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Around the Bay 2016

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The 60 km/h northerly winds and 210 km of terrain were well worth the uphill battle to raise money for disadvantaged Australian kids when supporting The Smith Family “Ride for a Child in need” in Around the Bay 2016.

The Ausnviro team which consisted of Jay Gualtieri and Hattie Houghton and friend of Ausnviro Andrew Cogger departed Alexandra Gardens at 6am, travelled through Mordialloc to the Sorrento turnaround point then made their way back to Melbourne, via iconic Beach Road, to the finish line in Alexandra Gardens. Their 12-hour journey with 535 other participants was an experience. “The sand in the eyes and averaging 15km per hour from Sorrento to Melbourne was not a great feeling, but knowing you’re doing it to help Aussie kids makes it all worthwhile” says Jay Gualtieri.

 This is the first year Ausnviro has participated in this cycling event but are now committed to continue in 2017 with a bigger team and a longer ride.” This was one of the most gruelling rides and pushing through to the end was tough but it was great to be riding with so many people and working towards the same goal. I’m ready to do it again next year” says Hattie Houghton.

$576 supports a child for a year in primary education and it’s still not too late to support the Ausnviro team. You can donate until the 31 October and help reach the $1.2m goal.

http://my.aroundthebayfundraising.com.au/jaygualtieri

http://my.aroundthebayfundraising.com.au/hattiehoughton

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Ausnviro delivers the first 6 Star NABERS Energy Rating in Victoria

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171 Collins Street has become the premium benchmark of commercial office energy efficiency in the Melbourne CBD and the entire state of Victoria. This achievement also makes 171 Collins Street the first multi tenanted building to achieve the 6 star NABERS maximum in Australia without green power.

The property is owned by a joint venture of CBUS property and Charter Hall. 171 Collins Street features many cutting edge sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, however, the building was designed to reach only a maximum of 5 stars NABERS energy.

Managing Director of Ausnviro, Jay Gualtieri said:

“We have been working with 171 Collins Street for over two years and from the beginning it was clear this building had good bones to get the 5 stars NABERS certification. When CJ (CJ Harshana Wijewardane – Senior Facilities and Engineering Manager of 171 Collins Street) mentioned in our first meeting the goal of 6 stars NABERS, I knew how pivotal Ausnviro’s role would be. Most of the industry is not aware that the difference between 5 stars and 6 stars is 50% less emissions. This is a huge jump unlike lower ratings, NABERS have set a very high bar. At Ausnviro we know the NABERS protocol inside out which place our clients in the best position to succeed and we are ecstatic to play our part in this historic moment for CJ and the Knight Frank team at 171 Collins Street.”

Senior Facilities and Engineering Manager of 171 Collins Street, CJ Harshana Wijewardane of Knight Frank Australia said:

“Even with the best engineering and the most innovative technology there is no guarantee of a 6 stars NABERS result. To push a building from an as built design of 5 stars NABERS and half your consumption again to reach 6 stars NABERS is something else. It required an exceptional level of commitment from building management and our trusted contractors. It required experimentation and some failure along the way. In order to grow, learn and progress towards the maximum 6 stars we needed to test the limits of 171 Collins Street. I’m proud to say we achieved our goal and all our hard work has been rewarded.”

Hat’s off to the team at 171 Collins Street, the first 6 star NABERS Energy Rating without green power in Victoria.

Form more information on Ausnviro’s services please contact us.

Government announces BEEC NABERS threshold lowered from 2,000m2 to 1,000m2 for office space up for lease or sale

On 21 June 2016, The Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, announced the move to lower the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial office buildings from 2000 square metres to 1000 square metres. The media release can be found here(link is external).

This expands the scope of the program to cover smaller office buildings and spaces and will come into effect from 1 July 2017, after a one year transition period. Under the changes a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate will be required whenever an office space of 1000 square metres or more is offered for sale or lease and a current NABERS Office Energy rating will need to be included in advertising.

By continuing the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program and reducing the mandatory disclosure threshold to 1000 square metres, the program is projected to provide a reduction in end use energy consumption of 17,395 TJ, abatement of over 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases and deliver around $60 million in benefits over the period from 2015 to 2019.

The changes also mean that prospective buyers and tenants of smaller commercial buildings will be able to make more informed choices about energy efficiency when purchasing or leasing a property.

Lowering of the disclosure threshold is complemented by a decision to increase the Tenancy Lighting Assessment validity period, also known as a TLA, from one to five years.  Changes to the TLA validity period requirements are proposed to take effect for all new TLAs submitted from 1 September 2016.  This means that building owners already covered by the program will now enjoy extended validity for their TLAs, which reduces their regulatory burden.

