Why be energy efficient?

Improving energy efficiency in the commercial and services sector makes good business sense. Investing in the overall energy efficiency of commercial buildings improves asset value by costing less to operate and maintain. Energy-efficient green buildings secure tenants more quickly, enjoy lower tenant turnover, command higher rents and prices, and improve the productivity of occupants.

Increasingly, government and large corporations are using green leases that require owners of office and commercial building space to meet certain energy efficiency standards. The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program requires sellers or lessors of office space with a net lettable area of 1,000 square metres (from 1 July 2017) or more, to obtain and disclose an up-to-date energy efficiency rating.

For these reasons, it pays to invest in energy efficiency opportunities.


Significant energy saving opportunities exist for the commercial and services sector in the following areas:

See all opportunities in Commercial and services

Case studies

Key resources

  • AHA Hotel Energy Efficiency Program 2013 (Opens in a new window)

    This website provides information for the hospitality and accommodation sectors to assess how energy is used in their businesses, identify emissions, and implement strategies to reduce energy use and operational costs.

    Topics covered include:

    • Energy efficiency in business planning
    • Behaviour change for energy efficiency
    • Understanding energy bills and tariffs
    • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
    • Lighting
    • Other equipment energy efficiencies
    • Renovations and refurbishments
    • Resource use and the supply chain
    • Energy efficiency induction manual
    • Australian Hotels Association
    • Web
  • Master Grocers Australia Energy Efficiency Information Project 2013

    The Master Grocers Australia Energy Efficiency Information Project (EEIP) is an initiative to help reduce the amount of energy used in stores. It aims to help users understand and implement opportunities to reduce store energy costs in a range of areas, including in refrigeration, heating and cooling, lighting, hot water and other appliances and equipment.

  • Energy Management Guide for Tenants 2012 (Opens in a new window)

    This guide developed by National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) assists tenants in office buildings to manage their energy use. It provides practical advice for tenants in large and small offices, new fitouts and established tenancies on how to save energy, as well as where to go for professional advice and assistance.

  • Low Energy Buildings in Europe: Current State of Play, Definitions and Best Practice 2009 (Opens in a new window)

    In low energy buildings, as much as 80% of the operational costs can be saved through integrated design solutions; however there is still a limited market uptake. So far, around 20.000 low energy houses have been built in Europe of which approximately 17.000 in Germany and Austria alone. This document provides background information regarding definitions, calculation methods and MS policies, as well as best practice examples of low energy buildings in Europe.

  • Commercial Building Initiative (Opens in a new window)

    The Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) aims to significantly improve the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial buildings. To achieve this goal, CBI researches technologies, strategies, and tools to improve energy savings over current building codes. CBI also engages commercial building owners and operators to ensure these technologies are market-ready.

  • Low Growth Carbon Plan - Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings 2010 (Opens in a new window)

    This report from ClimateWorks Australia and the Australian Carbon Trust utilises the commercial buildings sector analysis of the Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia to identify significant carbon emission reduction opportunities and energy and cost savings achievable by making Australia’s commercial buildings more energy efficient.

  • Energy Efficiency in Commercial and Residential Buildings 2011

    This report from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (formerly Skills Australia) considered the energy efficiency skill and job requirements for businesses operating in the commercial and residential building sectors. The report finds that energy efficiency initiatives in the built environment will create some new occupations, however, of more significance for the labour market, is the need to update skills and knowledge in existing occupations.

    • Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency
  • Understanding the Performance of Commercial Green Buildings 2011 (Opens in a new window)

    This research report by the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre examines the performance of, and interaction between, green design elements, internal environmental quality, occupant experience, tenant/leasing agreements, and building regulation and management.

    • Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre
    • PDF 391 KB
  • Energy Mass Balance: Commercial Buildings 2010 (Opens in a new window)

    This document developed by the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program provides details on how to undertake an energy-mass balance (EMB) on a commercial building. An EMB is a model, from an energy perspective, of how a process or system works. It helps to understand the energy flows, mass flows, and other factors influencing energy efficiency, to determine the efficiencies of processes and equipment, and to evaluate the effects of external factors. For commercial buildings, these may include the location of buildings, the work tasks performed within the building, occupant behavior, external temperatures and the architectural design of the building, and how these impact on energy usage.

    • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
    • PDF 550KB
  1. Green Building Council of Australia (2008) Green Building Market Report 2008 (Cost associated with this product)
  2. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2005) Green Value: Green Buildings, Growing Assets Green Values Report (Opens in a new window) PDF 260 KB
  3. Department of Industry Commercial Building Disclosure