Government buildings

Each year the Australian Government spends around $450 million on energy and generates over 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e), not including fuel used in military vehicles and equipment. The Australian Government recognises that as a large energy user it needs to contribute to achieving national energy productivity and emissions targets, through improvements in its own operations.

Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO)

Government operations required to comply with the 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 either directly or indirectly from the Commonwealth.

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

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

Energy intensity targets and minimum energy performance standards

EEGO includes energy intensity targets and minimum energy performance standards to ensure that departments and agencies progressively improve their energy performance and consider energy use when purchasing buildings and appliances. The minimum energy performance standards apply to government office buildings that are new, have undergone major refurbishment (affecting their energy performance) or are leased for more than 2 years.

The energy intensity targets from June 2011 are:

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

The minimum energy performance 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

Green Lease Schedules (GLS) are a type of leasing arrangement that form part of leasing or MOU documentation. They contain mutual obligations for tenants and owners of office buildings to achieve efficiency targets.

The GLS improves energy efficiency by setting a minimum ongoing operational building energy performance standard.


Why does our building need a GLS?

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

  • help to 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

When is a GLS required?

Every time a new office building lease is signed, a GLS should be included to form part of the lease as outlined in the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) policy.

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

Energy Management Plan (EMP) essentials

What is the purpose of an EMP?

An EMP is a requirement of the Green Lease Schedule (GLS). Its purpose is to:

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

How do we develop an EMP?

Who signs the EMP?

The duly authorised person in your organisation.

When should the plan be reviewed?

Every 2 years is recommended.

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 their energy 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 Energy rating, or equivalent, and develop an Energy Management Plan (EMP). This will further assist agencies in achieving their energy intensity targets.

Occupied buildings

  • Report annually to your portfolio Minister
  • When undertaking refurbishment of electrical systems, lighting must be replaced with a maximum of 10W/m2
  • Use separate digital metering for tenancy and central services where cost effective


The EEGO Policy provides some flexibility in situations where it is too difficult for a particular office building to achieve a 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating.

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

In such instances where it is too difficult for an office building to achieve a 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating, the Department of the Environment and Energy requires documentation to support the exception; demonstrating that sufficient market testing has been carried out and that the highest possible NABERS Energy 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 [at]

If you have any questions, please call (02) 6247 1111 and ask for Energy Efficiency in Government Operations.

Small offices and short leases

Exemptions to the Green Lease Schedule apply for:

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

Note: 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 because it accounts for approximately half of the energy used by Australian Government operations. The Policy required Defence to develop a comprehensive energy management strategy. This strategy requires sub-meters to be progressively installed at all relevant Defence bases.

Analysis of the Australian Government’s Green Lease Schedules

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

EEGO support material

The following support materials are available:

Contact us

For more information about Energy Efficiency in Government Operations, please contact:

  • Phone: 02 6274 1111
  • Email: eego [at]

More information