Greening your business

3 Australian businesses leading sustainable office buildings

Celebrating the greenest office spaces in the country at the CitySwitch awards.

CitySwitch NSW & National Awards 2021 Photo by Katherine Griffiths-0272

Now more than ever, Australia’s business community needs to shift its focus to more efficient and sustainable operations.

This is what CitySwitch is all about: it’s a program for commercial office tenants around Australia to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and work towards a carbon positive future.

Although the pandemic delayed our 2021 celebrations, April’s CitySwitch awards night was filled with amazing stories of businesses dedicated to becoming more sustainable.

Here are 3 Sydney names leading the way

EML with their NSW signatory of the year award
EML with their NSW signatory of the year award

EML – NSW signatory of the year winner

When Covid hit Australia in March 2020, nearly all 23 floors of EML’s 14 tenancies around the country were emptied.

The insurance company decided to use this to its advantage and created a 2-phased project to reduce energy across its buildings.

When the offices were reoccupied, the first phase of the program saw immediate short-term electricity consumption reduced by 43% to 80,000kw/h a month. The second phase reduced electricity consumption by 9035kw/h a month. The company’s NABERS rating is now 5.5 to 6 stars across the 4 locations included in the project.

Great work from EML, who used a challenging time to its advantage, coming out the other end more energy efficient.

Kashmir Palou from Jones Lang LaSelle
Kashmir Palou from Jones Lang LaSelle

Kashmir Palou from Jones Lang LaSelle - Hall of fame award winner

We all know how important it is to recycle and minimise waste going to landfill. Kashmir Palou received a hall of fame award for getting businesses in Darling Park to do just that.

Kashmir is customer relationship manager for Jones Lang LaSelle’s Darling Park management team and has been an incredible driver of sustainability initiatives over the past few years. In 2021, Kashmir worked with the building’s waste contractor, ORG, to present waste education workshops to tenants. Kashmir’s great work has now been used to develop online training material.

Sanjeet Singh from Commonwealth Bank
Sanjeet Singh from Commonwealth Bank

Sanjeet Singh from Commonwealth Bank - Hall of fame award winner

Commonwealth Bank of Australia occupies more office space than most companies in the country. Because of this, energy and sustainability manager, Sanjeet Singh, recognised his work could have a huge impact on the direction of the property industry.

Sanjeet set ambitious targets for improving the energy efficiency of the bank’s buildings. He developed a plan to install rooftop solar on 91 buildings and in January 2020, the bank went 100% renewable. They buy 100% renewable electricity through a corporate renewable power purchase agreement and bundled green electricity contracts with several retailers across the country.

In 2021, reports indicated the bank had reduced its carbon footprint by 65% from 2009 levels. It also slashed costs, making it a great example other organisations can follow.

A snapshot of CitySwitch’s 2021 achievements

In the past year, CitySwitch has:

  • Saved a massive 762,341 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
  • Saved members $62.6 million by improving their energy efficiency
  • Signed up 19% of Australia’s office space to the program

The program is free to join and gives businesses access to resources, practical advice and a wide network of other companies also taking steps to improve their sustainability.

Find out more about CitySwitch and how your business can join.

Published 10 May 2022, updated 14 February 2024