City Businesses Make the Switch

City-based Knight Frank and Nunkuwarrin Yunti are joined by 54 businesses and organisations that have improved office energy efficiency, saving both money and reducing carbon emissions, as part of the CitySwitch Green Office program.

The national CitySwitch program provides education, resources, and facilitates networks across the City Council and beyond, to help businesses continue to grow in a sustainable way.

To date, 190,000 square metres of CBD office space is included in the program and more than 3,000,000 square metres participate nationally. Early adopters who embed sustainability principles into their business planning gain a competitive advantage both short and long term as they improve energy efficiencies and reduce energy costs over time.

City of Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese says it is important for as many buildings as possible to make the switch, which will be a benefit to businesses across the city.

“Reducing energy costs in buildings just makes good business sense,” Haese says.

“Businesses who have smaller energy costs can reinvest their savings into their businesses in other ways – who wouldn’t want to save money in one area so they can spend on another area to help grow their business?”

“As the world moves to a low–carbon future, there are significant economic benefits to be had by making Adelaide a showcase city for innovation and technology in this area,” Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter says.

Examples of how to make the switch are provided by the 2015 South Australian CitySwitch winners: both Knight Frank (office size under 2000m2) and Nunkuwarrin Yunti (office size over 2000m2) have achieved five-star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) energy ratings.

Knight Frank used energy efficiency technologies in their office refurbishment, including upgrades to lighting, IT and printing practices, and an adjustment to server room temperatures. Nunkuwarrin Yunti updated their environmental policy and implemented a behaviour change campaign as well as upgrading heating, ventilation and air–conditioning systems.

Nationally there are 739 tenancies that are members of CitySwitch, covering more than three million square metres of office space equating to 12 percent of total office space in Australia.

CitySwitch is part of a suite of support programs offered by Adelaide City Council to enable businesses, community groups, residents and educational institutions to reduce carbon emissions resulting from their activities and buildings to transition to achieving Carbon Neutral Adelaide.

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The Sustainable City Incentives Scheme provides financial support to encourage residents, businesses, educational institutions and others to transition to solar energy sources and energy choices.

Reimbursements for 20 to 50 percent of expenditure are available (for up to $5,000 for some items) for installing solar PV associated battery energy storage, electric vehicle charging controllers, apartment building energy efficiency upgrades, changing quartz halogen downlights to LED downlights, installing an energy–monitoring system and for installing solar hot water systems.

To date, three energy storage systems have been installed by residents and small business, as well as growing interest and commitment to several more storage installations for residents, sporting clubs and businesses.

Large and small businesses are demonstrating the business case for solar PV, for example, JLL has installed a greater than 70kW system at 45 Pirie Street and is investigating numerous other major CBD rooftop PV opportunities. Smaller businesses can also benefi t from making the change, Leaders Computers at Franklin Street is transitioning to solar PV firstly to reduce costs and secondly to reduce their environmental impact.

Materials and design of city buildings can also make a huge difference, but new buildings in the city will remain a relatively small proportion of the building stock, so retrofitting existing built forms will be a significant contributor to the transition to Carbon Neutral Adelaide.

To this end, a State and Local Government Partnership has established the Building Upgrade Finance program to overcome barriers to improving the energy, water or environmental performance of existing commercial buildings.

Once established, building owners will be able to undertake environmental upgrades and the repayments to their financial institution will be made through a separate building upgrade charge on their quarterly Council rates notice.

This will overcome a common barrier to owners completing energy efficiency upgrades, known as the split incentive, where a landlord upgrades a building but the savings from reduced energy use flow to the tenant. Building Upgrade Finance will enable landlords and tenants to share the cost savings gained through reduced utility bills as part of their existing lease agreement.

This program will be available soon; interested building owners can find more information from: environment.sa.gov.au

More about CitySwitch and the Sustainable City Incentives Scheme can be found at: adelaidecitycouncil.com

These programs are part of a multifaceted approach taken by the Adelaide City Council and the SA Government to become carbon neutral and safeguard Adelaide’s liveability into the future.

This article is sponsored by Adelaide City Council

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