2 August 2011 – The Total Environment Centre is in search of C and D grade buildings in Sydney that have been successfully upgraded, or are in the process of doing so in order to develop a set of case studies to assist other owners.

According to manager of the project Matt Fisher, the buildings will have set out to achieve a NABERS Energy rating of 4 – 4.5 stars

Mr Fisher said such buildings were far from scarce; “most” existing office buildings were of a poor environmental quality, he said, but many were also prime candidates for upgrade.

However, there were myriad barriers preventing upgrade and change to great sustainability, Mr Fisher said, and these would not be overcome without the building owners and tenants gaining awareness and knowledge about how and why existing buildings should be upgraded in this way.

The project will profile leaders in the lower rating property sector, and share their motivations and experiences in pursuing improved sustainability performance in retrofitting their buildings.

Mr Fisher said a series of case studies and information on the State and Commonwealth financial incentives and how to take advantage of them would be presented at industry information events and distributed by the TEC.

This project builds on two previous projects undertaken by the TEC under the “Existing Buildings Project” but both those projects related to B Grade to Premium buildings.

“It is for that reason the TEC sought funding for this project to extend sustainability upgrades to the lower performing sector, “Mr Fisher said.

The Existing Buildings Project was funded by a NSW Government climate action grant, which  brought together 25 commercial property groups, including GPT Group, Macquarie Office Trust, the Local Government and Superannuation Scheme, Australian Prime Property Fund and Brookfield Multiplex.

The aim was to explore how office buildings owners could achieve the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to avoid dangerous climate change, and commit to upgrading their entire office building stock to an improved energy rating of either 4.5 or 4.0 from NABERS

Matt Fisher

“These commitments equated to over 10 per cent of Australian investment grade floor space in CBDs throughout the country, “Mr Fisher said.

“Lessons for Leaders” 2010 – a City of Sydney Environmental Grant Education project  – explored the same theme providing case studies and education sessions with A and B upgrading, and education sessions to inform building owners about the drivers and barriers to sustainable upgrades.

The project is funded by the NSW Environment Trust, whose committee is appointed by the state government.

To contribute to this project contact Matt Fisher on mattf@tec.org.au