If you sell, lease or sub-lease a commercial building over 2,000m2, you are legally required to have a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC). This legal requirement is legislated in the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010, and is more commonly known as the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program. So far, over 1,500 unique buildings have been assessed under the CBD program. The program has been getting more air time recently thanks to an upcoming change.

From 1st July 2017, the CBD program threshold will drop to 1,000m2. It is anticipated that  two to three times more buildings will be required to have a BEEC. In short, there are going to be a lot more commercial property managers, real estate agents and building owners who need to understand what a BEEC is. So, here’s a quick guide.

What is a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate?

A BEEC consists of two parts; a valid NABERS rating and a valid Tenancy Lighting Assessment. A BEEC must be provided by a certified assessor and is valid for 12 months.

What is a NABERS rating?

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) is a 6-star rating scale that measures the environmental performance of buildings. It uses your utility bills and net lettable area and converts them to a rating from 1 to 6 stars for your building, tenancy or home. A NABERS rating is valid for 12 months from the time of certification. NABERS ratings must be carried out be a certified NABERS assessor.

For a BEEC your NABERS rating must either be for your Base Building or Whole Building. A Base Building rating does not included energy consumed by tenant lighting or plug-loads, only base building services. It requires that the tenancy services are already sub-metered. A Whole Building assessment, takes into consideration all energy use, base building and tenancy.

What is a Tenancy Lighting Assessment?

A Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA) is a survey of your existing lighting system and any lighting control system within the tenancy that is being sold, leased or sub-leased. The TLA provides a measurement of power density for your given tenancy and compares this to industry benchmarks.

What do I do with a BEEC?

Along with any advertisements for the property you must advertise the NABERS energy rating. A BEEC must also be provided to any potential buyers or lessors. Additionally, your BEEC will be publicly accessible via the Building Energy Efficiency Register.

How much does a BEEC cost?

It varies based on the size and complexity of a facility. An approximate cost range is between $4,000 and $13,000. Because of this large range, it's recommended that you get multiple quotes to ensure you're getting value for money.

Seems expensive, what if I don't get a BEEC?

If you don't provide a BEEC you could be liable for a fine of up to $180,000 for the first day of non-compliance and $18,000 for every subsequent day. In short, don't risk it.

Why is the Government taking this approach?

The underlying principle is that the Government want commercial buildings to be more energy efficient. By legislating the disclosure of building energy efficiency ratings, it is encouraging the 'market forces' to take over. It implies that a tenant looking for office space would select a 4.5 star NABERS rating building over a 2 star building. For a tenant, a higher rated building means lower utility costs, among many other benefits of energy efficient buildings. Therefore, to remain competitive in the market, building owners will improve the efficiency of their buildings. For the Government, this is a low cost approach to encouraging energy efficiency compared to offering grants and other incentives.

So, how do I get a BEEC?

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