In my post last week, I tried to explain a little bit about what I'll be researching in Australia on the Fulbright Professional Scholar Grant (short answer - the commercial building energy disclosure program). The other question I get often is "Why Australia?" The simple answer is because the U.S. and Australia have so many similarities. The real estate markets are similar. The building characteristics are similar. The benchmarking tools are similar (NABERS and Energy Star Portfolio Manager).
But there is more. Here is an excerpt from my proposal about how some of the initial benchmarking data compare.
The U.S. and Australia benchmarking statistics stand out internationally because of their similarity. Australia is slightly ahead and slightly more successful than the U.S. on most metrics. For example,
· 60 percent of Australian office space was voluntarily benchmarked before it became mandatory (Bannister, 2012). At the equivalent time before the NYC law became effective, the US benchmarked office space was somewhere between 40 to 50 percent (EPA, 2010).
· In late 2012, 11.1 million square meters, or 66 percent of Australian office space was benchmarked (NSWOEH, 2012), while the U.S. reports about the same penetration, with 834 million square meters (EPA, 2013).
· Office buildings repeatedly benchmarking in the US and Australia both show nine percent improvements in energy efficiency (NSWOEH, 2012 and EPA, 2012).
· Highly rated Australian offices attain rent premiums of up to three percent and show value premiums of two to nine percent, while low rated offices have up to nine percent lower rents. (Newell, McFarlane, and Kok, 2011). Multiple studies on Energy Star and LEED buildings show rent premiums of two to nine percent and value premiums of six to 31 percent (IBE 2012).
NABERS - National Australian Built Environment Rating System
EPA - US Environmental Protection Agency
NSWOEH - New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage
IBE - Johnson Controls' Institute for Building Efficiency