A new competition has workers, companies and building managers across the country battling it out to see who can most improve their green credentials.
The Better Buildings Cup – a joint initiative from the City of Sydney-led CitySwitch and the Better Buildings Partnership – is a year-long competition bringing together some of the country’s landmark buildings and largest companies in a race to see who can reduce their carbon footprint.
Participants in the invitation-only competition, launched in May, include Towers 1, 2 and 3 at Sydney’s Barangaroo; One Martin Place; Perth’s Brookfield Place and Melbourne’s 385 Bourke Street.
The competition, the first of its kind in Australia, uses a points-based system combined with the NABERS rating system and allows three different types of competitor registration.
Landlords and building managers lead the charge, with the competition encouraging them to take action to improve the sustainability credentials of their building. This could range from initiatives as large-scale as installing or upgrading solar panel facilities to smaller efforts, like establishing a community herb garden.
Companies within participating buildings are encouraged to sign on to the competition and contribute to their building’s environmental standing by instituting internal changes such as new recycling initiatives, encouraging the use of reusable cups at the work cafe or changing to a green energy provider.
Companies and landlords that have signed up include Commonwealth Bank, LinkedIn, Dexus and Lendlease.
Evidence of building manager achievement will be collected via building and company NABERS Energy ratings.
CitySwitch National Program Manager Esther Bailey explained that the initiative was designed to enable companies and landlords to demonstrate to their tenants and employees the environmental initiatives they already have underway, as well as engage in conversations about the environment in a way that is light and entertaining.
“We have amazing, global-leading buildings owners and companies in our cities,” Ms Bailey said, adding “From a building owner or company point of view, [the Better Buildings Cup] is an amazing way to help them to understand what their people really care about, and to showcase the action they are already taking.”
But it’s not all about large scale initiatives.
Individual employees are also able to sign up for the program, earning points by completing and documenting small activities like riding their bike to work instead of driving or switching off their computer monitor at the end of the workday.
“It was really important to make this fun first and foremost, with simple actions that suit [employees’] lifestyles and heaps of prizes to stir that competitive spirit,” Ms Bailey explained.
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This World Environment Day, we celebrate an important milestone on our mission to eliminate single use waste, having removed all single use cups from our internal cafes and kitchens nationally. This initiative saves more than 250,000 cups from being used every year, and is just another step in our commitment to reducing waste to make a positive impact for our planet. #kpmgaustralia #betterbuildingscup #zerowaste #worldenvironmentday
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As well as being eligible for prizes, the points accumulated by employees who log their activities online will then contribute to the overall score of their building.
Dexus portfolio manager Alexandra Brownlee said that the Better Buildings Cup was a chance for the company and its tenants to further the environmental initiatives at buildings like 100 Harris Street, Pyrmont – a participant building where recent activities have included installing a new solar panel system and a herb garden.
“Buildings generate 23 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions, but they also provide some of the cheapest solutions. It just takes the right building and great partners wanting to create better workplaces,” Ms Brownlee said.
Ms Brownlee said that monitoring resource consumption would be a key part of Dexus’ approach to the competition.
“We’re engaging with our customers on a range of activities that focus on improving their awareness of energy, water and waste consumption,” Ms Brownlee said.
At 100 Harris Street, an initiative is already underway to reduce food waste and encourage healthy eating.
“It’s early on in the competition, with one of our first initiatives being the herb and vegetable garden plots we’ve established around the building, inviting our customers to supplement their lunches with fresh, healthy produce.”
The CitySwitch Green Office program is a collective of companies representing about 16 per cent of Australia’s office space.
Winners of the Better Buildings Cup will be announced in March 2020.
The Better Buildings Partnership is a group of property owners and managers formed with the aim of improving the performance and sustainability of existing buildings in the City of Sydney area.
The partnership was launched by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, in 2011 along with 14 founding members: AMP Capital Investors, Brookfield Office Properties Australia, Charter Hall, City of Sydney, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, DEXUS Property Group, Frasers Property, The GPT Group, Investa Property Group, Lend Lease, Mirvac, Stockland, the University of Sydney, and the University of Technology.
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