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.
|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
- 4.5 stars NABERS rating for base building (where applicable) and tenancy
- Building Management Committee
- Energy management plan
- Disputes and Remedies.
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:
- establish your Building Management Committee
- complete the relevant energy management plan templates (for gross and net leases. using the template is optional)
- refer to the Essential elements of an energy management plan for Green Lease Schedules for guidance on what needs to be included such as agreed GLS and NABERS ratings
- have the EMP signed by the duly authorised person in your organisation.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
For more information about Energy Efficiency in Government Operations, please email email@example.com.
National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) NSW Government on behalf the of Australian Government and state and territory governments