CommBank’s energy efficiency strategy delivers dividends


How do you halve your carbon footprint and save $11.5 million dollars a year? We talk to Sanjeet Singh, energy and sustainability manager at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, to find out more.

CBA took home the major award – the National Signatory of the Year – at the annual CitySwitch awards in November. 

 Presenting the award, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Australian businesses now understand the business case for “clean green business”.

“In the early days it was small city firms taking out the CitySwitch awards – to see a national icon like the Commonwealth Bank win shows just how far we’ve come,” the Lord Mayor said.

The bank has been measuring, reducing and reporting on its carbon footprint since 2001. Over that time, CBA has reduced its carbon footprint by 51.5 per cent on its 2009 baseline – the equivalent of 80,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

CBA has also achieved NABERS ratings across 80 per cent of its commercial tenancies, opened 11 new retail sites with Green Star ratings of 5 stars or higher, and rolled out solar across 36 branches.

“Energy efficiency can deliver amazing results for businesses,” Sanjeet says.

“Incorporating onsite renewable energy generation with lighting and air conditioning upgrades can reduce energy usage and carbon footprint by up to 80 per cent.”

So, what are the top three initiatives that Sanjeet recommends other companies tackle first?

Portfolio benchmarking is important, Sanjeet explains, as it establishes a baseline.

“Generally, 12 months of historical utility data and a building profile report will be adequate to commence the benchmarking process.”

Sanjeet also suggests looking beyond lighting retrofits.

“While lighting upgrades are often the first ‘go to’ initiative, the best outcomes are often found in fine tuning existing lighting and air conditioning controls,” he adds.

Employee engagement is also mission critical.

“Often your staff have the best suggestions to improve energy practices. Energy awareness is essential, as any efforts to install energy efficient lighting is negated when someone forgets to turn the office lights off at the end of the day.”

Commonwealth Bank is midway through its five-year property sustainability strategy, and will continue to roll out energy efficiency initiatives and increase its onsite renewable energy generation capacity.

“We plan to procure 25 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020,” Sanjeet adds.

Ensuring security and reliability of energy supply is important, but Sanjeet is quick to point out that managing energy demand is Australia’s “cheapest form of baseload energy supply”.

“While we need to invest in new forms of energy generation and storage, we must invest in energy efficiency when it is cheaper than building new supply.”

And with CBA banking $11.5 million in annual savings each year, it’s clear that this strategy is delivering dividends.


Read more about our 2017 Award Winners in our 2017 Program Report here



More News

CitySwitch YouTube Channel

Did you know we have a YouTube Channel?  Our CitySwitch YouTube channel has all our recent webinar recordings, and other relevant videos that may be of interest to those in a commercial office and interested in Sustainability. Check it out.

Back to the Workplace

Back to the Workplace

CitySwitch recently supported The Fifth Estate with their Back to My Healthy Happy Workplace Masterclass and it was well worth the time. 

Dexus talked through the research they've conducted and their findings will be of interest to anyone working from a commercial office space.  This is our summary of the key points and a link to the webinar to watch it in full. 



Collaboration drives collective impact

Collaboration drives collective impact

The change we need will to tackle our trickiest problems will be led and delivered by people.

War on Waste team seeking cast for new doco

War on Waste team seeking cast for new doco

The team behind the War on Waste is working on a new ABC documentary that will focus on Australia's role in climate change.

New PPA resources live on the BRC-A Resource Library

New PPA resources live on the BRC-A Resource Library

Announcing the release of two new PPA resources live on the BRC-A Resource Library

Grants now available for NABERS co-assess and waste

Grants now available for NABERS co-assess and waste

We're excited to announce that City of Sydney and City of Adelaide have a number of grants available for signatories in these LGA's.


Latest news

CitySwitch YouTube Channel

Mar 30, 2022
Did you know we have a YouTube Channel?  Our CitySwitch YouTube channel has all our recent webinar recordings,...

Read more


Positive Power posters

Positive Power posters

Download the Power Positive posters for your office and help to switch to GreenPower.

View resource