The latest environmental performance data, released by Investa Office (“Investa”) this week, show they have achieved an 8.5 per cent reduction in electricity intensity and a 10 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity across their $7.41 billion office portfolio since 2011 – contributing to lower energy costs in their buildings and lower, relative outgoings for tenants.

During a period2 when Australia experienced the hottest summer on record, with high temperatures placing extra pressure on building services such as air conditioning, Investa continued to reduce overall base building energy use, achieving a weighted average NABERS Energy Rating across the portfolio of 4.32 Stars, without the use of Green Power3, up from 3.99 Stars the previous year.

Investa supplements its own active building management with a range of products and services designed to incentivise tenants to save energy and to operate more sustainable work places. One example is their lighting efficiency program – the Investa Sustainability Incentive – which encourages tenants to invest in upgrades to office lighting controls to reduce energy use within their tenancy. This also reduces the heat load and burden on air-conditioning for the building as a whole, thereby reducing overall operating costs and contributing to enhanced financial performance of the buildings for investors.

Investa tenants also have access to products that contribute to healthier, more productive workplaces such as Ecospace, which is designed to educate tenants on how to create a more sustainable office fit-out when they are refurbishing their work space, through the use of low emission paints and carpet tiles, waterless urinals and efficient lighting and controls.

Beck Dawson, General Manager, Corporate Sustainability said: "We are aware that our biggest impacts lie in the management of our assets and particularly in the use of electricity, gas and water. As a result, we are committed to maximising the environmental performance of buildings across our portfolio.

With temperatures getting warmer and further extreme weather conditions anticipated in the coming years, along with steadily increasing electricity costs, it’s clear that the focus on energy consumption is critical to both the effective performance of our assets and our ability to provide our tenants with comfortable working spaces that are cheaper to run.”

A commitment to repositioning older properties and improving their environmental performance has been a pivotal part of Investa's strategy. In 2013, for the first time, Investa achieved 5.5 Star NABERS ratings on four buildings, with three of these being assets built more than 18 years ago. 260 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, a 24 year old building, was one of the most efficiently operated base buildings in the City of Sydney during 2012/13. Through a combination of strategic re-positioning and active management, the building achieved a 5.5 NABERS Energy Rating, well above the CBD average of 3 Stars, without the use of Green Power. In Brisbane, despite the buildings in this portfolio averaging 29 years of age, there was a 17% reduction in emissions intensity for the year, in addition to a 4.5 Stars weighted average NABERS Energy Rating and 4.1 Stars NABERS Water Rating.

Ms Dawson said: “In the Sydney CBD alone, 65% of the buildings standing today will still be here in 20304, it is therefore important that building owners are able to identify what aspects of managing buildings and capital expenditure will have the greatest impact on its environmental performance. This is particularly so for older buildings, which may not have the base specifications or design to enable strong environmental performance.

An important part of this is harnessing the ‘people factor’ to help boost the performance of these older buildings and ensuring we provide innovative data tools and learning processes that help our employees actively manage their buildings.”

Key Highlights – Investa Office Sustainability Report 2012/13
˃  NABERS Energy portfolio weighted average - 4.32 Stars
˃  NABERS Water portfolio weighted average - 3.67 Stars
˃  8.5% reduction in electricity intensity since 2011
˃  5.8% reduction in total water use since 2012
˃  10% reduction in portfolio greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 2011
˃  82% of buildings achieved NABERS Energy Ratings of 4.0 Stars or higher, without Green Power
˃  GRESB Greenstar 2012 awarded to IOF and ICPF
˃  97.2% score from the National Safety Council of Australia.
˃  44% of Investa workforce are women, with 37% at senior management level.
˃  Cleaners employed in Investa buildings earn above award wages under Clean Start.

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1 As at 30 June 2013
2 Jan 2012 – July 2013
3 GreenPower is an Australian government accreditation program that enables energy retailers to purchase electricity generated from renewable sources on behalf of the consumer.
4 City of Sydney