Flicking the Switch on Sustainability

(8am, Museum Contemporary Art, George Street)

Thank you, Andrew [Andrew Petersen, MC].

I'd also like to acknowledge Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment, ACT Government, Simon Corbell.

I've been asked to speak to you very briefly about the City of Sydney and Better Buildings Partnership's biggest accomplishments in energising communities on sustainability.

The partnership was an initiative of City of Sydney as part of our commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 under our Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision. It's a collaborative program with Sydney's leading commercial property owners to improve the sustainability performance of existing buildings.

With a mix of leading institutional landlords, property managers, industry bodies, government agencies and the City, the Partnership represents more than half of Sydney's total commercial floor space - and it influences considerably more.

The partnership has demonstrated that action on climate change makes good business sense. It has resulted in a $25 million saving in electricity costs a year and a 31 per cent reduction in emissions from building upgrades since 2006 - a considerable achievement.

It also plays a vital role establishing the global reputation of our city as a leader in sustainability.

Last year the Banksia Foundation awarded the Better Buildings Partnership an Innovation Award for its work in best practice leasing. This recognised the Partnership's innovative work in creating opportunities for collaboration with tenants to improve the performance of their entire buildings.

We see this as the next frontier of high performance.

The tenant space consumes more that 50% of the entire building's energy, but the opportunity for owners to improve performance is often constrained to tenant turnaround periods, about once every ten years.

The Partnership's leasing work aims to establish a collaborative ongoing relationship, enabling tenants and owners to discuss and implement new systems and processes to improve performance at any time.

For example, office temperature is controlled by the building owner and current leases can specify 21-24 degrees centigrade irrespective of the season.

A best practice lease allows the tenant and building owner to discuss what's best for the parties and vary the agreement throughout the lease term as circumstances change. This can deliver real benefits - not over cooling or overheating a tenant space by a degree decreases energy demand by 5-10 per cent.

The Partnership's home of best practice website has great tools and resources to support this work, including research, model lease clauses and case studies to inspire action. Its comprehensive assessment of the Sydney market shows the take up of best practice lease conditions is accelerating - both in terms of the number of parties using them and the number of clauses within them being implemented.

The role of the City in enabling this collaboration between building owners and now between owners and tenants is one of our most significant achievements (it is reducing carbon emissions, delivering major bill savings and enhancing our reputation globally) and an accomplishment of which we should all be proud.

Thank you and I look forward to the panel discussion.