Tom Grosskopf

31 October 2013 – About three quarters of commercial office space in Australia is now rated through the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, or NABERS, the organisation’s first annual report has shown.

The ratings, the report says, demonstrate annual savings of 380,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas, 440,000 MW hours of electricity and 1.6 million litres of water.

The report, released on Wednesday, is part of NABERS’ 2013-2018 strategic plan, centred on growth of the organisation. Its five key objectives are innovation, accountability, engagement, environmental benefit and service delivery.

Tom Grosskopf, NABERS national administrator and director of Metro Branch Regional Operations at the Office of Environment and Heritage, said in the report that NABERS ratings of building environmental performance were now a routine feature of government policies, industry programs and commercial property agreements, and mandatory NABERS Energy for offices ratings were required by Commonwealth legislation.

“By taking complex information about the operational efficiency of a building and translating it into a simple six-star rating scale, NABERS has transformed the way we understand and talk about the environmental impact of commercial buildings,” Mr Grosskopf said.

Buildings with better ratings attract higher investment and rental returns and have lower vacancy rates and outgoings. Importantly, competition for these ratings has delivered clear environmental benefits by stimulating significant investment in energy and water efficiency.”

Data centres

In February NABERS Energy, with the help of industry partners, introduced ratings tools in the NABERS suite for data centres – one of the fastest growing energy usage sectors – to measure and improve their efficiency. The report said that data centres use around 1.5 per cent of Australia’s present electricity consumption and that figure is expected to rise significantly in the next five years.

New Zealand

NABERS Energy was launched in New Zealand in June for offices. The New Zealand Government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has estimated that around 20-25 per cent of the $NZ1.25 billion ($A1.08 b) of cost in electricity use in the country’s buildings ($NZ200 m) could be saved with improved performance in the property sector.

Ratings in Australia continued to grow with nearly three quarters of Australia’s national office space now rated the report says.

NABERS assessors are rating more than 420,000 sq m of commercial office space, shopping centres and hotels every week, said Grosskopf

During the financial year it received applications for 1422 office energy ratings. Of those 568 were for office water ratings; 22 for indoor environment ratings; 11 for office waste ratings, 88 for shopping centre energy ratings; 79 for shopping centre water ratings, 22 for hotel energy ratings and 20 for hotel water ratings.

Investment payback

The annual IPD Australian Green Property Index, which tracks investment performance of commercial office buildings that have been awarded a NABERS energy or water rating, shows that offices with high NABERS ratings (4-6 stars) consistently outperformed those with lower ratings (o-3.5 stars) as well as showing stronger capital growth.

The NABERS budget, funded by contributions from the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and revenue from rating lodgement fees, accreditation, training and other products, is determined on an annual basis by the steering committee, and is directly linked to the planned program activities for that year. The report said future years will be budgeted to deliver against the program objectives of the strategic plan.

The numbers

NABERS’ financial statement for the year to June 30, 2013 showed the cost of delivering the program was $2.47 million.

NABERS agreements and licences earned the organisation $286,556 while delivery and quality assurance of its ratings and products used cost $747,433. Training and accreditation was the second highest expense at $440,241 while website development cost $371,284.

The organisation showed a surplus at the close of the financial year of $144,653 ($127,840 in the previous year).

See the full report

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  1. Hi there,
    I would interested to know if solar power was one of your recommendations through your report, and how our business could help these companies achieve this through our lease model.