28 November 2012 — The NSW Government has launched a comprehensive energy management guide for office tenants that unlocks some of the mystery about energy use and also provides practical advice on how to negotiate with landlords to obtain better overall energy performances for base building and tenancy.

The launch coincides with the release, from the Office of Environment and Heritage, of the Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Report.

The Guide, NABERS Energy Management Guide for Tenants, goes into detail about what items can be worked into a lease agreement, whether the lease is new or up for renegotiation.

For instance, in one case, “Scenario B: You are about to renegotiate your current lease or you are negotiating a new lease” tenants are able to “seek a commitment from your landlord to achieve and maintain a high NABERS Energy rating for the base building (for example 4.5 stars) within a specified timeframe (for example 18 to 24 months)”.

The guide suggests that lease negotiations can mean energy performance clauses can be worked into the contract. The landlord might, for instance be able to:

  • install energy-efficient lighting
  • provide individually switched lighting zones
  • set the Building Management System to turn lighting off at 6 pm
  • provide override switches connected to lighting zones
  • provide adequate sub-metering of tenancy energy use (that is tenancy lighting and office equipment) so energy use can be monitored and reported.

Energy efficient measures can be incorporated in both the base building and the tenancy, the Guide says.

It might be possible to minimise the impact of the “make good” provisions that force a tenant to return the tenancy to the same state that existed before the lease, whether this is rational or not.

“Seek professional advice about a make-good arrangement that will minimise your costs and waste at the end of your lease,” the guide suggests.

There’s advice about how to manage the human factor in an organisation in order to get things started.

The spark could come from a “motivated employee who wants to work in a more sustainable workplace or it may start with management wanting to achieve a smaller carbon footprint”.

You might need an “energy champion”.

A simple energy management policy might include:

  • a declaration of commitment from senior management
  • a recording of the starting energy use baseline
  • performance targets
  • an action plan
  • recording procedure
  • reporting format and timing
  • review procedures – a monitoring and reporting system
  • budgetary considerations.

There’s even advice about how to lead behaviour change.

“You should never underestimate the value of encouraging participation and cooperation by staff and management in using energy wisely.”

Knight Frank, for instance, conducts random computer audits to make sure staff shut down their computers overnight.

A light-hearted touch can work. For instance, those who did the right thing might find a chocolate on the desk the next day, others, a black balloon.

Examples of achievements include:

  •  Colliers achieved a 4 Star NABERS energy rating through management commitment and encouraging staff to change their behaviour. The high NABERS energy rating was achieved without the use of contemporary lighting technologies.
  •  EP&T used smart metering to reduce energy consumption. In one incident, site managers were able to identify and disable an override on the air conditioning system, saving $6286 a year.
  •  A Canberra tenant used lease negotiations to obtain energy efficiency improvements from the building owner, such as improvements in base building services and lighting initiatives.
  •  The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors installed high tech energy-efficient lighting, increasing upfront costs but leading to greater energy savings. RICS achieved a 5 Star NABERS energy tenancy rating 15 months after the installation was completed. Energy consumption was reduced by 44 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Report is designed to help businesses choose the right lighting upgrade through outlining the technical specifications and business case for various lighting options.

The report says efficient lighting systems not only reduce energy consumption but improve the working environment, increase safety and enhance staff well-being.

It addresses a range of lighting improvements including for interior lighting, exterior and road lighting, emergency and exit lighting, lighting control and technical specifications for each lighting upgrade option including illuminance, maintenance, safety and background calculations.

The report also says it is important to review the lighting operations of facilities “in a holistic manner”.

NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker said the NABERS Guide would help tenants in office buildings to manage their energy use efficiently “while still having the light, warmth, cooling and power needed to support their business’s operations”.

Guide Project Advisory Group members included Desiree Sheehan (City of Sydney),?Eric Yeo (NSW Government Architect’s Office), Greg Johnson (Stockland), Jim McBryde (Glasgow Hart), Susannah West (NSW State Property Authority) and Stephen Veber (Cundall).

Steve Hennessy (AHA Engineering), David McEwen (Colliers International) and Philip Whiting (PV Interiors) provided technical support.