. All three new team members have now settled in and are making a significant contribution. 

Several recent articles re-enforce confidence and value in the future of sustainability in the property sector. In this newsletter we discuss; two steps the government is taking to create greener cities, findings from a study on the relationship between 'green buildings' and increased working performance, and a 'must read' for property owners, facility managers and tenants on transforming the mid-tier sector. 

Fun fact: 

Best wishes,

Matt.

Government Drive for Greener Cities

Better cities are on the horizon after a recent announcement made by the Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor. Mr Taylor outlined the Federal Government's commitment to a National Cities Performance Framework that delivers more productive, resilient, sustainable and liveable communities across Australia. 

The Minister said: "An important way we can improve the performance of our cities is by measuring their progress on key indicators - population growth, land use, society, the economy and the environment". 

The underlying punch line in Minister Taylor's speech was, 'If you can't measure it, you can't improve it'. This is one of NettZero's basic principles so we believe that this approach should see improvements in the key indicators. 

Throughout the plan there is a drive to use smart technology, disruptive energy efficiency technology and to utilise the opportunity of using standards to improve sustainability. 

The plans will increase the potential benfits for property owners willing to make the switch to energy efficient alternatives. However, it's expected that the value and recognition of having a building rated under the NABERS and Green Star Performance Assessments will continue to increase significantly. 

If you're interested in getting a NABERS, BEEC or Green Star Performance rating or want to get the most value out of your building certification, contact us


Indoor Built Environment and Working Performance

Workers in certified green buildings perform 26% better on cognitive function tests than workers in non-certified ones.

This was one of the findings of a study conducted by a team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

 The study examined cognitive functions in 109 office workers across 10 high-performing buildings in America. Of the 10 buildings, 6 had a formal LEED Certification (similar to Green Star), however, all buildings exceeding the ASHRAE standard for ventilation, indoor quality and had low volatile organice compound concentrations.

Over the span of a week, workers performed two sets of cognitive function tests, sleep quality tests, and took part in health surveys that analysed 19 established sick building syndromes symptoms. The participants were also surveyed about their satisfaction with their office environments, including noise levels, lighting and thermal comfort.

The findings were then compared to conventional office buildings. The following are some of the significant findings of workers in green certified buildings:

The team aims to continue their research in 'Buildingomics' to provide information that can be used by building practioners to improve the performance of buildings. This will be done by refining their findings to the key influences on the productivity and health of workers.

These findings help recognise the importance and value of green buildings and good indoor air quality (IAQ) as well as the direct and indirect benefits that are associated. In Australia, the highest regarded certification program for IAQ is NABERS Indoor Environment Rating. Click here to get in touch with us. 

 

A 'Must Read' on the Mid-Tier Sector

Recent changes to the CBD Scheme, to lower the required office area of buildings from 1000sqm to 2000sqm, has opened discussions on the opportunity for this sector. In Victoria alone the mid tier accounts for approximately 80% of all office buildings and nationally takes up close to half of the total floor space.

The analysis and real-world examples found in Sustainability Victoria's Energy Efficient Office Buildings: Transforming the Mid-Tier Sector Report are undoubtedly a 'must read' for property owners, facility managers and tenants of older buildings in the mid-tier sector. Sustainability Victoria's rport demonstrates that although approaching this market may be a challenging task, the benefits associated are compelling.  

Across the program's 20 particapting Victorian buildings, average benefits include:

Overall, the program is estimated to deliver:

hAdditionally, other reported co-benefits of the EEOB program include:

The report also analyses common perceptions that are stopping property owners, facility managers or tenants from taking action. Sustainability Victoria provides evidence and examples on how these perceptions are often incorrect. They also provide some advice on how to take the first steps to grasp the opportunities in energy effiency buildings. 

 

Overall, we see a positive trend for the sustainable property industry for 2017 and the following years to come. Changes to the CBD Program, the increasing awareness of the vales that coincide with buildings sustainability and the recent drive from government reinforce this. We look forward to working hard to assist our clients' in achieving their goals, whilst offering a wide range of services to further benefit existing and future clients' sustainability goals.