by Tina Perinotto
According to the Retrogreening Offices in Australia report released earlier this year by development consultant Davis Langdon, around 100,000 jobs in a decade, or 27,000 new jobs a year at a cost of $26 billion over the 10 year period.
That’s not bad news in a climate that is looking more than shaky right now with the Construction Forecasting Council expecting the construction industry will contract by $12 billion during the next two years and shed more than 75,000 jobs and drop by 37 per cent this year this year in terms of activity (48 per cent next year).
All grim news, but not if you look at the opportunity to green the sector, according to Davis Langdon managing director, Mark Beattie.
Bring in some incentives such as accelerated depreciation entitlements for building owners and you could soften the blow of the downturn by more than a little.
“Our research suggests that building owners can use this ‘down time’ to reposition their assets, increase energy efficiency and improve value,” Mr Beattie said in a media release accompanying the report.
“By rethinking the way building owners invest, there are opportunities to achieve greenhouse gas reductions while creating a raft of employment opportunities as well as improving productivity and improving the performance of a significant part of our built environment.”
Mr Beattie said 81 per cent of Australia’s existing commercial office stock is over 10 years of age, with a need for refurbishment.
“This represents more than 17.5 million metres of office space, and nearly 90 per cent of this is A grade or B grade stock desperately in need of upgrade.
“Retrogreening such a significant quantity of office stock across the nation would create direct employment for more than 10,000 people engaged in construction each year, which means generating almost 27,000 new jobs across the broader economy.
“Further benefit comes from the fact that this type of work sees a quick flow on to industry, and there is a substantial replacement of otherwise ‘lost’ jobs.”
For every job created in this way, there would be 130 tonnes of greenhouse gasses saved, or 1.4 million tonnes, equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road, the report said.
And that’s not even counting the savings in energy – of up to 42 per cent less power required – that would take the load off the “already overstretched infrastructure.”
– by Tina Perinotto