Offices are notorious energy guzzlers but a new scheme has seen commercial buildings in Sydney's CBD cut their carbon emissions by a quarter, saving $25 million on their annual power bills.

Over half of the city's offices have signed up for the Better Buildings Partnership, launched by the City of Sydney Council two years ago.

The latest data released shows members are on track to achieve a 70 per cent reduction in energy use by 2030.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the days of office blocks leaving lights on all night are over.

"With half our city's greenhouse gas emissions coming from its commercial buildings, the Better Buildings Partnership shows just how much can be achieved," she said.

"It's a fantastic result for the people of Sydney because this is about the planet."

Overall, energy use across participating buildings has been cut by 25 per cent compared with 2006.

Some buildings have already achieved the targeted reduction of 70 per cent.

Centennial Plaza, a glass and granite office building opposite Central Railway Station, was built at the end of the 1980s.

It has undergone a radical overhaul as part of the scheme.

Low-energy lighting has been installed along with rainwater collection tanks and even waterless urinals.

The building's temperature is controlled by a sophisticated operating system that responds to how many people are in the building and to changing weather conditions.

"It's not only what you do to a building, it's how you run a building," Councillor Moore said.

"It's a big challenge for us to change our ways."

The co-chair of the Better Buildings Partnership, Emlyn Keane, says businesses want to be seen to be green.

He is hoping to persuade more office owners that improving energy efficiency is not just environmentally responsible but also makes good business sense.

"Tenants are attracted to high performing buildings and tenants are attracted to low cost operating expenses, which energy efficiency ultimately delivers," Mr Keane told the ABC.

"It's probably just the education process and that's what the Better Buildings Partnership is trying to do, collaborate with the rest of the industry to demonstrate that cutting carbon emissions and ultimately cutting down on energy consumption in the vast majority of cases will pay for itself."

Office buildings taking part in the scheme receive daily emails tracking their energy use and comparisons with previous days and years.

Mr Keane said members were engaged in a "green race" to transform the city into a low carbon society.

 

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