Home Property Australia New electrification requirements for government offices

New electrification requirements for government offices

  • December 06, 2023
  • by Property Australia
Energy Minister Chris Bowen delivering the Annual Climate Change Statement

As part of its Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy, the Australian Government unveiled updated Green Star and electrification mandates for buildings under government ownership.

The strategy outlines the approach and steps to reducing emissions from Australian Government operations and transitioning to net zero in areas like property, energy, procurement, fleet and travel.

This strategy is designed to assist the Commonwealth in meeting its pledge to achieve a net-zero Australian public service by 2030. It involves prioritising all-electric buildings for new office leases and striving to attain Green Star certification for upcoming office buildings acquired or built for the government.

From 1 July 2024, entities should prefer all-electric buildings where a lease is to be entered for office space. All office space with allocated parking and fleet must also have an electric charging plan where possible and should have facilities by January 1 2025.

From 1 July 2026, any office space purchased, constructed by or for the Commonwealth (including as part of a pre-commitment agreement) with a value greater than $15 million must obtain a 4 star Green Star certification, which includes complying with the Climate Positive Pathway from Green Building Council of Australia, or an approved rating from a similar industry rating framework.

A 4 star rating is the minimum required under this Strategy and entities will be encouraged to achieve a 5 or 6 star rating where possible to demonstrate leadership.

From 1 July 2025, where a lease is entered into for four or more years over an office space of 1000 square metres or more of net lettable area, then the office space and the building in which it is located must have and maintain 5.5 star or higher base building and tenancy NABERS Energy ratings.

Effective from July 1, 2026, for Commonwealth contracts involving the purchase or construction of office space exceeding $15 million, a 6-star NABERS Energy rating is mandatory. Similarly, for refurbishments of office spaces over 1000 square meters leased for over four years, a 5.5-star or higher tenancy NABERS Energy rating must be achieved and maintained from the same date.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the government is ensuring the Australian public service leads by example and secures cleaner energy for its operations.

“Reducing public sector emissions shows how serious the government is about combatting the impacts of climate change, while reaping the economic opportunities from affordable renewable energy.”

Green Building Council of Australia CEO Davina Rooney said the Australian Government has delivered an ambitious strategy using Green Star, NABERS, and Infrastructure Sustainability Council ratings, as well as electrification requirements to set a clear approach to drive down emissions in buildings.

“It’s fabulous to see our work in developing climate positive pathways for buildings has been adopted by the Australian Government,” Ms Rooney said.

“It shows a clear commitment from our government to drive down emissions at scale and it sends a message to the market that net zero in operations is the new norm.”