Building quality is increasingly linked to its green energy rating. Why is this so important to Australia and how can your construction business keep up?
There is no doubt that the Australian building and construction industry is moving through a significant period of growth. With the national population soaring, demand for high-quality commercial, residential and civil infrastructure has increased considerably and business leaders are under pressure to deliver.
However, it is the advent of energy efficiency requirements and green power developments that are of the utmost interest to construction professionals. With the Australian government looking to increase energy productivity by 40 per cent over the next 14 years, while reducing the country's carbon footprint, designing and constructing green office buildings is now a priority.
This is partly why the Australian government has decided to expand the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program - a move welcomed by many parties, including the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
What is the CBD program?
According to the Department of Industry and Science, the CBD program was implemented four years ago in a move designed to improve energy efficiency improvements across the commercial building sector. This included providing reliable information to those buying and selling property as well as those undertaking construction and renovation activity.
Over this four year period, there have been $44 million worth of benefits to the Australian economy, as reported in a recent independent report published by Acil Allen Consulting. As a result, the Australian government has decided to continue and expand this program into the future.
Expansion for the future
The main enhancement to the program is lowering the information disclosure limit from 2,000sqm to 1,000sqm to include more construction projects.
"There are an estimated 80,000 mid-tier commercial office buildings around Australia, but this sector has traditionally lagged behind in energy efficiency upgrades. Lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure will prompt many building owners to explore the range of services, resources and technologies that can deliver building upgrades, often at relatively low cost, with attractive payback periods," GBCA's Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Made explained.
She explained that ensuring energy efficiency processes can support climate change solutions and deliver more cost-effective outcomes for business leaders.
"The GBCA has always been a strong supporter of the CBD program, which has proven to be a critical driver in unlocking the emissions reduction potential of our buildings while raising awareness of building energy performance among building occupants, delivering cost savings and creating jobs," she said.
Based on a February 4 media statement from the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg, buildings contribute around 25 per cent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. However, compared to other areas, construction is one of the simplest industries to introduce more energy efficient solutions. Such solutions could include electricity and gas use or how the building is designed and built.
Global green building market set to soar
For Australia's construction professionals, making the decision to design green buildings is certainly the way to become an industry-leader, as illustrated in a study published by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC). In the report, the percentage of businesses seeking to complete 60 per cent of their projects as green will expand to 37 per cent by 2018 - up from 18 per cent at present.
"This study offers further evidence on the strong business case for green building - the growth of which is now truly a global phenomenon," WorldGBC Terri Wills noted.
How can BIM support these goals?
If your business is looking to design and construct green buildings and infrastructure, look no further than the benefits of BIM. Through being able to establish an integrated design process from day one, construction leaders can identify how green decisions can potentially impact building energy performance. Understanding these measurements at the beginning can therefore set a platform for a successful green project.
More information on BIM
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