These changes follow a comprehensive review of the CBD Program earlier this year and public consultation on the proposed changes to the program.

The CBD review found the program had delivered a reduction in end-use energy consumption of 10,020 TJ, abatement of 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases and has delivered $15 million in benefits ($44 million if you include GHG reductions) between 2010 and 2014, by improving the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings.

The Ausnviro Team Expands

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Ausnviro welcomes Hattie Houghton to the team. Hattie is a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering graduate with a great interest in energy efficiency in the built environment.

Hattie’s experience includes research in technical solutions to reduce carbon emissions in Australia and China. In Beijing she researched how China can reduce its air pollution. Hattie loves her sport and plays hockey. She tries to keep her environmental footprint down by cycling to work.

Hattie will be assisting in environmental audits such as energy, water and indoor environment assessments.

Is Your Lease Energy Efficient?

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If you are coming to the end of your present business lease and looking either to negotiate a new deal with your present landlord or seeking new premises, the competitive nature of the present real estate market means that as a tenant you are in a strong position. Energy efficiency isn’t just a buzzword – it has the capacity to save you a lot of money if your landlord is willing to make a few small changes to the premises.

 

Lease types

First it is important to understand what type of lease you are attached to what bargaining tools you might have at your disposal. The type of lease you have will affect how certain costs (such as utilities) will affect you.

  • Net Lease: this is where rent will not include other overheads such as cleaning, maintenance and services. Rent will tend to be lower and overheads variable
  • Gross Lease: this is where the landlord is responsible for all other outgoings (including utilities) and will charge a higher rent, but at a flat rate
  • Semi-Gross Lease: this is where everything except statutory costs (such as land tax and insurance) are included

If you have a gross lease, then it is likely that the landlord already is being as energy-efficient as possible in order to reduce their overheads. If you have a net lease, you’ll need to investigate whether the landlord is maximising your energy efficiency and keeping your costs down – there is no financial incentive for them to do so.

 

Environmental Performance Clauses

One of the key factors driving energy efficiency across commercial property is the rise of Energy Performance Clauses in tenancy agreements. These can be inserted by tenants and by landlords in order to set a standard of expectations for management of variable cost services such as water, lighting, heating, air conditioning and waste disposal.

For a tenant on a net lease, or a landlord who has a tenant on a gross lease, it is in their financial best interests to make sure that the other party is doing all it can to keep energy consumption and costs down. Typical clauses might be (these are workable clauses that are known to exist in present contracts):

  • For a tenant to educate staff in how to reduce wastage across all aspects of the business
  • For a tenant to monitor energy consumption and fully participate in any pre-existing energy management plan
  • For a tenant to use energy efficient bulbs in their offices and time switches on air conditioning
  • For a landlord to work towards and maintain a specific and achievable NABERS rating by installing more energy efficient lighting and monitoring consumption
  • For a landlord to establish an energy management committee for the building and to instigate training
  • For a landlord to provide adequate meters, sub-meters or a Building Management System
  • For both parties to schedule regular meetings to discuss how they might maintain targets and achieve their common goals

Both tenants and landlords may request Environmental Performance Clauses. If you are a tenant looking for advice on environmental aspects of your rental agreement, contact Ausnviro in 1300 622 377

Measuring Your Energy Use – A Practical Guide

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In order to find out where you can make energy and cost savings and to implement a plan of action to reduce your costs, you are going to have to start measuring your usage. Modern energy bills make this easy by detailing the actual amount of energy you have used – measuring it in kilowatt hours (kwh).

The first step is to keep your energy records as you implement simple cost-savings measures. This will help you keep track of your reductions and maybe even help you to identify further areas for improvement. Remember that there will be seasonal variations – the key is in identifying trends over a given year. If you have been in the property for several years, then you should be able to identify key areas straight away through existing records.

The NABERS Rating

When you’ve signed the contract to rent the property, you will have been given a Buildings Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) which will contain details of the building’s energy efficiency and that all-important NABERS rating. The NABERS score will be an overall rating for the whole building. Whether you are renting the entire property or merely one small part of it, it cannot be reiterated enough that this score will say nothing about your own energy efficiency, merely that the owner has taken all practical measures to minimise the carbon footprint (and consequently the cost to you) across the property. You can calculate a NABERS rating for your own records to give yourself and your stakeholders an overall picture of your energy efficiency relative to that of the building. Using a tried and tested method, even though it is non-binding, it will give you a solid framework on which to build an energy efficiency plan for your business.

