Sydney program to slash greenhouse gases

Wednesday, 11 June, 2008

Sydney’s sustainability program CitySwitch Green Office is going national, according to City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, MP.

The program, which began as a joint initiative of three Sydney councils, will welcome Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth to the program helping commercial tenants improve their energy efficiency and reduce harmful CO2 emissions which contribute to climate change.

Chief executive of Property Council of Australia Peter Verwer has endorsed CitySwitch Green Office. Property Council Australia is the nation’s leading advocate for commercial property interests.

“CitySwitch Green Office commits businesses to tangible changes which deliver long-term environmental benefits for Australia and keeps our country at the forefront of energy efficiency,” said Moore.

“If all of Australia’s commercial office tenants were to adopt the simple changes involved in CitySwitch Green Office, it could deliver a saving of 960,000 t of CO2 per annum, which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.”

Businesses that join CitySwitch Green Office can take simple actions to improve their energy-efficiency rating, such as:

  • upgrading office lighting via motion sensors to help eliminate unnecessary energy use;
  • making sure equipment is switched off at the end of each day;
  • switching from CRT monitors to flat screen monitors;
  • installing shading or blinds on windows.

CitySwitch Green Office aims to sign up 700 businesses by 2012 in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Businesses which become CitySwitch Green Office signatories commit to achieving an accredited four stars or higher National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy tenancy rating.

Administered nationally by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), NABERS Energy rates the efficiency of buildings and tenancies from one to five stars, with five stars representing exceptional greenhouse performance.

56 high-profile corporations, including some of Australia’s largest, representing more than 600,000 m2 of office space in Sydney alone, are already signatories. As most building stock is currently rated as 2.5 stars, each signatory is encouraged to improve their energy tenancy rating by at least two stars.

In Sydney alone, such an improvement in efficiency could yield a saving of $36.5 million in energy cost and over 329,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. That is the equivalent of taking nearly 68,000 cars off the road.

With the inclusion of Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth, CitySwitch Green Office could make a saving of up to $67.3 million annually.

“Businesses have led calls for the program’s expansion as a way of addressing their environmental responsibilities. We believe that the creation of a national initiative presents a great opportunity and we will work with all levels of government to make this a success,” Moore said.

“In Australia, office tenants are responsible for nearly 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions as well as almost half the electricity consumed in commercial office buildings, so this program is a key to tackling the biggest challenge of our time — climate change.”


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