News

Why comfortable workspaces save time and energy

Giving people control of the temperature in their workspace doesn’t just improve occupant comfort and satisfaction. It also delivers energy savings, identifies faults and improves efficiency, says Charter Hall’s Craig Rodgers.

Charter Hall was an early adopter of Comfy, an app that connects cloud-hosted analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence with a building’s BMS system to help people personalise their workspace.

Building managers get instant updates on how space is performing and where requests for adjustments come from. Over time, Comfy tracks user preferences and can automatically adjust heating and cooling preferences in different spaces or zones.

Craig, Charter Hall’s Innovation Lead for Office, spotted Comfy at a Silicon Valley technology conference and deployed the app two years ago at Charter Hall’s headquarters at Sydney’s No.1 Martin Place.

“Airconditioning is one of the most challenging elements for building owners and managers, as everyone feels temperature differently. The industry has been doing airconditioning the same way for a long time – with standard set temperatures – so we were interested to see if Comfy could help us create a better experience,” Craig says.

“We found our people liked having the ability to interact with the building and to give feedback on the temperature.”

After the trial proved positive, Charter Hall rolled out Comfy at three more buildings, with more on the horizon.

“With technology, adoption defines success or failure, and we’ve seen consistent adoption rates across our properties,” Craig says, adding that Charter Hall has just “ticked over 50,000 interactions” with Comfy users across the four buildings.

“We’re not pushing technology onto people. At the moment we get around 500 uses a week – so around 10 to 15% of the population in those buildings see value in Comfy.

“Users can log on, request a change and within less than a minute they’ll feel the difference. These are not big changes – we are not changing the space in the temperature by degrees – but people can feel the difference and that is powerful as we look to enhance workplace experience with our customers.”

Aside from the obvious customer benefit, Comfy “collects data at a level we’ve never had before,” Craig adds. “This data allows our operational teams to identify faults and potential trouble spots, and to understand, right down to the individual users, what experience people are having in a space”.

Comfy is also having a positive impact on energy consumption in Charter Hall’s buildings.

“We have been tracking building energy consumption for some time, but after introducing Comfy we saw energy drop by 6% almost immediately at one property and steady minor decreases at others. In a 5-star NABERS building, it’s really hard to move the dial on energy efficiency, but Comfy has helped us in high performing buildings with good customer feedback.

“In Australia I think we tend to overcool our spaces. Our data from Comfy shows a percentage of people actually like their space to be little warmer – and when you give them the choice, you start to see some of the cooling requirement reduce which can deliver energy savings.”



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Industry News

Investa achieves first Science Based Target approval in Australia

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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

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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.

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Events

TFX2020 - October 2020

TFX2020 - October 2020

Engage with leaders in the FM industry and discover where Smart Spaces support impactful decisions and smarter choices at TFX 2020. 



View event

Latest case study

Case study: Frasers Property and healthy buildings

Case study: Frasers Property and healthy buildings

This case study looks at how Frasers Property Australia are creating places that support healthier lives.



View resource

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.