NSW Office of Environment and Heritage director Tom Grosskopf

New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has renewed its lease of Australia’s NABERS program until 2020.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage director Tom Grosskopf said NZ’s decision to continue with the tool was good news for the environment and testament to the program’s economic value.

“Since the 2012 launch of NABERSNZ, the foundation work to successfully establish the program has been done, so it made perfect sense to renew their licence until the end of the decade,” Mr Grosskopf said. “Over the next five years we expect to see strong growth in the number of assessments.”

The NABERS program has tools to rate energy efficiency, water use, waste management and indoor environment quality, with 77 per cent of Australia’s national office market having been rated.

Mr Grosskopf compared where New Zealand currently was – with 28 ratings certified since its inception – with Australia during the tool’s infancy.

“The Australian property industry experienced a ‘bedding-in’ period with NABERS while building owners got to know the data requirements involved,” he said.

“Once industry was comfortable with the process and the market put the right incentives in place, we saw a rapid and wide-scale uptake.

“We expect that New Zealand will experience a similar gear change over the next five years – particularly since we’re now seeing a number of international financing mechanisms recognising NABERS.”

The NABERSNZ license covers only the Energy and Water for offices tools; though there is the possibility of this being extended to other tools in the future.

EECA chief executive Mike Underhill said it was important to have an independent prices to rate commercial building performance and suggest improvements, as they were a major user of energy.

“NABERSNZ is a valuable tool that will help drive energy efficiency, reduce climate emissions and deliver a range of co-benefits for tenants and asset owners,” Mr Underhill said.