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Non-residential buildings Improving the energy efficiency of commercial and government buildings

Non-residential buildings include commercial buildings such as shops, hotels, restaurants, and offices, industrial buildings, schools and hospitals. They are responsible for approximately 10 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are projected to increase by over 25 per cent from 2009 to 2020.

Building owners and tenants are realising that energy efficiency has many business benefits. It offers a cost-effective way to manage rising energy prices, increase productivity and reduce operating costs. It can also increase the value of your property and attract higher rentals returns.

Government energy efficiency programs

The Australian Government’s energy efficiency measures are designed to make it easier for building owners and tenants to make informed choices about their energy use and invest in better buildings and equipment.

As part of the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, the Australian Government is working with state and territory governments to implement the following measures:

  1. Minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings and major refurbishment. The National Construction Code now includes energy efficiency measures for all building classifications.​
  2. Energy ratings for commercial buildings. ​The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rates buildings from zero to six stars, with six stars representing exceptional greenhouse performance and energy savings. NABERS is run by the Office of the Environment and Heritage on behalf of Australian, state and territory governments. ​ Find out how to self-assess your building for free, or find a professional to conduct an accredited rating.
  3. Commercial Building Disclosure is a national program which requires compulsory energy ratings for large commercial office buildings that are sold or leased.​
  4. Energy standards and energy ratings for appliances and equipment, including labelling to enable building owners and tenants to compare appliances and equipment and find the most energy efficient products.​
  5. Green leases for the private commercial sector, including a handbook and guides to assist the uptake of Green Leases for the private sector.
  6. Improvements to Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. The HVAC High Efficiency Systems Strategy (HVAC HESS) aims to drive long term improvements in the energy efficiency of HVAC systems Australia wide.

Improving government operations

To improve our own operations, the Australian Government is implementing the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) Policy which comprises three major elements:

Green leases for government tenancies

A national Green Lease Schedule has been developed which sets minimum energy efficiency standards for government office leasing.

Commercial Building Baseline Study

As part of the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, the Australian Government in collaboration with state and territory governments has developed a Commercial Buildings Baseline Study, which aims to improve the availability of quantitative information on commercial buildings in Australia, their energy use and associated greenhouse emissions.

Further information