NABERS on Thursday announced its new Indoor Environment tool has been released, and is now available in pilot form. In a boon for users the lodgement will be free until 30 September, a saving of  just more than $1078.

A statement from the NSW Office of  Environment and Heritage on Thursday said, in part:

Indoor environment quality  in office buildings has been gaining increasing attention lately as the research linking IEQ to occupant health and comfort has grown, and investors are starting to look more closely at the social aspects of sustainability.

NABERS initially launched its NABERS IE tool in 2009 as the world’s first performance-based tool of its kind with ratings based onobjective measurements of thermal comfort, lighting, air quality and acoustics, as well as subjective measurements of occupant satisfaction with the indoor conditions in an office.

While the number of ratings had been growing steadily on an annual basis, a technical working group was formed in 2013 to address a number of issues that had been raised during the tool’s first few years in the market. They were also tasked with exploring ways to make it more valuable and useful to property portfolios and facility management companies.

Mr Carlos Flores, acting program manager for NABERS, said that the progression to pilot testing was a big step forward for one of the program’s most promising tools.

“NABERS IE has always had the potential to make a big impact on the Australian office sector,” he said.

“These changes allow users to gain much greater insight into how the rating is calculated, how the building is performing in all areas of indoor environment quality and how it can improve.

“A NABERS IE rating will allow building owners to demonstrate to tenants and investors that they take a holistic approach to sustainability with buildings that are good for the environment and for the people who occupy them” said Mr. Flores.

The changes include:

  • an expansion of the star rating scale to 6 stars
  • An intuitive way to determine the star rating obtained as well as how much improvement is required to reach the next star rating
  • A more effective way to communicate performance on each aspect of the rating. Users can now easily see what aspects of IEQ performance are working well from others where there is significant potential for improvement
  • A new rating report which, that provides greater details into the building performance
  • Technical updates to align the tool with the latest international standards and science

“NABERS has been very fortunate to have some of the brightest minds from the property and IEQ sectors helping to create these enhancements. It allowed us to create a user-centric rating tool with very innovative features that would have otherwise not been possible,” Mr Flores said.

“We’re big believers in consultation and testing. The idea of a pilot came directly from industry stakeholders, and will allow us to test the tool on the ground and quickly address any teething issues that may come up.

“NABERS Energy has been instrumental in driving an energy efficiency revolution and has helped the Australian commercial property sector to become a world leader in the field. We believe NABERS Indoor Environment can be the catalyst that allows Australia to once again lead the world, this time in creating healthy and productive work places.”

Free information sessions will be provided. See the NABERS website for details.