CitySwitch YouTube Channel

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.

CitySwitch Green Office program hits four million sqm

CitySwitch Green Office program hits four million sqm

The CitySwitch Green Office program has surpassed four million square metres of office space, as ANZ signs on 833 Collins Street in Melbourne.

Let’s get healthy, happy and sustainable together

Let’s get healthy, happy and sustainable together

From blend-your-own smoothie bikes to calorie-free cupcakes, the Museum of Futures to a mind-mapping session, the Better Buildings Cup launched with a flurry of activity recently.

Green growth drives jobs and economic opportunities

Green growth drives jobs and economic opportunities

Powering Australia from 100% renewable energy is no longer ambitious. We have more sun, wind and hydro resources than coal, gas and oil combined. And with vision and ambition, we can become the world’s renewable energy superpower.


Industry News

Investa achieves first Science Based Target approval in Australia

Investa achieves first Science Based Target approval in Australia

Investa today announced it has achieved Australia’s first approved real estate Science Based Target, verifying Investa’s ambitious, net zero carbon emissions by 2040 target and re-enforcing Investa’s leadership in committing to the rigour and quality of this globally recognised framework.  


Fujitsu's ICT enablement survey

Take part in Fujitsu's research on the enablement potential of ICT

Fujitsu's NABERS rating of its data centre portfolio

Fujitsu Australia has become what is believed to be the first Australian company to have its entire data centre portfolio rated by NABERS.

Psaros wins two prestigious sustainability awards

Source: Infolink

Leading Western Australian property developer Psaros was the recipient of two prestigious awards for sustainable development, cementing the company’s position as the leader in environmental design and sustainable practices in Perth.

In a first for a WA developer, Psaros won the National Banksia Sustainability Award for Sustainability Leadership as well as the CitySwitch State Award for New Signatory of the Year.

Geelong, CBRE and Echo big winners at national CitySwitch awards

Source: The Fifth Estate A project that slashed carbon emissions by 43 per cent has seen Future Proofing Geelong and Ryrie Centre Property take home the National Partnership of the Year Award at the national CitySwitch awards for commercial office energy efficiency.

CBRE took home the National Signatory of the Year award following their NSW win, while another NSW winner, Echo Entertainment Group, took home the National New Signatory of the Year award

Smart, green finance delivering efficient buildings in Sydney

Source: Retrofit AustraliaIn June, the City of Sydney signed an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) to fund energy efficient lighting, air conditioning and building management system (BMS) upgrades to James’ Hall  in Sydney. Under these agreements tenants provide contributions equal to or less than the savings they make in their utility bills as a result of the upgrade works. These contributions can then be used by the building owner to service the loan repayments and greatly improve the return on investment.  In addition, once the EUA is paid off, the tenants and building owner continue to benefit from reduced utility bills.

The Tenants and Landlords Guide to Happiness (chapter 8)

Source: The Fifth Estate

Despite the best intentions, most building owners and tenants struggle to keep up regular communication that could enhance their efficient use of the building, improve wellbeing of employees and substantially cut their business costs.

Find out more about the CitySwitch Vertical Communities initiative, the benefits of collaboration from industry and successful tenant and landlord staff engagement  programs in this latest chapter.

How the Renewable Energy Target affects your business

Source: The Fifth Estate

Changes to the RET could have significant implications for businesses wanting to take steps to reduce carbon footprints. Darren Willman from Climate Friendly a CitySwitch signator, discusses the impact of changes to the RET and why businesses should want to defend it in this article for The Fifth Estate.

CitySwitch partners with RMIT students to deliver resource assessments

Source: The Fifth EstateCommercial office tenant energy efficiency program CitySwitch has partnered with graduating environment students from RMIT to deliver resource assessments for participating signatories in Melbourne. There is only availability for 10-12 businesses this year, with only current CitySwitch signatories eligible.



Latest case study

Greening your Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Green ICT office computers

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems are at the heart of most businesses.  Technology changes so rapidly that keeping up with the latest thinking, systems and hardware can be a daunting prospect. But it’s worth considering as it can have a real impact on energy consumption and costs.

Computers and ancillary office equipment can account for up to 65% of office energy use. Industry estimates indicate ICT is responsible for about 2 to 3% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, similar to the aviation industry’s contribution.

