New BEEC Requirements for Small Commercial Buildings

Ian Van Eerden, Brian Fung

From 1 July 2017, changes to the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program will see a lowering of the mandatory disclosure threshold from 2000 to 1000 square metres. It means owners of commercial offices of 1000 square metres or more will now require a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before leasing, subleasing or selling.  

A BEEC is valid for 12 months and contains:

  • NABERS energy star rating – grading the efficiency and operations of the building under the National Australian Building Environment Rating System (NABERS). The system divides energy consumption by the occupied lettable area of the building to create a comparable measure. The building is awarded with a simple star rating between 0 and six stars, with the industry average currently just over four stars.
  • A Tenant Lighting Assessment (TLA) – evaluating how a tenancy will perform in terms of lighting efficiency. While the NABERS rating applies to an entire building, a TLA is assessed on a tenancy by tenancy basis within a specified area of the building.
  • Generic recommendations – suggesting how energy efficiency might be improved. It’s a starting point for tenants to question their landlords, leasing agents and facility managers.

The CBD program is designed to provide facilities managers and building owners with a comparable means for determining the energy performance of their building and measuring enhancements to it over time. Access to this information helps to improve building operations and reduce risk.  Energy efficient upgrades are also likely to entice buyers and tenants and increase capital value.

Further, improving the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings and has already reduced end-use energy consumption by 10,020 TJ and delivered an abatement of 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG). The financial benefits between 2010 and 2014 have equated to $15 million, or $44 million if you include GHG reductions.

By expanding the scheme to include mid-tier and lower-tier commercial office buildings, the government expects to save a further 17,395 TJ of energy and abate over 3.5 million tonnes of GHG. The financial saving is forecast at around $60 million by 2019. 

Overall, having a robust and reputable assessment of your building’s energy performance in a publicly available document will help to justify building upgrades, automation and time-saving measures. Periodic evaluations will provide a regular touchstone to discuss energy use with tenants who can enquire about the building and even help to monitor systems for operational issues.

Ian Van Eerden is a Senior Sustainability consultant in the Sydney office. If you'd like more information please get in touch

Full article published in the June/July issue of FM Magazine

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