22 July 2014 — New South Wales Environment Minister Rob Stokes has said the state could be Australia’s answer to California as he launched a new resource efficiency policy that will see government agencies pursuing solar leasing, energy efficiency projects including lighting upgrades, minimum 4.5 star NABERS ratings and environmental upgrade agreements.
Speaking at the Clean Energy Week Policy and Finance Conference, Dr Stokes told the audience, “When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.
“We’re on the cusp of a truly exciting time for energy and the environment, with NSW positioned to take a very strong lead. We have the technology, the skills and, through my government, the policy intent.
“There is a great opportunity for NSW to work with the Abbott Government to make NSW and Australia the place to do clean energy business. We’ve got unique resources and unique opportunities. It’s now our job to convince business and communities to take these up.”
Major resource efficiency drive to see high NABERS buildings
Dr Stokes also used his address to announce the NSW Government Resource Efficiency Policy.
All owned and leased office buildings over 2000 square metres will need to achieve and maintain at least a 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating by June 2017. All data centres will achieve a minimum infrastructure and IT equipment NABERS Energy rating of 4.5 stars in the same timeframe.
Government Property NSW will assist agencies by:
- reviewing and updating the green lease toolkit to include provisions to help meet a NABERS Energy tenancy rating of at least 4.5 stars
- requiring that all new and renewed leases of at least two years duration include a Green Lease Schedule (See The Tenants and Landlords Guide to Happiness for details of green lease schedules) with a requirement to achieve a NABERS Energy base building or whole building rating of at least 4.5 stars by June 2017
- requiring upgrades to tenancy lighting to seven watts a sq m or better for any leased space that is shown by a Tenancy Lighting Assessment to be over 12 watts a sq m
- managing the assessment of NABERS Energy base building and whole building ratings for office buildings that are owned by the NSW Government
- negotiating Environmental Upgrade Agreements where this is the most cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption and costs within leased properties
All new office buildings and fitouts will be designed and built to a predicted performance of at least 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating. For other building types, new facilities with project costs over $10 million will be designed and built so energy consumption is at least 10 per cent lower than if built to minimum compliance with National Construction Code requirements.
The directive also includes agencies identifying and enabling solar leasing opportunities, which fits in with today’s (Tuesday’s) announcement by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation of a massive expansion in this area.
- See our article Zero-cost solar gets a boost through CEFC finance
Dr Stokes said around a third of the government’s energy could be sourced from solar.
Other measures include:
- targets to undertake energy efficiency projects – all clusters will undertake energy efficiency projects at sites representing 90 per cent of their billed energy use by the end of 2023–24, with an interim target of 55 per cent for Health and 40 per cent for other clusters by the end of 2017–18
- minimum standards for new electrical appliances and equipment – all new electrical equipment purchased by government must be at least the market average star rating
- minimum fuel efficiency standards for new light vehicles – at least the market average fuel efficiency by vehicle category by July 2017
- purchasing six per cent GreenPower
- reporting on water use
- minimum water standards for office buildings – all new and refurbished owned office buildings and leased office buildings with a net lettable area of over 2000 m2 will achieve a whole building NABERS Water rating of 4 stars where cost-effective
- minimum standards for new water-using appliances – all new water-using appliances, shower heads, taps and toilets purchased by agencies must be at least the average WELS star rating by product type
- report on top three waste streams by total volume and by total cost
- air emission standards for mobile non-road diesel plant and equipment – contractor-supplied and government-purchased equipment will comply with EU or US EPA standards
- low-VOC surface coatings – all surface coatings will comply with the Australian Paint Approval Scheme where fit for purpose
Compliance with the policy is mandatory for all general government-sector agencies.
“With this policy, the NSW Government is setting an example in addressing the challenge of rising resource costs, and reducing impacts on our economy, environment and community,” Dr Stokes said.
Support for RET
Dr Stokes also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Renewable Energy Target as it stood.
“We certainly support the 41,000 gigawatt-hour target. We think 41,000 gigawatt-hours is where we should go, but that is only the beginning,” he said.