2019 Performance Highlights
In 2019 we
- delivered the first 2 carbon neutral building certifications at 8 Exhibition Street and workplace6 as part of GPT Wholesale Office Fund's target to be carbon neutral by the end of 2020;
- increased the installation of solar PV installed across our portfolio to 3.04 MWp, including innovative, ARENA-funded solpod systems;
- began trials of demand response programs across a number of assets in New South Wales and Victoria;
- unveiled the design for Frame, Melbourne CBD's largest timber building, which will sit atop Melbourne Central and feature engineered timber, substantially lowering embodied carbon from the development;
- operated the highest NABERS Energy portfolio average (with GreenPower) for a large-scale, national commercial office landlord with our GPT Wholesale Office Fund (according to the NABERS Sustainable Portfolios Index).
The GPT Environment Data Pack details the full performance of our portfolio, funds and assets since 2005, including building ratings and attributes, and our Climate Disclosure Statement discloses climate risk, strategy and response in alignment with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
Background and Policy
GPT recognises that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally are at unsustainable levels and the science indicates urgent response is necessary to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
GPT’s first principles approach and commitments to managing the greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption from our buildings is primarily guided by the scientific imperative of avoiding dangerous climate change. Our contribution to this is through the elimination of emissions that contribute to climate change. We welcome the increasing number of governments and businesses also adopting zero carbon targets following the Paris Climate Agreement, which noted the objective of a decarbonised global economy by 2050.
GPT aims to reach our carbon neutral target by the end of 2020 for all assets owned by the GPT Wholesale Office Fund, by the end of 2024 for all GPT-managed assets and by 2030 for the remainder of GPT Group assets. We continuously conduct analysis on the pathway to carbon neutral for our buildings which comprises managing efficient buildings that run on renewable energy, using carbon offsets as a last resort. We also actively work with our supply chain, including our critical suppliers as well as our customers to influence their practices. Where possible, we share objectives and targets with our external partners.
We believe that focusing our efforts on operating our assets efficiently will enable us to not only play our part in the mitigation of climate change, but also:
- Increase and support the resilience of our assets, the grid and the community;
- Minimise the impact of rising energy prices on our tenants and investors; and
- Meet and exceed regulatory and tenant expectations and requirements.
In managing our asset portfolio we also monitor and assess adaptation risks and opportunities arising from the impact of climate change on our assets and take account of these in our investment decisions.
GPT participates indirectly in climate change public policy development through membership and participation in a range of industry organisations including the Property Council of Australia, Green Building Council of Australia and the City of Sydney Better Building Partnership.
GPT's full Climate Change and Energy Policy is publicly available and contains the policy background and commitments.
Our methods for delivering positive climate and energy outcomes
Within each asset and across the portfolio we implement a number of initiatives to further our capability to deliver positive outcomes. Some examples of key initiatives include:
Targets, monitoring and metering
- Targets are set annually for each asset, taking account of improvement plans and performance, and we monitor and report this internally through the year;
- Management KPIs and incentives are aligned with environmental performance targets;
- Site teams are provided with training to micro-monitor performance and calibrate systems for optimal efficiency;
- Metering systems are installed and systems continuously commissioned to ensure systems maintain efficiency;
- Sub-metering enables allocation of consumption costs on a user-pays basis at an increasing number of sites.
- Use of energy efficient appliances in new developments;
- Efficiency upgrades at existing sites, where viable, including lighting replacements, installation of separate switches, installation of PE cells, and use of sensors;
- For example: During 2015 and 2016, a portfolio-wide lighting analysis was conducted and subsequent LED lighting was installed across GPT’s retail portfolio, estimated to save over $900,000 every year.
- Replacement with more efficient appliances as part of normal maintenance and capital programs, including making use of variable speed drives for escalators and higher efficiency chillers;
- For example: GPT’s lifecycle assessment process for capital expenditure in managed assets prioritises environmental performance as one of 3 key deliverables, focusing employees and consultants on finding the optimal solution for ongoing performance.
- Changing the start/stop time on the mechanical plant (especially air-conditioning plant) to best match occupant needs;
- Use of sub-metering and analytics systems to monitor, profile and detect equipment inefficiencies.
Passive and on-site energy
- Use of passive forms of energy and natural ventilation where possible;
- For example, at Rouse Hill Town Centre the Building Management System adjusts shades to optimally use the sun for warmth and lighting.
- Installation of solar PV systems and a rolling assessment of business case analysis for existing assets. Find out where we have installed and operate solar pv in the GPT Environment Data Pack;
- Implementation of on-site energy production through co- or tri-generation technology, which provides electricity as well as heating and cooling (for tri-generation) efficiencies. Find out where we have generate energy on-site through co- or tri-generation in the GPT Environment Data Pack.
