Earlier this year, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg announced the expansion of the government’s Commercial Building Disclosure program (CBD).

Around 1,000 commercial buildings across Australia will be affected, with the changes seeing the CBD threshold drop from 2,000 to 1,000 square metres. From July 2017, commercial spaces which fall within the boundaries of the program will be required to meet the NABERS energy efficiency rating and present an energy efficiency certificate on selling or leasing the building.

It’s a promising move which is likely to drive down GHG emission by around 2.5 million tonnes over the next five years – with an estimated cost saving of $50 million.

In light of these changes, businesses across Australia will be looking to smarten up their energy efficiency act and seek new ways to ensure their buildings are attractive to current and potential owners or renters.

But where to start? Here are some simple steps that will put your building firmly on the path to achieving an enviable energy efficiency rating – as well as save you money off your operating costs.

Start with data driven insights

Don’t jump in and implement the latest efficiency saving technology solution without getting a good understanding of how your building is actually performing. Today, smart building management systems can draw in data from all aspects of a building and present a clear picture of where power quality and energy inefficiencies exist.

Taking it a step further, innovative cloud-based solutions and managed services offers, like Facility Insights from Schneider Electric, provide additional expert support to help facility managers and owners to analyse and manage their facilities data and optimise energy consumption. Simple dashboards display energy usage in specific building areas, providing reports and in-depth analysis as well as recommendation on ways to improve energy usage.

Implement smart energy management solutions

With the knowledge of where you’re using energy inefficiently, you can identify the solutions that are going to help minimise this. It’s good to start with fixing the basics, such as high efficiency lighting, variable speed driver, cooling solutions, power factor correction and harmonic mitigation solutions.

Move on to automation next. Automating HVAC, lighting, climate control and other critical functions optimises your building’s energy consumption while improving security and staff efficiency. For example, just by automating your lighting – you’ll never have to worry about others leaving the lights on again.

Lastly, talk to your utilities provider about incentivised energy billing. You can get discounts for using energy at certain times, while not at others.

Continue to monitor and improve

A comprehensive energy efficiency strategy can save up around 30 per cent off your energy costs. So once you have made improvements that have reduced your carbon footprint and are saving you money, you will want to make sure that the savings are sustainable.

This is when smart building management systems and advanced offers like Facility Insights come in useful again – to help ensure that you can continually monitor building performance and maintain those efficiencies as your property evolves.