Improving building performance from average to best practice can deliver significant financial and environmental benefits. Furthermore, these upgrades will future-proof the building and protect against rising energy and other costs. Members of the Better Buildings Partnership are saving over $30 million in energy costs annually from upgrade works to their buildings, and the partnership’s work on water efficiency is preparing buildings for future water shortage risks.
With a high level of experience in building efficiency, the partnership provides technical and commercial advice for upgrades and building tuning, as well input into the City of Sydney master plans for energy efficiency and water. As leaders in the management and measurement of commercial buildings the BBP has produced a number of case studies of successful asset management and upgrades undertaken by members. The case studies help demonstrate the necessary step of energy efficiency measures in reducing greenhouse gas emissions before supplementary low-carbon or renewable energy solutions are implemented.
Working towards improved energy efficiency
Industry studies including the Warren Centre’s low-energy high-rise report note that most buildings can achieve a 4 star NABERS Energy base building rating solely through improved management practices. Benchmarks, establishing metrics to measure performance, communication and action plans are essential basics to reducing energy consumption and improving building energy efficiency.
As energy efficiency gains plateau, the consideration of low-carbon and renewable energy solutions come closer. The partnership informed the development of the City of Sydney’s energy efficiency master plan, which includes a thermal reticulation network across the City. The partnership is also part of a key group collaborating with the City to investigate and implement the master plan and developing commercially viable energy infrastructure to create low-carbon zones across the city. The aim is to make this green infrastructure available to the entire property market.
As part of the BBP’s commitment to continue to investigate the feasibility of thermal reticulation networks, the partnership will be releasing a checklist for asset and building managers to determine whether their buildings can connect to a network like that proposed by the City of Sydney’s decentralised energy master plan.
Working towards improved water efficiency
The Water Technical Working Group has additionally released connection guidelines for preparing a building for recycled water. These guidelines outline the considerations and practical needs for building owners and facilities managers to specify the upgrade of assets for recycled water. They have been written on the premise that:
- An off-site recycled water scheme would be designed to supply non potable water of a quality that is fit for the purpose of cooling tower, toilet flushing and irrigation without requiring the need to change the existing cooling tower, toilet and urinals.
- The cost of connecting an existing building to a recycled water network is minimised by undertaking the required plumbing upgrades incrementally during planned building refurbishment. Capability to connect to recycled water can be built into the retrofit scope in advance of the recycled water scheme being completed.
- As soon as the recycled water supply network is built, the buildings that have been retrofitted for receiving the recycled water from an off-site scheme will be ready to connect to the network.
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