What are they?
NABERS ratings provide an indication of the operational sustainability of a building. Separate NABERS ratings are available for different building types and environmental issues:
- Offices, Base or Whole Building (Owner or owner tenant) NABERS Energy, NABERS Water, NABERS Waste and NABERS Indoor Environment
- Offices, Tenancy: NABERS Energy, NABERS Waste and NABERS Indoor Environment
- Retail shopping Centres, Base building (Owner): NABERS Energy and Water
The NABERS Energy and Water ratings are the most common in the market place. NABERS Energy base building ratings for offices are mandated for buildings undergoing lease or sale transactions of spaces greater than 2000m².
Why are they useful?
A NABERS rating characterises the environmental performance on a simple star scale where 1 star is poor, 3 stars is average, 5 stars is leading edge and 6 stars is exceptional. Furthermore, these ratings are based on measurement not theory, so they represent real environmental performance. BY turning a relatively complex technical object into a simple star rating, NABERS makes it easier for non-technical people to discuss and value environmental performance when evaluating a building for sale or lease.
Issues to be aware of
NABERS ratings are only valid for one year, so a current rating is essential if it is to provide useful information about a building. NABERS ratings must be accredited to have any meaning. An informal, unaccredited NABERS rating should never be relied upon.
NABERS ratings do not assess the presence or otherwise of design or technological features. They just assess performance outcomes. As a result it is possible for well designed buildings to be operated badly to achieve a poor rating, and poorly designed buildings to be operated well to achieve a good rating. That said, a poorly operated but well designed building is a great opportunity for improvement.
NABERS ratings can be improved through the purchase of Green Power (accredited zero emissions power). However this can be identified on the rating certificate, and the rating without the use of Green Power is also shown on the certificate. As a result it is possible to tell the extent to which the NABERS rating has been achieved through on-site efficiency or by energy supply procurement.
All office buildings other than strata title buildings, and all shopping centres greater than 15,000m²
Questions to ask
- Does the building have a current NABERS rating, and if so what is it?
- Was there any Green Power used in the NABERS rating, and if so what was the building’s rating if this is counted as ordinary grid power?
- Have any improvements been undertaken since the last NABERS rating was undertaken?
If so, what did these include?
NABERS website – www.nabers.gov.au