Environmental IQ

Office blocks to disclose energy ratings/


The Age June 23rd

Office block owners will have to disclose their building’s energy efficiency to buyers or lessees under draft laws passed by the lower house on Tuesday.

The government is trying to get owners of big commercial office buildings to release energy efficiency ratings before selling or leasing them.

The legislation, if passed by the Senate, would apply to buildings of 2000 square metres or more, as well as head tenants intending to sublease space.

Junior Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the changes were the first step to transforming the market into a truly energy efficient sector.

But he conceded such radical change was bound to cause some concern, and promised stakeholders would get a voice in working out how to implement and improve the scheme.

The government will provide appropriate transitional arrangements in the meantime, Mr Combet said.

Under the changes, interested parties will be able to demand a full building energy efficiency certificate, which follows similar schemes in the European Union and the United States.

Energy efficiency was one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

The opposition did not oppose the legislation, although former environment minister and opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull noted it was not a solution “in and of itself”.

It must be part of a bigger move to improve energy efficiency across the board, he told parliament.

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclose Bill 2010 will go before the Senate.