 

How to Work Out Your Business’ NABERS Rating

You will need a minimum of 12 months of energy bills and a solid idea of the working hours of your office. For most this will be straight forward – 9-5, five days per week. If overtime or weekend working is a regular thing then you will need to take this into account. You should know the total area office space of the building or your part of the building and finally, the number of people and computers working in your office. Once you have all of this information, you can use the NABERS website to obtain a general score: (http://www.nabers.gov.au/public/WebPages/RatingCalculator.aspx?module=40)

A 1-2 star rating means that you are likely to be wasting energy. 3-4 is average and means you are being neither particularly efficient nor wasteful – it will be possible to make some savings. A 5-6 rating means that you are saving energy and keeping your costs as low as you possibly can.

 

Finally, it cannot be reiterated enough that this self-assessed NABERS rating will not be entirely accurate and cannot be used for official purposes. It will be best used as a benchmark for your office or company to give you a general idea of your energy efficiency

Ausnviro is an Accredited Assessor; we can give you an accurate NABERS rating for official purposes. Call us today on 1300 622 377

Why Energy Efficiency Should be Your Priority

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As a potential new or existing tenant of office buildings, you are going to be looking at a variety of costs – ideally you will be looking at cutting them and utilities such as water and electricity will be one of those costs under constant review. For larger office buildings (anything over 2000sqm) a NABERS assessment is mandatory ahead of any new sale or tenancy. For smaller premises, you might find voluntary uptake – doing so helps businesses to stay competitive, especially when potential clients such as yourself will be looking at cost savings measures.

The NABERS rating is a 1-6 star system that rates greenhouse gas emissions, a building’s energy and water efficiency, waste efficiency and the quality of the indoor environment. A 1-star rating is the lowest possible score – this means that there is considerable room for improvement; a 6-star rating is the highest, meaning that the owner has done everything they possibly can to maximise energy, water and lighting efficiency.

 

Can I Improve My Energy Efficiency?

As a tenant, you are probably fairly limited in what you can do –most of the responsibilities of upkeep for the building will be the owner. If the building you are leasing does not have a 6 star rating, or even if it does, there are steps that you can take to keep your costs down.

Behavioural modification: Making simple changes to your daily working pattern is the easiest way to cut your energy costs. Switch off:

  • Lights when leaving an office – lighting accounts for anything between one and two thirds of all energy costs
  • Computers at the end of the day and monitors when out for lunch – IT equipment accounts for anything between one fifth and one half of energy costs
  • Printers and other peripherals – even in sleep mode they consume energy. If they don’t need to stay on overnight, consider switching them off; they account for up to 20% of energy costs
  • Kitchen equipment – kettles, microwaves, boilers and coolers do not need to stay on all of the time and account for up to 10% of energy costs

It is possible to install timers to some of the above to make sure they consume no energy when not in use for extended periods of time.

Analyse your bills: Look for patterns in your energy – are there energy spikes on certain days or in certain months? Think about what may have caused these and see if there is anything that you might be able to do about them. Take a close look at your tariff and see how you could negotiate a better deal based on your requirements

Analyse your consumption: As a tenant you should have full access to the meter; if you don’t know how to read it, then the owners or one of their representatives should know and be able to show you. If your building does not have a NABERS rating, you should be able to calculate it based on the readings and a simple formula – this will not be binding, the building will need an official assessment by an accredited assessor

Ausnviro is an Accredited Assessor. Call us today on 1300 622 377

Financial assistance on offer for NABERS Energy ratings

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The CitySwitch Green Office program in Victoria is currently offering financial assistance for NABERS Energy assessment ratings (tenancy or whole building) for organisations signing up to CitySwitch Green Office before 31th Dec 2014.

Make sure your company takes advantage of this offer which is open to small, medium and large sized enterprises and not for profit organisations across Victoria.

Up to $9,000 is available per organisation to go towards the cost of your rating which must be undertaken by an Accredited Assessor and completed by 30th Jan 2015.

Once organisations gain a point of entry to energy efficiency, CitySwitch can then provide ongoing support as well as recognition for Signatory efforts including an annual awards program, toolkits, case studies and regular information sessions with other dedicated sustainable leaders. 

Ausnviro can perform your NABERS energy rating. Call 1300-CITYSWITCH  or email cityswitch@ausnviro.com.au

BEEC and the Property Market

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In line with the economy, the property market in Australia is in a period of sustained recovery; those looking to sell or lease a property are starting to see some real benefits to their business. Concerns about the cost and disruption to their business of BEEC and NABERS, as well as the difficulty of selling or renting out property, might have prevented those businesses from acting until relatively recently. Now is a good time for the market and for most businesses, that will mean needing a BEEC rating.

