Upgrading Melbourne’s buildings impacts gas emissions

Published: 21 May 2018
Once again great leadership has been demonstrated by Sustainability Victoria. The AMCA welcomes the outcomes of the new report released. Our members play a significant role in potential savings for energy and greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial built environment. Emissions savings equivalent to hundreds of thousands of cars off the road are possible if Melbourne’s buildings undergo an upgrade, according a new report release by Sustainability Victoria.

The report, Next Wave Refresh 2018, analyses Victorian commercial building stock – including retail, healthcare and accommodation in Melbourne metro and regional areas – for potential savings energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, upgrades to offices over 2,000m2 in the City of Melbourne represent the largest opportunity for savings – the amount of emissions that could potentially be saved is equivalent to taking 103,947 cars off the road or not driving 1.3 billion kilometres.

Upgrades to offices under 2000m2 in the Melbourne could potentially save emitting 270,000 tonnes CO2 per annum – the same as taking 71,053 cars off the road.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said that a large number of Melbourne’s office buildings were constructed between the years 1980–1989.

“These buildings have an enormous opportunity to both save money and cut CO2 emissions by simply upgrading their centralised heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems,” said Mr Krpan.

“If these upgrades result in a 1 star increase in National Australian Built Environment Rating System rating, an emissions saving of 128,000 tonnes CO2 a year is possible.

“This is equivalent to planting almost 200,000 trees,” he said.

The report indicates that the largest emissions and water intensive areas for retail can be found in metropolitan Melbourne. These buildings emit 629,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and use the equivalent of 4,178 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water each year.

For accommodation, the report shows that the largest emissions use in the accommodation sector can be attributed to 60 large buildings in the City of Melbourne. The buildings are responsible for an estimated 174,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

Mr Krpan said that Sustainability Victoria has funding available to upgrade commercial buildings.

“Commercial buildings provide great opportunities for energy efficiency improvements with short payback periods.

“We are calling for applications from commercial building owners, agents, tenants and facility managers in Victoria, keen to identify and implement energy efficiency upgrades that lead to an improvement in building performance.

“Commercial buildings can include offices, hotels, retail and data centres, and some mixed-use buildings,” Mr Krpan said.