Plenty of stars available for buildings without the five star cost

FAVOURITES: Property owners can raise their NABERS energy rating to 4 stars  by better management practices and no major capital investment, the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering at Sydney University has found in its Low Energy High Rise Building Research Report.

Launch of  project, which called on the intensive participation of some of Australia’s leading  asset and portfolio managers, as well as that of their senior technical advisers, drew a packed house for the 18 March launch at Sydney’s Customs House.

According to project director, Sue Salmon, the findings were ground breaking on a global scale and would be used by PhD students studying how to make our most prestigious and expensive buildings a better energy bet.

“This report is internationally ground breaking. It proves that despite the global financial crisis, major improvements in energy efficiency are possible without huge capital expenditure.”

Involving 127 high rise buildings in Australia’s capital cities and extensive analysis, the research found that most buildings could achieve a 4 Star NABERS Energy base building rating solely through improved management practices, Salmon said.

“What it is telling us is that the greatest environmental gains can be achieved with little or no cost. Even better, the energy savings can put money back into the pockets of owners and tenants.”

Salmon said key features of buildings that perform well related to human attitudes and practices.

“For example, buildings where management is at least partially in-sourced perform better by as much as 1.3 stars NABERS energy rating and buildings where the building, asset and portfolio manager all feel able to affect efficiency perform better by 0.9 stars.

“Buildings that disclose their NABERS performance to tenants perform better by 0.5 stars NABERS Energy.

“This corresponds to a performance improvement of approximately 30 per cent for an average building.

“Extrapolated across the CBD office building sector, this would be equivalent to a 1.2 per cent reduction in Australia’s total emissions.” Salmon said the report was based on three years of development and research by the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, involving extensive and detailed investigation of attitudes and practices among tenants, building managers, asset managers and portfolio managers. Participants involved the leading tenants and landlords in Australia.

“With the NABERS Energy benchmark and now these new research results, the Australian commercial property sector has the tools to be global stars in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

What you can Save

Key Research Results from the Low Energy High Rise Report


NABERS Energy Impact

Measure Summary

Economy Cycle

0.6 stars

Buildings with Economy cycles outperform those without

Building technology

1.4 stars

Buildings with current good practice façade and services technology perform better


1.3 stars

Buildings where management is at least partially in-sourced perform better

0.9 stars

Buildings where building, asset and portfolio manager all feel able to effect efficiency perform better


Buildings perform better when there is support for efficiency from building owners


0.5 stars

Buildings that disclose their NABERS performance to tenants perform better

Incentives and Penalties

0.4 stars

Buildings that provide efficiency penalties / incentives to maintenance contractors perform better

Training and skills

0.5 stars

Buildings where there is an efficiency training program perform better

1.3 stars

Buildings where the manager reports a higher level of energy efficiency knowledge perform better


Buildings where the building manager is conservative with respect to new technologies perform poorer

Incremental Improvement

0.6 stars

Buildings where incremental investments have been made in efficiency perform better than those where no such investment has occurred

Source: Low Energy High Rise Building Research Report
Go to for more information or contact Robert Mitchell on 02 9351 4048.

For the report go to

For the Suite of Initiatives go to:

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