Monday, 16 November 2009

Landlords forced to come clean on energy ratings - Offices turning green

Herald Sun
Friday 13/11/2009 Page: 37

BUILDING owners will be forced to reveal the energy efficiency of their properties when they sell or lease office space. The national disclosure scheme, starting next year, will mean thousands of commercial property owners face fines if they fail to provide an up-to-date Building Energy Efficiency Certificate. Commercial properties larger than 2000sq in will be affected. Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett called the scheme a "tremendous driver" for greener buildings, since tenants, owners and potential buyers would easily be able to compare the costs of running office space.

He told an Energy Efficiency Council conference in Melbourne yesterday that the plan would "help drive demand for greener offices that are not only more comfortable to work in, but can also deliver more motivated and productive workers and support cleaner energy jobs". He cited a US study that indicated "green" buildings sold for 16% more than others and had a 6% increase in rental rates. He did not provide an estimated cost for building owners, however, or make himself available to reporters for questions after the speech. Mr Garrett used the podium to expand on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's blistering rebuke last week of the "reckless gamblers" within the Opposition.

Climate change sceptics threatened positive environmental change with their "destructive irresponsibility", just a month out of the Copenhagen summit, he said. The Coalition's time in office included 12 inactive years on energy efficiency, he said, warning that current negotiations on an emissions trading scheme and environmental policy proved to be no different. "(This is) climate change scepticism 2.0 - like the new Vegemite, it's a slightly different flavour, just as brown," he said to laughs from the crowd.

Mr Garrett said the evidence had never been clearer that climate change was real and posed major risks to Australian farmland and coastal residents. As he entered the conference at a Melbourne hotel, he was confronted by Friends of the Earth activists campaigning against nuclear energy. He walked through the crowd saying "good morning" as police and hotel security held back about a dozen protesters. "How do you sleep at night, Peter?" one shouted.