Clover Moore during a CitySwitch awards event

22 February 2012 – The City of Sydney will extend funding to the CitySwitch program for another three years with a $770,000 funding injection  as the energy savings program for buildings continues to grow.

The national program, which requires its signatories to achieve 4 or more stars on the NABERS Energy rating system, has attracted 104 signatories in the Sydney metropolitan area. Nationally it claims that  since its inception in June 2008,  it has verified 26,000 tonnes of carbon emission reductions over 1.7 million square metres of office space.

Recent signatories include legal firm Norton Rose, which said it has  saved $42,000 a year in energy costs in NSW.

Last year the firm won an award in the program and has now extended its commitment to Perth, Brisbane and ACT offices – a total of 25,000 square metres.

Residential agency LJ Hooker recently signed up its Sydney headquarters to the program as a way to back what it says will be new commitments to environmental concerns.

LJ Hooker chief executive officer Janusz Hooker said the company was mindful that buildings contributed to 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are committed to lowering the impact that our head office has on the environment,” he said.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that nationally there was now 10 per cent of commercial space signed to the program, which commits members to achieving 4 stars or higher on the NABERS rating scale.

The City of Sydney, late last year committed a further $40,000 for grants of up to $1000 each to assist tenants – especially smaller ones – achieve a NABERS energy rating.

Willoughby and Perth city councils have also implemented funding assistance for NABERS ratings and it is understood other councils are considering similar measures.

National co-ordinator Esther Bailey said the program was growing at 52 per cent in terms of annual compound growth rates.

People were “desperate” for information and for support, she said. “We’ve got a good balance of flagship companies setting the pace [such as the banking sector, including Westpac and CBA and companies such as Arup and AECOM] and smaller companies.”

tperintto@thefifthestate.com.au