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Each year the Australian Government spends around $450 million on energy and generates over 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions, not including fuel used in military vehicles and equipment.

The Australian Government recognises that as a large energy user it needs to contribute towards national energy productivity and emissions targets through improvements to its operations.

Energy Efficiency in Government Operations

The Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) policy includes energy intensity targets and minimum energy performance standards. These ensure departments and agencies progressively improve their energy performance and consider energy use when purchasing or leasing buildings and appliances.

Government operations required to comply with EEGO policy are:

  • all Commonwealth agencies covered by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act 2013
  • statutory bodies covered by the PGPA Act 2013 that derive more than 50% of their funding from the Commonwealth.

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) is used to measure the ongoing level of energy efficiency of government office buildings. Alternative schemes for measuring energy efficiency can be used where it can be demonstrated that the alternative will achieve an equivalent outcome.

Energy intensity targets

The energy intensity targets from June 2011 are:

  • 7500 MJ per person per year for tenant light and power
  • 400 MJ per square metre per year for central services.

Minimum energy performance standards

The minimum energy performance standards apply to government office buildings that:

  • are new
  • have undergone major refurbishment (affecting their energy performance)
  • have been leased for more than 2 years.

The standards vary depending on the type and use of the building.

Table 1 - Minimum energy performance standards for government office buildings
Element >= 2000 m2 net lettable area < 2000 m2 net lettable area
  100% of total building area 50% to 99% of total building area < 50% of total building area  
Base building >= 4.5 stars NABERS Energy, or equivalent, level of energy efficiency for whole building >= 4.5 stars NABERS Energy, or equivalent, level of energy efficiency No requirement No requirement
Tenanted area >= 4.5 stars NABERS Energy, or equivalent, level of energy efficiency for whole building >= 4.5 stars NABERS Energy, or equivalent, level of energy efficiency >= 4.5 stars NABERS Energy, or equivalent, level of energy efficiency Separate digital metering and max 8W/m2 for lighting
Lease To include a Green Lease Schedule To include a Green Lease Schedule To include a Green Lease Schedule No requirement
Appliances US EPA 'Energy Star' compliant with power management features enabled at the time of supply

Green Lease Schedules

Energy efficiency improvements and targets in government office buildings are committed to by building owners and government tenants through the use of Green Lease Schedules (GLS).

A GLS improves energy efficiency by setting a minimum ongoing operational building energy performance standard. Every time a new office building lease is signed, a GLS should be included to form part of the lease as outlined in the EEGO policy.

Landlords offer a range of green leases with differing levels of performance for Commonwealth tenants.

Inclusions of a GLS

Benefits of a GLS

Buildings can operate well below their design energy efficiency standard without regular assessment. By adopting a GLS you can:

  • help ensure your building operates to its design standard by meeting the requirement to measure ongoing performance
  • reduce your building’s energy use and operational costs
  • avoid the need for specific legal advice on individual leases.

2017 GLS review

An evaluation of the current use and effectiveness of the Green Lease Schedules was commissioned in 2017. The evaluation report provides recommendations to guide the development of future GLS. This has been achieved through stakeholder consultations and a review of literature and better practices.

Energy management plan

An energy management plan (EMP) is a requirement of the GLS. Its purpose is to:

  • maintain the NABERS rating for the building
  • ensure tenants and landlords manage their respective obligations to the GLS
  • identify strategies to support ongoing achievement of the NABERS rating.

Developing an EMP

To develop an EMP, you should:

It is recommended that the EMP be reviewed every 2 years.

Annual energy consumption reporting

EEGO policy requires agencies to report their energy consumption against core performance indicators to their portfolio minister. The reporting requirements aim to ensure agencies are aware of how much energy they use and the relative efficiency of this use.

The policy was announced in 2006 with an annual report until 2011-12. This consolidated annual report has been replaced by individual agencies reporting directly to their portfolio minister.

Existing buildings

For existing office buildings where major refurbishment or lease renewals are not planned, agencies are encouraged to obtain a NABERS rating (or equivalent) and develop an EMP. This will further assist agencies in achieving their energy intensity targets.

Occupied buildings

For occupied buildings, you should:

  • report annually to your portfolio minister
  • replace lighting with a maximum of 10 W/m2 when undertaking refurbishment of electrical systems
  • use separate digital metering for tenancy and central services where cost-effective.

Exceptions

The EEGO policy provides some flexibility where it is too difficult for an office building to achieve a 4.5 stars NABERS rating.

A lower NABERS rating may be endorsed when it is clearly demonstrated that it is not practical or cost-effective to achieve 4.5 stars NABERS rating due to factors such as location, heritage, security or operational constraints.

In such instances, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources requires documentation to support the exception. It must demonstrate that sufficient market testing has been carried out and the highest possible NABERS rating will be achieved. 

If your agency seeks an exception, please review the Guidelines on Exceptions and complete the Exception Request Form. Applications can be sent to eego@industry.gov.au

If you have any questions, please call (02) 6213 6000 and ask for EEGO.

Small offices and short leases

Exemptions to the GLS apply to:

  • new leases less than 2000 m2
  • new leases under 2 years (including any lease options)
  • cost-effective lighting upgrades (maximum of 10 W/m2) for leases between 2 and 5 years.

Separate digital metering and reporting energy usage annually still applies.

Department of Defence provisions

The EEGO policy contains unique provisions for the Department of Defence as it accounts for approximately half of the energy used by Australian Government operations.

The policy required Defence to develop a comprehensive energy management strategy. The strategy requires sub-meters to be progressively installed at all relevant Defence bases.

Contact us

For more information about Energy Efficiency in Government Operations, please email eego@environment.gov.au.

Read more

Building management system (BMS) guide

EEGO policy

EEGO Energy Management Plans (EMP)—essential elements and templates

Green Lease Schedules (GLS) standard forms and templates

Lighting guide

National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) NSW Government on behalf the of Australian Government and state and territory governments

The National Green Leasing Policy