What is Mandatory Disclosure?
Commercial buildings account for at least ten percent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions which are predominantly caused by poor energy efficiency, poor energy management and outdated technology. The Government’s spotlight on the effects of climate change and Australia’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions has put the attention on the nation’s largest contributors. Therefore, in line with a world wide focus on reducing emissions, the Government in 2008 released a Regulation Impact Statement and Regulation Document for the introduction of ‘mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency’ for commercial buildings from 2010.
Mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency will affect all owners and developers of commercial office buildings and tenants occupying premises with a Net Lettable Area (NLA) of 2000m² or more and will also try to encourage smaller building owners and tenants to ‘voluntarily disclose’ information. The format is similar to the UK’s current scheme, known as the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and the DEC (Display Energy Certificate). This requires mandatory disclosure at the time of first interest for purchase or letting through production of an EPC. The EPC provides prospective purchasers and tenants with information on the energy efficiency potential of a building or tenancy with the DEC targeted at raising public awareness of energy efficiency within the building.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions the purpose of the mandatory disclosure scheme is to assist commercial buyers and tenants who will be able to compare a building’s energy efficiency when choosing to buy or rent. The other key objectives will be to overcome market impediments and ensure that both parties in a transaction have access to credible and meaningful information. This will also encourage incentives for energy efficiency improvements in office buildings and hopefully stimulate investment.
Whilst there is a downturn in property disposals and acquisitions this is an ideal time for property owners to get their ‘house in order’. Initially and prior to the introduction of mandatory disclosure this can be simply achieved by means of good advice and a preliminary audit to see where their asset sits in terms of a NABERS rating. This will give property owners a more informed understanding of where there building is currently placed in the market in terms of energy efficiency.
Queensland and NSW Laboratory specialise in flow and process engineering, occupational hygiene, asbestos, noise, odour, water and air quality, and environmental management.