23 Furzer Street, the first 6 star NABERS Energy rating for a major office building.

The number of buildings with NABERS ratings has increased for the seventh year in a row, NABERS’ just-released annual report shows, with shopping centre ratings leading the charge, almost doubling in the past year.

“The statistics this year send a clear message: our fundamentals are strong,” Tom Grosskopf, director of the Metropolitan Branch at the Office of Environment and Heritage, which runs the NABERS program, said.

The number of buildings rated under NABERS was at an all-time high, with the core NABERS Office Energy growing 1.8 per cent on the previous year to reach 1414 buildings rated.

For the Shopping Centre Energy ratings, the increase was a dramatic 84 per cent on the last year, up to 109.

Increases in ratings were also seen for the the Office Water, Shopping Centre Water and Data Centre Energy ratings, though falls were seen in the Office Indoor Environment, Office Waste, Hotel Energy and Hotel Water tools.

NABERS Office Energy ratings
NABERS Shopping Centre Energy ratings

In what Mr Grosskopf called the year of “collaboration and partnership”, the 2014-15 annual report showed a trend of institutional investors “entering the equation on an unprecedented scale”.

“There has been growing interest in tools like the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark and Climate Bonds, he said. “These tools incorporate NABERS data and that means that more financiers are working our data into their analyses and decision making. Naturally, property owners are paying attention.”

Using data from the March 2015 Property Council/IPD Australia Green Property Index, it was found that offices in CBD markets with high NABERS ratings (4-6 stars) outperformed those with low NABERS ratings (0-3.5 stars), delivering an annual return of 10.2 per cent, compared with 8.9 per cent for the general market.

It also found evidence of higher rent, higher net operating income, lower capital expenditure, lower vacancy rate and longer weighted average lease expiry for high NABERS Energy rated offices compared with low NABERS Energy rated offices.

Differences between high- and low-rated NABERS buildings.

Up next, according to Mr Grosskopf, is a strong emphasis on “ tool development and innovation”.

Highlights from the past financial year include:

  • the number of NABERS for certified office buildings going up by 1.8 per cent, making a seventh year of growth in the coverage of this sector
  • the number of NABERS for shopping centres growing significantly in 2014-15 (84 per cent), breaking the 100 certified shopping centres mark for the first time
  • working with the property industry to complete the review of NABERS IE
  • the first NABERS IE rating outside Australia
  • the NZ Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority renewing their engagement with NABERS for another five years to 2020
  • the first ever 6 stars NABERS Energy rating for a large office building (23 Furzer Street in the ACT, Mirvac)
  • establishing formal partnerships with several international initiatives, including GRESB and the Climate Bonds Initiative

See the NABERS Annual Report 2014/15