Energy use for buildings, equipment and vehicles

When it comes to energy efficiency, your assets are one of the biggest ways to save your business money. It also makes sense to help preserve the world’s resources, while attracting customers who support a business that cares about its energy use and the environment.

Whether you own an office, vehicles or machinery and equipment, there are many ways you can improve your energy use.

To maximise the benefits, make sure you involve your employees in the process and train them in any new technologies.

Have a look at a few of the ways below:

Energy efficiency and buildings

If you’re building your own premises, it’s better to improve your energy efficiency from the start. Careful thought of materials, passive design, orientation and location of a building ensures that you take full advantage of natural surroundings and rely less on heating and cooling systems.

When you consider the design of your new building, ensure it also complies with government standards and regulations. The National Construction Code and the Australian Building Codes Board include their handbooks and energy efficiency requirements to help you improve the energy efficiency of your commercial building.

Upgrade an existing building

If you already own a building or office, there are a number of upgrades that can reduce your energy use and save you money. Energy efficiency improvements can also increase your NABERS star rating, property value and attract higher rental returns if you were to lease your property.

Here are just a few ways to upgrade your building or office:

  • reduce heat escaping by double glazing windows and insulating walls
  • reduce draught by sealing doors and windows and installing automatic doors
  • buy energy efficient light bulbs and install timers for lighting
  • consider more energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and use the thermostat to automate temperatures
  • for larger energy users such as offices, hotels and data centres, consider systems that generate heating, cooling and power such as cogeneration or tri-generation technology. Cogeneration systems generate heat and power, while tri-generation systems generate heat, power and cooling.

Leasing a green building

If you’re looking to lease a building, you can reduce your energy costs by choosing a building that already implements energy saving measures. The energy rating of the building can help you choose one that is more energy efficient.

Owners of office buildings of 2000 square metres or more being sold or let, must have an up-to-date Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) and disclose the building’s rating to buyers or lessees. See the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program website to find out more.

You may also want to consider discussing a green lease. With this type of lease, the tenant and the building owner seek to jointly reduce the energy use of the premises, which often results in benefits for both.

If you’re already leasing a building, there are still steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your building. Download the NABERS Energy Management Guide for Tenants to find out more.

Fuel efficiency

Switching to a fuel efficient or an alternate fuel vehicle or truck can save your business money and reduce greenhouse and air pollution emissions.

Fuel-efficient cars also have a higher threshold for the Luxury Car Tax and some insurers may offer discounts. Although fuel-efficient vehicles may cost more upfront, choosing a cheaper and less efficient model could end up costing your business more in the long run. Consider fuel and maintenance costs when choosing which vehicle is right for your circumstances.

Fuel consumption

If you sell vehicles in Australia, or plan on buying a vehicle for your business, you must show a fuel consumption label on the front windscreen. The label shows how many litres of fuel a vehicle will use, and enables you and your customers to compare vehicles with good fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse impact.

There are also other ways to reduce your overall transport costs such as fuel-efficient driving tips, regular maintenance, weight management, logistics and choice of transport.

  • Use the Green Vehicle Guide to see how fuel efficient your existing vehicle is or to help you decide on purchasing a more fuel efficient or electric car. See the Truck Buyers Guide for step by step guidance on choosing a fuel efficient truck.

Appliances equipment and technology

Selecting the right appliances and technology for your business and using them more efficiently will help reduce energy use and improve your bottom line.

New technologies for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, motor, lighting, pump, and boiler systems can also help you achieve greater energy savings.

  • Search the Energy Rating website to help choose the best product for your business. The energy rating label includes a star rating allowing you to compare different models of common appliance types. The more stars a model has, the higher its energy efficiency.
  • Read the Energy rating and labelling page for more information energy efficiency ratings on appliances.
  • Find out what energy technologies exist and what systems are suitable by exploring the Energy Exchange website.

Water efficiency

If any of your business equipment uses water, such as showers, tap equipment, flow controllers, toilets, clothes washing machines or dishwashers, you need to be aware of the mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme. In addition, plumbers and builders need to ensure they don't sell or supply a product without the WELS label.
If you don’t have the money to upgrade to more energy efficient equipment, look at how to use your existing equipment better.

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