Now that the decision has been made, it is time to start looking at renewing the BEEC for properties and it is never too early to start the ball rolling on getting your property assessed ahead of its listing. It can take between six and eight weeks from initial application to finally getting your package so it might be a good idea to start early. You can help Ausnviro’s Assessors by providing the following information from the beginning:

  • Gas and electricity bills for the previous twelve months
  • Documents that list in detail the net lettable area of the property
  • Lease document details
  • After-hours air conditioning logs

If all of this can be provided up front then it will make the process run smoother and faster and we can give you a far more accurate NABERS rating and CBD lighting assessment that you can pass on to potential customers and promote in the marketing literature for the property. It must be remembered that you are legally obliged to keep the records on any property over 2000sqm and produce a BEEC for any prospective client that wishes to see it – the NABERS rating especially must be present in the literature. Your property will also be listed on the Building Energy Efficiency Register.

The BEEC is valid for up to twelve months and will expire when either the NABERS rating or the Lighting Assessment comes up for renewal (whichever is first). There are advantages to constantly having these details up to date though, particularly when it leads to energy consumption awareness for buildings and that could lead to a reduction in your energy bills. Legally, it will only need to be updated ahead of any sale or prospective new period of lease.

 

NABERS: The NABERS rating is a national assessment that examines a wide range of attributes about your building’s environmental performance. After the examination, the building is given a rating of 1-6 stars with 1 being the lowest, 3 being average” and 6 being exceptional

Tenancy Lighting Assessments: These provide important information on the major consumption area of commercial power usage – lighting. It measures the power density of the installed lighting system and works out the NLPD (Nominal Lighting Power Density) of the working area. It also looks at the capacity of the installed lighting

 

Future Developments

Before the election in 2013, the Federal Government announced plans to make present BEEC information available online. At present, the information on the database at the CBD website contains only historic data. With the recent release of the LEASA app for mobile devices, we are possibly a step closer to having all of the current BEEC data available, meaning that those businesses who seek energy efficiency as main attribute to new property will have an easier task in future.

Why a Greener World is Compatible with the Digital Age

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Laptops, desktops, mobile phone networks, the internet, the cloud, storage space for intranets, company servers, government databases… the list of virtual space that we need in this digital age is immense and as new online technologies develop we are going to need more and more data storage space and power to keep it operational. It isn’t just the devices where the actual data is stored either, many of the data centres that keep us connected to the world wide web also need to be kept cool and as we all know, air conditioning also uses a lot of power. It is said that Data Centres consume around 2% of the world’s power supply – and that is a lot. Internet use is expected to grow five-fold between 2011 and 2016.

Australia has until relatively recently been slow to look at IT and data centres as net consumers of power and how we might go about tackling the growing needs of tomorrow with the environmental issues of today.

 

Special NABERS rating

Because of the special nature of data centres, the NABERS system for these particular types of premises took a lot of consultation over three years. Many agencies were involved in the development of the programme – national and international organisations – in order to fully understand the requirements of data centres.

The NABERS system for data centres varies from the other systems (office blocks, hotels and apartment blocks) due to the different requirements but it still uses the recognisable 1-6 system rating where 3 is the average and considered to be of typical consumption rate for buildings of that type.

As with every other building using the NABERS system, it is in the best interests of the data centre managers to reduce their power consumption as much as possible. As high volume users, energy bills are going to be amongst the most expensive per square metre of space of any building type. There are three types of NABERS ratings for data centres; it is important that you know which one applies to your organisation.

 

Data Centres – Your NABERS Options

IT Equipment

This is for those organisations that manage their IT equipment having no control over the support services (power and security) or those who prefer only to measure the efficiency of the IT equipment. It permits organisations to calculate the productive output of their data – comparing consumption with data capacity

 

Infrastructure

This is aimed at site owners and managers and calculates the energy efficiency of the facilities in supplying the infrastructure to the equipment within the facility. This is suitable for businesses that rent out space for “colo” (co-location) but do not have operational control of the IT equipment

 

Whole Facility

This rating combines both of the above ratings and is ideal for those businesses who manage both the building and the IT equipment. This is most suitable for businesses which own the building and pay the utility bills in which their IT server equipment is stored.

 

NABERS ratings are not mandatory for data centres but there are many benefits to your company for voluntary adoption of the scheme including how you might reduce your energy costs