It is possible to obtain substantial energy efficiency results within realistic economic constraints, however careful planning, help from experienced consultants and contractors, and a commitment to investigate options is required, a new report analysing energy upgrades of Sydney office buildings has found.
Total Environment Centre’s (TEC’s) business sustainability arm, Green Capital has released a report analysing Sydney-based case studies as part of the Lessons and Tools from Existing Office Building Leaders Project, which is funded by the New South Wales Environmental Trust. A selection of B, C and D-grade office buildings were reviewed after owners had embarked on capital works and improvements to increase the NABERS (energy) ratings of their assets.
The report found that the building owners were able to obtain substantial results within realistic economic constraints and be more attractive to tenants. However, it found that it took careful planning, help from experienced consultants and contractors, and a commitment to investigate options.
The cost of getting a consultant to audit a building – generally in the order of a few thousand dollars – can quickly and in some cases immediately pay for itself “by direct energy savings or avoidance of expensive emergency maintenance”, according to the TEC report.
”In many cases, simple actions such as recalibrating a building management system (BMS) provided significant energy savings. Based on the performance of their newly upgraded buildings, some of the landlords who took part in the study expect to see a return on their investment within three years of undertaking works,” Jeff Angel, executive director of TEC, comments.
The report also found that a building can only be allowed to run down so much before it significantly begins to lose tenants and diminish in value.
Many of the case studies identified in the report received grants from the Green Building Fund, which is now closed. There are, however, other sources of funding and subsidies available, including the Energy Savings Scheme and the Energy Saver programme. Environmental upgrade agreements also provide more accessible funding for refurbishment works based on a better rate and longer loan terms.
Green Capital is holding two free seminars on upgrading buildings and how to achieve successful results from a retrofit. A seminar was held in Parramatta today and another will be held in Sydney on June 27 2012. For more information and to register to attend visit www.greencapital.org.au/green-capital-events/current-events.html. A copy of the final report can be downloaded here.