Strong retrofit activity in Melbourne, survey reveals

by FM Media
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A higher than expected number of Melbourne’s commercial buildings are being retrofitted, according to the City of Melbourne report 1200 Buildings, Melbourne Retrofit Survey 2013.

City of Melbourne report 1200 Buildings, Melbourne Retrofit Survey 2013 explores how Melbourne’s older office buildings are upgrading to more sustainable systems and fit outs – led by lighting upgrades.
Since 2008, 25 per cent of the 589 buildings in the survey have either already undergone or are currently undergoing a retrofit, according to Environment Portfolio Chair Councillor Arron Wood.
“The survey results have confirmed what we already suspected – that a lot more retrofitting is going on in our city than we knew about. Taking this temperature check gives us a better understanding of building managers’ motivations and helps us adapt our own programs to better address their needs,” Wood said.
And the trend shows no sign of slowing: Within the next five years, 16 percent of building owners and managers plan to undertake a retrofit – a jump of six per cent from the 10 percent forecast of two years ago. In the decade between 2008 and 2018, the report predicts that 32 per cent of buildings will have undergone, or be about to start, environmentally friendly upgrade works.
The type of retrofit activity that occurred between 2011 and 2013 has not changed, the report said, although there were fewer boiler upgrades and building sealing remedies in 2013 compared with 2011.
After lighting upgrades (83 percent), the most common retrofit activities were installing or upgrading the building management system (59 percent), metering (59 percent) and/or upgrading the chiller (54 percent).
The report said actions in the ‘Other’ category, which accounted for 70 per cent of retrofit actions, “included building sealing, insulation, cogeneration, lifts, solar panels, facade upgrades (glazing), pumping, ‘HVAC – Other’ (ie, an upgrade to plant other than boiler, chiller or VSD), cooling tower retrofits and/or internal blinds.
Key motivations for the 589 building owners and their representatives surveyed by phone included replacing broken assets (39 percent), minimising energy consumption (31 per cent) and attracting or retaining tenants (21 per cent).
When it comes to drivers and barriers, 52 per cent of the respondents saw retrofitting as an investment and 28 per cent as a cost; 28 percent said that the ‘split incentive’ was a barrier to retrofitting; while 35 percent indicated that access to finance was a barrier.
Of particular interest to facility managers are the statistics that 25 percent of buildings surveyed had an FM. Over three quarters of Corporate owners had a facilities manager but only one quarter of Private buildings had a facilities manager.
Of the buildings with a facilities manager, 41 per cent were externally managed and 59 per cent were internally managed, with the former more evident in Private buildings. The report said the sample of Owners Corporation owned buildings was too small to report.
“In recent months the City of Melbourne has received a number of awards for its work in sustainability including a C40 award in London and awards for our Smart Blocks and 1200 Buildings programs,” Wood said in a statement. “Just last week 1200 Buildings received further recognition at the Energy Efficiency Council Industry Awards, as joint winners of the ‘Best Energy Savings Program’.
“It takes the efforts of an entire city, however, to be recognised on this level. We know that achieving some of our goals including becoming carbon neutral by 2020 cannot be done alone. We applaud the buildings that have already embraced these changes and we will continue to work with other building managers through programs like 1200 Buildings to encourage more of this activity.”
To download the 1200 Buildings, Melbourne Retrofit Survey 2013 visit

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