Options for reducing your ICT energy use include:

  • Know your ICT energy consumption: did you know that over 75% of CIOs in Australia have no idea about how much energy their ICT equipment uses?
  • Procure energy-efficient equipment: use standards such as Energy Star and EPEAT in your criteria to evaluate new purchases. 
  • Audit ICT server rooms and data centres: do you need to have this facility located in your office building? Can you use cloud services or outsource it to a dedicated hosting environment provider that is much more efficient?
  • Switch off: switch off devices when not in use and use sleep or hibernation modes for equipment that must be left on. Most desktop operating systems have energy saving setting that you can implement.
  • Consolidate and optimise: reduce the number of items that are used and share devices where possible.

An introduction to greening your office ICT including practical actions are provided below.  Why not start the conversation with your ICT department to find out how the organisation can work together to achieve greater energy and cost savings?

1. Evaluate your office equipment

The first step is to understand existing ICT energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions by completing an office equipment audit.  The CitySwitch Program has a simple audit toolkit that can be used to take an inventory of office equipment.  Contact your CitySwitch program manager to get support in conducting this audit.  

Some of the recommendations from the audit might include:Using ICT for meetings

  • Removing old or under-utilised equipment
  • Upgrading to flat screen monitors (if you haven’t done so already)
  • Consider switching to laptops with docking stations. Laptops use between 50 – 90% less energy than traditional desktops and have the added benefit of creating a more mobile workforce who can work from home, cafes or client sites, thereby increasing productivity.

Before purchasing new equipment, an ICT sourcing

 policy should be developed. This should not only consider energy efficiency alongside the total cost of ownership (capital and operating expenses), but may also consider the broader environmental and social impacts of ICT equipment. These include:

  • The vendors own track record in sustainability and social responsibility
  • The potential social impacts associated with manufacturing, such as labour and human rights
  • The recyclability of the product at end-of-life
  • The energy and raw materials associated with equipment manufacture.

2. Switch off

The easiest way to reduce energy consumption is to turn equipment off when it is not in use, especially after hours and on weekends. CitySwitch has a guide to running a behaviour change campaign  to engage staff and encourage them to “switch off”.  If physically switching off equipment is not possible, most desktop computers, laptops and printers have power management capabilities to reduce energy consumption (such as sleep mode).  For some organisations these settings can be managed centrally – your IT department should be able to advise on your system capabilities.  In some offices it may be beneficial to install a low-cost energy management system to switch off equipment automatically after-hours.

3. Consolidate and optimise

Consolidating optimises the way your ICT equipment operates. This means using a small number of devices to their capacity, rather than using a large number that are run sub-optimally.  An example of consolidation is retiring numerous small, slow printers or scanners and replacing them with a high capacity multifunction device.  For this approach to be successful, it’s essential to clearly determine the type and amount of ICT equipment needed to meet the organisation’s requirements


4. Operate your ICT server room efficiently

The ICT server room in your office can represent a significant portion of the overall energy use linked to ICT.  In general, these facilities typically consume 35–50 times the amount of energy that a comparably sized office space will use, and contribute large amounts of CO2 into our environment. 

Targeting minor improvements in the facility's equipment and processes will cascade into greater improvements in its overall operation. Take a whole systems approach to reviewing and analysing your existing facility looking at the three areas of:

  •  ventilation and cooling
  •  power supply and backup systems
  •  the actual ICT function, data storage and application.

Compared to a typical 'base case', the following improvements could offer energy savings in the range of 20–50%.


Ventilation and cooling

  • Allow the server room to operate at higher temperatures and humidity – ICT facilities may operate with acceptable uptime at temperatures in the mid-20s and preferred relative humidity of between 20-80%. Revised guidelines from ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) indicate that traditional operating ranges of 15-20°C are giving way to warmer temperatures, some as high as 27°C.
  • Minimise hot spots in the server room and prevent mixing of hot and cold air in server racks by organising server racks into hot and cold aisles.
  • Replace inefficient cooling systems and/or install variable speed fan drives in the air conditioning system to better accommodate changing cooling loads.
  • Reduce unnecessary airflow and cooling.

Power use and supply

  • Minimise lighting levels and install sensors.
  • Reduce unnecessary power consumption by removing idle resources and improving the management practices and implementing systematic checking.
  • Replace and update old equipment.

IT function, data storage and application

  • Remove duplicate data (de-duplication) to consolidate storage requirements and decommission old servers that are no longer required. 
  • Apply virtualistion software for control of server activity and to maximise utilisation


Seek advice from IT staff to ensure ICT equipment runs under optimal conditions and to prevent equipment failure.  For more in-depth information, see Sustainability Victoria: Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide. Data Centre and IT Facilities.



