Members of the sustainability industry are concerned that the current review of Australia’s Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program could result in its axing, following widespread efforts to undermine energy efficiency measures under the Coalition government.
The CBD program is a nationwide initiative that seeks to improve the energy efficiency of Australian office buildings by providing ratings information to the buyers and tenants of large commercial office space.
The program has proven highly successful on the back of both growing focus on sustainability within the general population as well as the economic benefits offered by improvements to energy efficiency.
In the second year of full disclosure, over 13 million square metres of office space had their energy efficiency assessed, while nearly 900 buildings in Australia were covered by a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC).
According to Luke Menzel, acting chief executive of the Energy Efficiency Council, the CBD program has thus far proven "incredibly effective at informing prospective buyers and tenants on the energy performance of larger buildings, giving them the information they need to make better decisions."
While the Energy Efficiency Council has said it would welcome any recommendations produced by the federal government's current review of the CBD, it also points out that many in the energy efficiency sector are "extremely" concerned that the review could result in efforts to either reduce or completely dismantle the program, given steps that the government has taken with respect to other sustainability and efficiency-related initiatives.
The Coalition has launched concerted efforts to slash sustainability and efficiency initiatives. Its actions have included a review of the Renewable Energy Target that some argued was stacked against it from the outset, the removal of the carbon tax, the axing of the Greener Government Building Program in Victoria as well as the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target, and the removal of the energy Efficiency Opportunities Program.
The official language of the mission statement of the review give cause for concern, with mention of its provision of "recommendations on the merits for continuing the program and any options for its future funding."