In the midst of Australia’s concrete jungles, there are green shoots of hope.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which is backed by the government, recently poured $100 million into an Australian investment fund, targeting zero carbon emissions across an impressive portfolio of buildings in the heart of Sydney and Melbourne.
The AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, is building a network of net zero carbon emission buildings, effectively drawing a line in the sand for future facility standards and championing green buildings.
The Green Building Council Australia has reported that the built environment is responsible for around 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions. Given this staggering figure, it’s understandable that the building sector is feeling pressure to investigate more energy efficient solutions and create a stronger foundation for the future.
In many cases, a 5.5 or 6-star NABERS rating average is unexpectedly achievable. Environmental improvements do not need to be grandiose or drastic. There simply needs to be a firm commitment within Australia’s building sector that the time has come to make a consistent change, a commitment, which must be backed by the intelligent adoption of modern technology.
The recently published World Green Building Trends 2016 Smart Market Report of Dodge Data & Analytics, highlighted a number of noteworthy insights into the reasons behind growth in global green buildings activity which, they report, has continued to double every three years.
One noteworthy takeaway, which builds a strong case for investments in green buildings – like that of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – is that more environmentally sound building structures often benefit from the process of upgrading, by meeting organisational and environmental priorities in tandem.
The three major environmental benefits of green buildings are reducing energy consumption, protecting natural resources and reducing water consumption. In isolation, these three environmental reasons should be compelling enough. However, from a business point of view, the case grows stronger when considering that implementing greener buildings strategies also means lowering operating costs, raising operational performance and increasing sustainability awareness.
Furthermore, carbon reduction strategies can not only demonstrably reduce costs, but also boost health and well-being of building occupants and enhance the value of these assets.
In order to achieve these goals, the smart market report also highlighted the leading green product categories used in most projects: electrical, thermal/moisture protection and an integrated building automated system. With a range of options available, the most important step for decision makers is to begin working closely with a qualified expert to unlock the possibilities for increasing efficiencies within existing buildings and to create a sustainable environmental strategy.
We are living in a connected world, and the prevalence of smart buildings will help augment environmental practices and meet climate goals.
Recently, the Green Building Council of Australia advised that new buildings will have to be carbon emissions neutral by 2030, and existing buildings by 2050, if Australia is to meet its international climate change obligations. The targets set are undoubtedly daunting and the Australian building sector needs to create a cost effective pathway to achieving a carbon positive built environment that will help achieve an international climate target, while also hopefully increasing the property’s value.
Like many things in life, the future of green buildings will come from the efficacy of those who have started their sustainable journey. Beyond the cost benefits to their buildings, those who have embraced green buildings are creating a viable environmental pathway for those who follow. Currently, the eyes of the world are trained on Australia, ready to see what its next steps towards contributing effectively to fighting climate change will involve.
The implementation of an effective green building strategy in your business can no longer be delayed; the time to act is now.