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Navigating Decarbonisation and Net Zero in the Built Environment

Situation

In late 2023, the Federal Government released the Australian Public Service (APS) Net Zero Strategy, which outlines the approach and important steps to reducing emissions from Australian government operations and transitioning to net zero in areas of property, energy, procurement, fleet, and travel.   

Key actions include: 

  • Transitioning to renewable energy, facilitated through a whole of government coordinated procurement of electricity, 
  • Improving building energy efficiency and electrification, and 
  • Transitioning the APS fleet to Zero Emission Vehicles where appropriate 

More specifically related to the built environment: 

  • From 1 July 2024, where a lease is to be entered into for office space, entities should prefer all-electric buildings, particularly if the Commonwealth is directly responsible for base building services costs. 
  • From 1 July 2025, where a lease is entered into for four or more years over an office space with 1,000m2 or more of net lettable area, 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.   

For more information, please refer to APS Net Zero – Our path to Net Zero (finance.gov.au) 

In addition to the above, asset investors and corporate occupiers with clear decarbonisation, ESG, or net zero targets and pathways are increasing the demand for high-performing assets and accommodation, commonly known as the “flight to quality”.

As a result, the built environment in Australia is shifting towards building electrification, entailing the replacement of fossil-fuel sources of power with electric solutions.  For commercial office buildings, this includes the replacement of natural gas used for space heating, domestic hot water, and cooking for all electric plants.   

Making the change requires careful consideration. 

Electrification of existing commercial buildings has several challenges. ACOR can advise asset owners on a strategy to transition to an all-electric future. The planning phase of any electrification project of an existing building is key to achieving a successful outcome.

At the planning phase, ACOR will provide the necessary due diligence on the existing building with respect to key risks and challenges, including but not limited to understanding the asset lifecycle, capital investment, impact on current NABERS ratings, change-over strategy, spatial planning, structure, electrical infrastructure, climate considerations, and future maintenance.

ACOR provides a holistic service offering around building electrification.  This is a significant investment for an asset owner, and ACOR as their partner, needs to be providing the best advice with respect to whole-of-life returns and asset resilience.  Our service offering includes advisory, modelling, whole-of-life costings, and design.