Renewable energy procurement
- Purchase of government-accredited GreenPower, which is additional to any grid renewables;
- From 2020, GPT is purchasing 100% renewable electricity for all GWOF assets.
- Training for Investment Managers in environmental outcomes and on-going communication with tenants.
- Green leases, fitout guides and minimum standards to reduce tenant GHG emissions.
- Site tours to renewable energy plants to aid tenant education and awareness on how 'green' electricity is produced.
Read about our case studies for more information on how GPT has achieved energy and emissions reductions.
Committed to Operating as a Carbon Neutral Organisation
For 10 years GPT has maintained its commitment to provide carbon neutral workplaces for all GPT staff and customers of GPT's Space & Co flexible workspace offering by improving the efficiency of its workspaces, utilising renewable green power and purchasing offsets for the remaining emissions. To achieve carbon neutrality GPT has:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Reduced paper consumption
- Introduced video conferencing between major centres resulting in a reduction in travel
- Purchased zero or low carbon products, especially Green Power
- Used certified offsets as a last resort to compensate for unavoidable emissions.
A summary table of operational emissions associated with GPT employees performing their roles, operating tenancies occupied by GPT employees and emissions associated with the operation of our Space & Co tenancies is prepared each year. The full history of our disclosures for our Climate Active carbon neutral certifications are kept on our Assurance page.
Climate Resilience & Adaptation
In managing our portfolio, GPT monitors and assesses physical and transitional risks arising from the impact of climate change. These risks are considered in GPT’s investment and portfolio management decisions, as well as decisions to upgrade buildings in anticipation of a low carbon future.
Climate change is a global challenge and its consequences are already starting to manifest, with the world seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. GPT recognises that changes to the environment can influence the operation of our business and our assets, and we are committed to identifying and managing the foreseeable climate-related risks and opportunities likely to impact on our business and the property sector.
In February 2020, we released our inaugural Climate Disclosure Statement, providing further information about the steps we have been taking to identify, assess and manage climate change risks. It has been prepared with reference to the recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate‑related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which provides a framework for more effective climate change financial disclosures, addressing four key areas: governance, strategy, risk management and metrics and targets.
In preparing this report, a cross-functional reference group was established to identify foreseeable risks and opportunities under three different climate change-related scenarios and to formulate GPT’s ongoing climate change response plans.
Challenges and Outlook
Mitigating and adapting to climate change is a complex global issue and we recognise that achieving sustainable energy supplies requires widespread support and the cooperation of many stakeholders. GPT is taking an active role in meeting the many challenges, such as those outlined below:
Skills and expertise development (internally and externally)
- Leading by example in specifications, contracts and briefs, for example GPT’s new developments integrate world-leading sustainability expectations into briefs for design and development
- Making sustainability data accessible through a company-wide computer system to provide reporting that meets the needs of all users, from site level to the Board
- Participating in precinct programs including as a foundation member of both the City of Melbourne1200 Buildings project and the City of Sydney Better Buildings Partnership
- Contributing to the Energy Efficiency Council training and accreditation project
- Presenting at conferences and training courses such as for the Facility Managers Association and Australian Institute of Refrigeration, air-conditioning and Heating.
- Active participant in industry technical working groups defining standards for energy and carbon management for operational buildings, including:
- Better Buildings Partnership Environmental Working Group, which focuses on creating best practice guidelines for managing energy and water performance
- National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings technical working group
On-site energy generation
To help address barriers to implementing and connecting on-site energy generation to the electricity network, GPT is
- working with the Property Council of Australia to encourage greater recognition of demand side management opportunities;
- and using our experience in on site electricity generation as examples when barriers to greater uptake of distributed generation are being considered.
Value and rating of energy efficiency
GPT contributed to the Green Building Council of Australia development of the Green Star Performance tool for existing buildings to improve understanding of energy efficiency and environmental impact of existing buildings.
To improve tenant awareness and understanding of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, The Group is:
- holding Building Management Committee meetings to provide information to tenants on building performance and how the tenant space interacts;
- using the GPT head office workspace to showcase energy efficient technologies along with best practice material and resource efficiency for tenants; and
- conducting tours to renewable energy sites for tenants and other interested people.
While Australia has moved away from a carbon pricing model it remains a strategy that could be reapplied in the future. GPT mitigates the risk of a carbon price through the energy efficiency program while any increased costs of electricity and gas creates a greater incentive for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. For internal purposes, the cost of energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon offsets provide an internal metric for costing the Group’s achievement of its carbon neutral commitments.