Peter Garrett earlier this year

13 October 2009 – Environment Minister, Peter Garrett yesterday outlined the shape of the mandatory disclosure rules for commercial buildings.

From July next year, building owners will be required to provide up-to-date energy efficiency information when they sell or lease office space covering more than 2000 square metres.

Speaking at the inaugural Energy Efficiency Council National Conference the minister said: “This means all parties – the building owner and potential buyers or tenants – will have access to consistent, credible and meaningful information about a building’s energy efficiency and make informed decisions when they buy or rent office space.

“Greener offices are not only more comfortable to work in, they can also boost productivity, bring down sick leave, support green building industry jobs and have the potential to deliver savings of 20-40 per cent on energy bills.

“Energy efficiency is a fast, cheap way of making inroads into Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This scheme will provide a strong incentive in the market for building owners to improve their properties by investing in cost-effective energy efficient upgrades. The disclosure scheme will also apply to office buildings owned by the Australian Government, in line with the Government’s commitments under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency.”

Building owners will need to disclose a valid Building Energy Efficiency Certificate, which will include a National Australian Built Environment Rating System Energy base building star rating. It will also include an assessment of the lighting energy efficiency of tenancies and some suggestions on how to improve the building’s energy efficiency. Owners who don’t comply will risk a fine or prosecution.

“If you are planning on selling or leasing office space, the first NABERS Energy base building star rating can take time. I encourage building owners to start now to prepare for the introduction of this measure,” Mr Garrett said.

Australian, state and territory government energy ministers recently approved the parameters of the new disclosure scheme for office building energy efficiency, with Commonwealth legislation now being developed to give effect to the scheme in the second half of 2010.

“To ensure that businesses are aware of the requirements of the new scheme, my Department will be co-hosting seminars around Australia with the Property Council of Australia in the coming months,” Mr Garrett added.

This scheme is part of an ambitious plan to make Australia’s homes and businesses more energy efficient, by improving base standards and star ratings for appliances, equipment and buildings, and by phasing out inefficient technologies.

For the details, see www.environment.gov.au/buildings

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