City Switch Progress Report Executive Briefing

(6pm 15 November 2011, Sydney Town Hall Vestibule)

Thank you, Bernie Hobbs and good evening, everyone. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I also welcome Councillors John McInerney, Irene Doutney and Chris Harris and from our program partners:

  • Penny Holloway - General Manager of North Sydney Council;
  • Lorraine Wearne - Lord Mayor of Parramatta and Dr Robert Lang - CEO of Parramatta City Council;
  • Councillor Barry Thompson - Willoughby City Council;
  • Sam Cappelli - Manager of the Environment for the City of Ryde;
  • Representatives from our program partners and the City of Ryde , the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; and
  • CitySwitch signatories and distinguished guests.

I'm pleased we have this opportunity to brief you on CitySwitch and our work to position Sydney as a leading city of the global low-carbon economy.

The passage of the carbon tax legislation puts into sharp focus the business opportunities and competitive advantages for companies which grasp the issues and develop a structured approach to dealing with carbon impacts.

Any business of any size can use an examination of its carbon footprint as a good opportunity to redress operational inefficiencies.

The rest of the world is doing it - including the major economies of China and India. China has a strategy to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and India has also introduced a carbon price, albeit a relatively low one.

Governments around the world are recognising that a low-carbon economy can provide a much-needed impetus to shift to greener technologies, allowing the creation of new green jobs.

Indeed, at the C40 Major Cities summit this year, former President Bill Clinton insisted that a functioning economy was dependent on sustainability.

The property sector is a good litmus test of where we're heading. The recent expansion of NABERS to six stars shows how far the property industry has come.

It's reached a standard considered to be above world's best-practice. And it's worth noting here that 11 out of the 14 organisations already achieving this top rating were CitySwitch signatories.

The Commercial Building Disclosure scheme which came into full effect at the beginning of this month will further highlight the issue of building performance for owners and tenants. It may also lead to new opportunities to improve commercial building stock and working environments.

Future-proofing our building stock is vital and the City of Sydney is helping our residents and businesses to do that through a range of programs.

These include the Smart Green Apartments program for large residential buildings and the Better Buildings Partnership which develops collaborations between tenants and building owners.

And there's also the CitySwitch Green Office program.

This of course is all part of our wider vision, embodied in our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy. This aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 70 per cent of 2006 levels over the next two decades.

This will be achieved partly through a trigeneration network, producing low-carbon electricity. The system also captures waste heat from the generation process and uses it to heat and cool buildings.

It's almost three times as efficient as bringing coal-fired power to Sydney and its efficiency and savings on distribution costs means cheaper energy. Stockland's Castlereagh tenancy, The Dexus development at Number One Bligh Street and Fraser's development on Broadway all incorporate their own trigeneration systems.

Achievements this year suggest we're on track towards the ambitious targets for 2012.

This year we can proudly announce that:

  • CitySwitch NSW signatories cover 14 per cent of all business space, well on the way to our 2012 target of 20 per cent;
  • This represents 102 signatories, 130 tenancies and over 880,000 square metres of office space;
  • We are well underway in achieving our 4 star targets with already one third of our CitySwitch Signatories in NSW having reached this rating or above;
  • Our latest national survey confirms 96 per cent of the signatories are happy with the program;
  • 98 per cent of our members would refer the program to industry colleagues; and
  • All indicators suggest a huge range of activities being undertaken by members, with over 300 projects reported by our signatories nationally.

Earlier this year, CitySwitch expanded to take in the City of Ryde as a program partner, further expanding the impact of the program, and I urge any of you here tonight with tenancies in this area to get them on board.

I'm pleased to report that in terms of floor space involved, well over half of the total floor space signed up Australia-wide is actually here in NSW.

CitySwitch is reaching new commercial offices with 13 new signatories joining the program since November last year. We welcome these new organisations - they represent a further 16% NLA growth from last year.

In 2010-2011 we also:

  • Celebrated our third year as a national program;
  • Celebrated our signatories through the Green Globe Awards - and we were delighted to see Investa Property Group receive the prestigious Premier's Award for Sustainability Excellence;
  • In City of Sydney, we forged links with building owners through the Better Buildings Partnership; and
  • We recently launched the City's NABERS Energy Rating Grants Program. This provides support for small-to-medium tenancies to sign up to CitySwitch and follows similar initiatives from Willoughby, Melbourne and Perth.

The City will also provide a new service to commercial building owners under the new NSW Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA) law. It will give building owners a new way to pay for environmental upgrades such as energy and water-saving improvements. CitySwitch supports this new initiative, to give Signatories who are interested directions and advice on how to engage with their building owners. We understand other NSW councils are fast following with similar initiatives.

Tonight, however, we are celebrating the achievements so far. All of you have committed to achieve at least a four-star NABERS energy rating. So I would like especially to congratulate those business [point to rolling logos] for achieving and maintaining that commitment.

They've undertaken a range of projects - from behaviour-change programs to equipment upgrades to sustainable transport initiatives, among others. This terrific work is there to be shared, and CitySwitch is where we can share it.

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for your genuine commitment to this program, and for your contribution towards a sustainable Sydney.

Presentation to the 2011 winners.

CitySwitch Award winners have maintained or improved their NABERS tenancy, or whole-building rating; they've achieved significant energy savings and introduced innovative efficiencies into their offices.

I'm told by the judges that the two winners were up against some tough competition, so before I announce the winner, they have asked that I announce commendations to the following signatories:

  • Energetics;
  • Jones Lang LaSalle;
  • The DEXUS Property Group;
  • Stockland; and
  • Climate Friendly.

So, onto the awards. In the category of Signatory of the Year under 2000 square metres, the winner is: 135 on King

In the over-2000 square metres category, I'm pleased to announce the Signatory of the Year is: Norton Rose

Congratulations to 135 on King and to Norton Rose. As NSW winners, you now are up for consideration as national CitySwitch Signatory of the Year. Well done!

Success breeds success, and as word continues to spread, CitySwitch will reach its 2012 targets. Well done, everyone.