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Commercial Building Disclosure program now in force
Released 4 November 2010

For a while it is was called Mandatory Disclosure. Now the Commonwealth Government refers to its energy efficiency mandatory disclosure system as Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD), which came into force on 1 November 2010.  

The aim of CBD is to promote energy efficiency, assist tenants looking for an energy efficient property and inform purchasers of a building’s environmental performance so they can factor in costs to upgrade if required.

Since 1 November 2010, building owners selling, leasing or sub-leasing office space 2000sq.m in size or larger must disclose the current energy efficiency rating of the premises. This is required to be a NABERS energy rating for the base building (common areas) and the rating must be prepared by a NABERS’ assessor who will need:
  • a 12-month history of energy consumption. This is generally electricity and gas bills (oil and other fuels would be added in if used in the building)
  • certified Property Council of Australia measured surveys of the building
  • a schedule of areas that were vacant during the period being rated
  • building occupancy hours
  • details of after hours air conditioning use.
The NABERS energy rating must be included in any advertisement for the sale, lease or sublease of the office space.

In addition to the NABERS energy rating, a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) will need to be prepared and disclosed. The BEEC is then registered on the Building Energy Efficiency Register. BEECs are valid for 12 months and must include: 
  • a NABERS energy rating for the building
  • an assessment of tenancy lighting in the building or in the area of the building that is being leased
  • general energy efficiency guidance.
 
Implications of disclosure

Disclosing a building’s energy efficiency has a number of implications. A low energy rating and inefficient lighting has the potential to alert a purchaser to the likelihood of large capital outlay to achieve an acceptable energy performance level.

A tenant may also be influenced by the energy rating of a building. Since the tenant is paying for energy use, a high NABERS energy rating will generally translate into lower energy bills.

Addressing a low rating and working on improving it takes careful technical planning, time and investment. In an older building, for example, chillers (e.g. air conditioning systems) near the end of their economic life could be inefficient consumers of electricity. These systems account for almost half of the electricity use of a commercial building and therefore have a direct impact on the energy rating. 


Transitioning to the program

Under the legislation, the first year is a transitional period where a valid base building NABERS energy rating is required.

There are some exemptions. These include buildings that have an occupation certificate that was issued in the two years prior to the proposed sale or lease date.

For more information visit www.cbd.gov.au