Stanley Plaza

First New Zealand, then India, now Australia’a world-lauded NABERS rating tool is heading to Hong Kong, where it will be used by real estate services firm CBRE to assess the energy efficiency of one of Asia’s largest real estate investment trust’s retail assets.

NABERS will be used to assess nine shopping centres totalling 143,000 square metres, all owned by Link REIT, the largest REIT in terms of market capitalisation in Asia, according to CBRE.

Emma McMahon, CBRE’s director of sustainability, Pacific, said there was an increasing number of owners and fund managers in Asia looking for external verification of their portfolio’s sustainability performance – mostly driven by institutional investor demands, a trend that’s repeating across the globe.

“The appointment marks the first project to be rated by the NABERS scheme in this market, representing an exciting development of the tool, and one step closer to the internationalisation of energy benchmarking in real estate,” she said.

Link sees NABERS as a way to provide independent verification of its sustainability achievements.

“Since 2010, Link has implemented a comprehensive and ambitious energy management strategy, which has so far achieved over 26 per cent reduction in total energy consumption across the portfolio,” Link’s general manager of sustainability Calvin Lee Kwan said.

“The NABERS pilot will allow us to assess the energy performance of our assets using a tried and tested methodology and to benchmark asset performance internally as well as externally.”

To translate the NABERS tool to the Hong Kong environment, the pilot project will use climate algorithms associated with Queensland, as this is the most analogous area climatically. CBRE will look at specific features of the shopping centres, including floor layout, opening hours, energy consumption, car park provisions and vacancy rates.

“This pilot project will be pivotal in establishing the framework for NABERS in similar markets, understanding the challenges this poses, where the rules need to be adapted to suit that market, and where there needs to be more investigation,” Ms McMahon said.

“The lessons we learn from this project will be instrumental in the program’s development and expansion, ultimately improving the environmental performance of real estate.”

For NABERS’ national program manager Carlos Flores, its all about capitalising on Australia’s reputation as a global leader in building sustainability.

“The NABERS community is proud to have played a central role in driving Australia’s performance-based approach to sustainability, one of the defining characteristics of the ‘Australian way’ to sustainability,” he said.

“NABERS looks forward to continue to work with industry leaders such as CBRE and Link REIT to explore further opportunities for international collaboration and mutual learning.”

The assets undergoing NABERS assessments include Lok Fu Plaza; Chung Fu Plaza; Leung King Plaza; Hau Tak (II) Shopping Centre; Wong Tai Sin Plaza (Temple Mall South); Lung Cheung Plaza (Temple Mall North); On Ting Commercial Complex (also known as H.A.N.D.S); Yau Oi Commercial Complex (also known as H.A.N.D.S); and Stanley Plaza.

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