Making the green switch
CitySwitch is a growing partnership that supports commercial tenants to improve office energy, waste efficiency, and make a positive impact on climate change. Currently, 831 tenancies have signed up covering an impressive 23.6 million sqm. Annie Reid chats to Danielle King, Greater Metro Program Manager – CitySwitch, about what makes it tick.
Article by Annie Reid.
Q. What sort of problems does CitySwitch address in today’s marketplace?
CitySwitch provides a trusted source of guidance and useful tools for commercial office tenants to reduce energy costs and works with the businesses to help them become more sustainable within the office. Our goal is to raise the level of energy efficiency in commercial offices and to increase sustainability throughout Australia’s commercial building stock.
Q. What’s unique about CitySwitch?
Tenants are often limited in what actions they can take as they have little influence over the building. However, they do have control over their internal energy use, waste, and during lease renegotiations the opportunity to influence some things. The CitySwitch program is specifically designed to help commercial office tenants. We provide a no cost, high value service that supports commercial office tenants to improve office energy and waste efficiency through provision of a range of services.
Q. How does CitySwitch help facilities managers on a day-to-day level?
CitySwitch provides a range of resources and independent trusted advice on how to improve the buildings energy ratings and other sustainability related items. It saves FM’s time and effort and provides tools that help them to engage with tenants.
Q. What sort of resources have you created for healthy buildings?
Initially just an energy efficiency program, CitySwitch has expanded over the years to become a more holistic efficiency and sustainability advisor for office tenants. Our healthy buildings resources consist of a Healthy Buildings Overview, a CitySwitch Guide to Occupant Surveys, 10 Steps to Improve Staff Engagement and Health, Improving Cognitive Performance, and an Healthy Buildings eBook which was created in collaboration with The Fifth Estate. All are available on our website here: http://cityswitch.net.au/Resources/CitySwitch-Resources/Healthy-Buildings/category/healthy-buildings
Q. How do you attract organisations to get involved?
We offer solid practical advice for tenants from qualified and experienced program managers. CitySwitch also has a wide range of practical and easy-to-use tools and services free of charge. Apart from our network and other events, we recognise best efforts and practices through our annual awards program. Our growth over the past few years has been very organic; we often get tenancies come to us and ask to join. This is a great position to be in and showcases the success of the program to date.
Q. How long have you been associated with TFX and what does the partnership mean to CitySwitch?
TFX organisers have been a CitySwitch signatory since September 2016. During this time, we have worked with them to increase their NABERS rating by 1.5 Stars and reduce energy consumption by 51,939 kWh per annum (saving approximately $12,985 per annum). This is a great result! Being a supporter of TFX enables us to share our message with a very relevant demographic and we hope to encourage others to get on board who can realise the many benefits of undertaking efficiency projects.
Q. Is there anything exciting you are launching this year?
We are starting a new campaign focused on tenant engagement throughout a whole building. This will include the use of NABERS Combined ratings and promoting HVAC efficiency through the idea of increasing the ‘dead band’ to help reduce energy costs. We have some interesting research that demonstrates that this works and often does not affect occupant comfort.
Cityswitch also hosted an education session at Total Facilities 2018, “Controlling the building to reduce costs and complaints”. Watch their video below to hear what the experts had to say.
About the Author: Annie Reid
Annie Reid is a qualified journalist, professional copywriter and published author with a passion for everything bricks and mortar. For many years, she’s written thousand of stories for newspapers, magazines and clients around the world. Somewhere between the heady buzz of headlines and deadlines, she discovered a niche for creating tailor made content for the property, real estate, architecture and design industries. Annie holds a Bachelor of Arts and is currently studying a Masters in Publishing and Communications, both from the University of Melbourne.