Much of Australia’s non-residential building stock is of an age that preceded the digital era of technology and whilst performing satisfactorily from an occupant’s point of view, does not meet the cost and energy efficiency expectations of the present day.
Energy prices in Australia have fallen dramatically for the commercial sector since part privatisation of electricity generation and distribution infrastructure in 1997. Over the last seven years prices for smaller commercial users have gradually climbed again to be well above pre-deregulation levels, however larger consumers are still enjoying extremely low tariffs. As a result there is a reduced incentive for many property portfolio owners to improve building services efficiency.
Advancements in digital electronics have drastically reduced the cost of energy saving technologies whilst at the same time improving their efficiency and reliability. It is expected that with the continual rise in energy tariffs, cost control through energy management will be an important consideration in the future. While the aim should also be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this is unlikely to be a major concern until such time as there is a financial benefit to be gained. This paper explains the implementation path to upgrading older building stock and the technologies available.