5. Consider outsourcing to an offsite data centre or procure IT as a service 

Outsourcing your IT to a service provider or using cloud computing for some or all systems is increasingly popular.  Specialist providers and facilities have economies of scale and are generally leaders in best practice. They will most likely be running shared servers at optimal conditions, which should be more economical and energy efficient.

In one analysis of a typical in-house facility, an average of just 15–30% of server capacity was used, and even high-performing systems were only at 35–45% of capacity. Outsourcing of data storage – including cloud services – means a significant reduction in the power Green ICT server roomconsumption, cooling, network connectivity and administration demand of multiple systems and servers. Each of these may have low loads yet consume as much power as a fully utilised server.

Most multi-national operators of cloud data management systems have a range of energy efficiency and other sustainability initiatives listed on their websites. These can also be used to evaluate outsourcing options. 

In choosing a provider, make sure they:

  • Are carbon neutral (to what scope or standard)
  • Use NABERS for data centres to track and model their consumption if based in Australia –  see point 6 below)
  • Are certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems
  • Have energy efficiency targets and can support you in ensuring the set up of your rack is as efficient as possible.

Outsourcing your IT converts your IT spend from CAPEX to OPEX as you do not purchase the asset but the right to use the asset or service.  Similarly the associated carbon emissions move from Scope 2 to

Scope 3, but arguably should still be considered when establishing your carbon emissions.


6.  If using offsite data centre services, benchmark its performance

If you operate a data centre, or are considering outsourcing these requirements to an Australian provider, a NABERS Energy for data centre rating will help you to understand the efficiency of your facility.  NABERS have developed three tools for data centres.

IT Equipment rating: for organisations that own or manage their IT equipment (including servers, storage devices, network equipment), but have no control over their data centre’s support services such as air conditioning, lighting and security. In most cases this means organisations that lease their data centre space – so they are the occupants but not the owners or managers of the space.

Infrastructure rating: benchmarks the greenhouse gas emissions associated energy consumed in supplying infrastructure services to provide suitable conditions for the IT equipment within the data centre.

Whole Facility rating: benchmarks the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy used by the IT equipment and infrastructure services.


7. Bring your own device

Many staff have their own personal smartphones and laptops.  Rather than providing an additional device for staff that will use additional energy, consider developing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.  A recent survey by Tech Pro Research found that 60% of organisations already allow BYOD, with another 14% of respondents planning to implement it in the next 12 months. This is on the rise across all industries. The previous 2013 survey showed only 44% of organisations had a BYOD policy. Smaller organisations, IT, technology and education industries are taking up this approach to devices at the fastest rates.


Aside from energy efficiency gains, a BYOD policy can also improve employees’ perception of your organisation’s flexibility. It also negates the need for unnecessary purchase, charging and maintenance of work machines.


There are security issues to be considered and you should make sure any corporate systems have strong protection and regularly updated user authentication.  Talk to your IT service provider about techniques for managing this.  A well worded policy will be needed to articulate the rights and obligations of each party with regard to use and ownership of data, contacts and intellectual property.



Get your game on and play the CitySwitch green ICT challenge. Have some fun while testing your knowledge and take away practical tips to green your own office ICT. 

A free green office ICT e-book is also now available from The Fifth Estate with ideas and simple solutions to make sure your ICT is running as efficiently as possible.

  Play the green ICT challenge


CitySwitch Signatory of the Year and New Signatory Awards - category judging criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 28 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 10 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 10 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points).
Note, new Signatories submitting for New Signatory of the Year Award need only complete an indicative rating – all other submissions must be accredited.

CitySwitch Partnership of the Year Award - category judging criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Submitted projects should:

  • Involve more than one registered company 
  • Demonstrate that they are  innovative and over and above “business as usual”
  • Demonstrate that they catalyse “market transformation” and or “address a market barrier”
  • Deliver a reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions within the built environment 

Judging Criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 14 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 17 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 17 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points)
  • The submitting entity MUST be a CitySwitch Signatory
Note, Signatories submitting for the Partnership of the Year Award may submit an accredited NABERS tenancy, whole building or base building rating.

It’s easy and free to join the program. Your good-will commitment to the program is an acknowledgement of the business sector’s role in
contributing to environmental sustainability and your intention to reduce your own energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

As part of this, Signatories to the program commit to achieve an accredited NABERS Energy tenancy rating (between 4 and 6 stars) and
work with CitySwitch to improve their tenancy’s environmental performance.

Find out more about how obtaining a NABERS Energy rating ensures you can benchmark your performance, better manage your progress
over time and promote your star rating achievement.