Time to get our act together

Written on the 15 September 2010

COMMERCIAL offices are one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in Australia, so let’s have a look at the actual dynamics of commercial property and the size of the Green Building Fund.

Round five results are not available until later this month and at the time of writing this article the latest numbers are yet to be published. The Gold Coast had two successful applications approved in round four submitted by David Kitcher of 50 Cavill Avenue Management with funding for 50 Cavill Avenue of $105,765 and also 16 Marine Parade Southport of $159,386.70.

The fund had a value of $90 million over 21 million sqm of commercial office space nationally. Of the total space around 18 million sqm requires immediate upgrade.

Rounds one to four of the fund supported some $54,000,000 of applications, which will equate to at least $108,000,000 of projects nationally over 156 applications. If we take an average of 5000sqm per building it equates to 780,000sqm of space. If we then add rounds five and six, the estimated space successful with a funding application will be around 1.2 million sqm or about 7 per cent of the target office stock. Let’s equate this in comparison to other stimulus projects as this $90 million of tax payers’ money pales into insignificance when compared to other government stimulus schemes.

School Buildings Project

It has been accepted and now documented that the schools program was rushed and has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in waste, bad planning, inadequate design and documentation, with time critical and not quality driven management.

Home Insulation scheme

Again this program was badly managed and has wasted a lot of taxpayer money, and will certainly cost more to manage the risk that the rush has created with little long term employment.
Green Building Fund

This has a competitive selection process for funding. Criteria included GHG reduction targets and most importantly, cost effectiveness of the targeted GHG reduction (providing advantage to cost competitive design and delivery solutions). The fund also required owners to have a financial interest in getting it right, for the cash value and the more significant impact on long-term value of their building.

Of the three programs, the Green Building Fund has the greatest potential to improve development of industry and future jobs, as well as not wasting tax payers’ money in the process of providing stimulus.
Moving forward we recommend the best use of taxpayer’s money will be for job creation, industry development and reducing the emissions from building stock.

GBF 2 (almost forgotten office stock):

• $300M over three years
• Commercial office space (as per GBF 1)
excluding Premium and A grade buildings
• Weighted advantage in applications for
Australian based solutions and technology.
GBF 3 (too hard basket of forgotten stock):
• $150M over three years
• Hotels and Retail centres under 10,000sqm
• Weighted advantage in applications for
Australian based solutions and technology.

GBF 2 and 3 could be funded by moderate reductions in the schools and insulation programs without damaging the delivery of these projects and it would move the people employed in these areas to a more secure ongoing employment sector that may also drive the creation of export markets for Australia.

Upgrading lower grade buildings may influence the higher grade properties to continue to improve their own performance, without having to spend taxpayer’s money in doing so.

If the government is interested in the environment and cleaning up Australian emissions, while also creating a substantial amount of longer-term employment and industry development, then the GBF should not only be extended but increased.

Let’s not lag behind other countries and see the ‘green building industry’ go the same way the Australian solar panel industry has — overseas.

Wouldn’t it be good to see more than the 7 per cent of the commercial office industry assisting in emission reduction and job creation potential – or is it just another Kevin 0.07?


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