By Tina Perinotto

– 7 October 2009 – Australian ingenuity is now officially on a global roll.  Not only is the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd leading the world out of recession – apparently – and the Reserve Bank chief Glenn Stevens patting him on the back with an interest rate rise, but Australia is now showing the world how to re-engineer our existing buildings.

According to Lend Lease, WSP Lincolne Scott and Advanced Environmental, the Efficient Building Scheme which the trio devised and have been spruiking around the world is not at all a bad idea.

In fact the think tank, RAND Corporation, supported by the US Real Estate Roundtable, and the US Building Owners and Managers Association, commended the scheme to US policy makers.

The RAND Corporation study, Improving the Energy Performance of Buildings: Learning from the European Union and Australia, said that the EBS had several important and useful features including:

“White-certificate programs that mix sectors can be expensive to administer and, depending on the baseline case, can either reward investments that would have taken place anyway or require such large investments that they have limited uptake.
“Verification can also be an issue, especially in the case of the otherwise more cost-effective mass-default method. Commercial real estate may be sufficiently unique in terms of longevity of assets, diversity of building types, and financing and leasing characteristics to merit specifically tailored white-certificate/abatement programs such as Australia’s Efficient Buildings (sic) Scheme.”

Managing Director of WSP Lincolne Scott, Ché Wall, who co-authored the EBS with Global Head of Sustainability for Lend Lease Maria Atkinson, said the recognition by RAND followed “an upswing of recognition and support for the Efficient Building Scheme at home and abroad.”

Last month legislation for an ETS scheme was introduced to Parliament, with voting deferred pending a Senate inquiry into the scheme in early 2010.

Mr Wall said a media release today: “The catalyst seems to be the growing realisation that the fundamentals of the scheme can deliver on the three keys to reducing carbon emissions in the real estate and construction sector, based on a single set of robust, accurate, unassailable data on greenhouse gas emissions from buildings that is also readily accessible:

“We need to enable market benchmarking and decision-making through robust labelling: Policymakers need benchmarking for setting building codes and for development planning. Shareholders need it for investment decisions. Organisations need it for leasing and purchasing decisions.
“We need to enable accurate reporting – whether this is for voluntary reporting indices such as Global Reporting Initiative, Dow Jones Sustainability Index, or the Carbon Disclosure Project, or for national inventory reporting under the Kyoto Protocol and its successor.
“Finally, we need to enable the monetisation of carbon.”

The data on each building that is needed includes:

energy consumption (electricity and gas bills, including any on-site energy generation);
energy intensity  (kwh/m2/annum);
building type (office, hotel, retail, school, etc);
location (climatic zone); and
carbon intensity (tco2e/m2/annum using official greenhouse gas emission coefficients).

Ms Atkinson said: “So we do not need to re-invent the wheel, delay action or train a new workforce. The opportunity is there for any government to simply and cost-effectively enable national benchmarking,
reporting and monetisation of carbon – all from this single data set.”

Ms Atkinson will present the ETB in London and Paris to members of the United
Nations Environment Program Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative, the United Nations Finance Initiative – Property Working Group, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Sustainable Construction.

For more information on the Efficient Building Scheme go to  https://www.lendlease.com/sustainability/index.html#/advocacy-detail

For the full report go to https://www.rand.org/research_areas/energy_environment/