27 July 2012  – NABERS is seeking industry submissions until 24 August on its position paper for how cogeneration and trigeneration systems are dealt with in the NABERS Energy rating.

Acting deputy chief executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage, Bernard Carlon, said that the move has been prompted by the shift of interest from single building energy systems to precincts.

“We are seeing an increasing change of focus in new developments from single building energy systems to the planning of green precincts that have district-scale energy systems shared across a number of sites,” Mr Carlon said.

“For example, the City of Sydney’s Decentralised Energy Master Plan proposed the roll out of tri-generation precincts and the intent to connect over 360MW of building electricity demand.”

To reflect this changing trend, Mr Carlon said that a review of NABERS rules would consider how externally supplied electricity and thermal energy from these plants could be accounted for by the NABERS rating system.

“NABERS exists to encourage and reward environmental performance so it is important that we aim to reflect the true environmental benefit of co- and trigeneration systems in a NABERS energy rating,” Mr Carlon said.

Key recommendations are:

  • When a co/trigeneration system is located on-site and all the usable energy generated by this system is consumed by either the base building or its tenants; then 100 per cent of the externally supplied energy (usually natural gas) can be proportionately allocated to the end users of the generated electricity
  • When a co/trigeneration system is located on-site and it is exporting thermal energy or electricity off-site, then the proportion of externally supplied energy (usually natural gas) used by the co/trigeneration plant to generate these exports can be excluded from the host buildings NABERS Energy Base Building Rating
  • When co/trigeneration thermal energy or electricity is externally supplied to a building then this energy is to be accounted for within a NABERS Energy rating
  • NABERS supports the creation of an industry/government accreditation standard to allocate an emissions value to co/trigeneration thermal energy and electricity products externally supplied to buildings (similar to GreenPower). Once an accreditation process is established, then these externally supplied energy products can be included in a NABERS Energy rating. Until such a standard is developed co/trigeneration electricity supplied via the grid/network will be allocated standard grid emission values. Imported thermal energy will be considered by the NABERS National Administrator on a case-by-case basis
  • The amount of low emissions electricity will be identified in the NABERS Energy rating certificate and accompanying rating report

Details www.nabers.com.au