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 the national energy productivity and emissions targets, through improvements in its own operations.

Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO)

Government operations that are 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 two 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 intended to form part of lease documentation (or MOUs where the government owns the building).

GLS are designed to ensure that buildings are operated at the required level of energy efficiency and cover:

To assist in the implementation of GLS, a number of standard GLS templates that account for different types of leases (gross or net) and the proportion of the building that is tenanted, have been produced. The GLS templates also contain optional clauses covering water conservation, waste management and other issues for those agencies who wish to capture broader building sustainability issues in their leases.

Exceptions

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 a particular office building to achieve a 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating, the department 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.  Where an agency seeks an exception for a building, it should apply to the Department of the Environment and Energy by phoning 02 6274 1111.

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.

Annual energy reporting

EEGO Policy requires each agency to report its energy consumption against core performance indicators to their portfolio Minister. The reporting requirements aim to ensure that 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 up until 2011-12. This consolidated annual report has now been replaced by individual agencies reporting directly to their portfolio Minister.  

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.

EEGO support material

The following support materials are available in the Energy Resources Library:

Contact

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

  • Phone: 02 6274 1111
  • Email: eego [at] environment.gov.au

More information