All buildings provide countless benefits to society, and they also make significant impacts on the environment. Undertaking a NABERS rating has helped many property owners, managers, and tenants across Australia to understand their environmental impact so they can improve their sustainability performance, reap financial benefits and build their reputation.

What is NABERS?

NABERS is the National Australian Built Environment Rating System. It is a national rating system which measures Australian buildings, tenancies, and homes environmental performance. NABERS is managed nationally by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, on behalf of Commonwealth, state and territory governments.

A NABERS rating can provide you with an indication of how well you are managing your building or tenancies environmental impacts compared to similar buildings. NABERS rating tools assist in understanding the environmental performance of a building or tenancy. This provides the building blocks to determine how to save buildings more energy, reduce waste and become more water efficient.

Each of the NABERS tools has been developed to:

  • • provide a credible and independent market-based benchmark
  • • communicate environmental performance through a simple star rating
  • • drive best practice through setting stretch targets meet the needs of industry, and
  • • achieve real positive environmental outcomes.

NABERS is the only environmental rating tool that provides a reliable benchmark of the actual environmental performance of a building compared to other Australian buildings.

Achieving a NABERS Rating

A buildings NABERS rating is calculated by using measured and verified performance information (eg. utility bills) and converting them into a star rating scale from one to six stars. The adjusted data is then compared to the NABERS benchmark data, and a star rating reflecting your performance relative to your peers is calculated.

The rating takes into consideration the climatic conditions in which the building operates, hours of use, level of provided services, used energy sources as well as its size and occupancy. rating calculation process

Image via NABERS

How does the NABERS Rating Scale work?

A NABERS rating reflects the environmental performance and impacts of a building or tenancy over twelve months. It converts detailed technical information about a building’s environmental impacts into an easily understood star rating that accurately demonstrates how a building or tenancy is performing compared to others in its location.

The NABERS rating scale uses a six star scale to indicate the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment. A 6 star NABERS rating demonstrates market-leading performance, while a 1 star rating means the building or tenancy has considerable scope for improvement.

NABERS rating scale

Image via NSW Government

Benefits of a NABERS Rating for existing and new buildings

A NABERS rating allows businesses to improve operational efficiency and productivity, demonstrate their commitment to protect and conserve the environment as well as optimise the triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental outcomes – by reducing building energy usage and costs over the life of the building.

A NABERS accredited rating:

  • • Delivers demonstrated financial benefits, such as reduced operating costs, increased value, increased rental income and reduced vacancy rates.
  • • Provides market recognition and a competitive advantage for building owners and tenants who operate in an environmentally efficient manner. NABERS gives companies the confidence to promote their building performance with reputable government certification.
  • • Helps to create a better work environment for employees which has positive benefits for any company.
  • • Can help landlords to meet tenant expectations for greener buildings and workplaces, in particular, government tenants who require a minimum 4.5 star ratings.
  • • Provides a credible, independently verified means for benchmarking and monitoring actual improvements in performance.
  • • Encourages best practice, by providing realistic but aspirational benchmarks that encourage owners and tenants to minimise their environmental impacts.
  • • Can help to identify cost saving opportunities over time and across a portfolio – property owners can use NABERS to inform them of the performance of buildings across a portfolio and, through targeted resource allocation, better manage their impacts on the environment.
  • • Buildings with a 1 to 3 star rating will often have significant, cost-effective opportunities to improve, and to achieve energy and water savings.

*Sourced from NABERS

Pre-Existing Buildings

A NABERS rating is the first step in understanding what opportunities there may be to improve the efficiency, performance and sustainability of a building or tenancy and increase its rating.

An annual NABERS rating allows you to keep track of performance, measure the impact of any actions taken, address issues and make improvements, as well as set targets for each year. A NABERS rating can assist in evaluating how your building is performing, and the real results of initiatives you may be taking by providing a marker to see if you are heading in the right direction or need to reevaluate any systems you have in place. By confirming what is working well and what is not, you can set meaningful targets to improve the environmental performance of your building or tenancy.

For many commercial property managers and tenants, a NABERS ratings is an essential component to their decision making. Having a NABERS rating indicates to the Australian property industry that your building or tenancy has a credible standard, and is serious about environmental initiatives. This can be the deciding factor to a property manager choosing your building over another and can help you to attract and retain highly desirable tenants. In a good environment, your tenants staff will increase productivity resulting in higher ROI for them which you can charge a premium for.

A high NABERS rating is recognised across the property industry as a symbol of sustainability leadership and good management. Therefore buildings with high NABERS ratings are greatly favoured and hold higher value in the marketplace, attracting higher valuations, and enjoying lower operating costs.

New Developments

Building owners and managers commonly use NABERS to set star rating targets for building or portfolio upgrade projects. A NABERS Energy Commitment Agreement ensures that your building is future proofed and energy considerations are being developed from the very beginning of the project, reducing the impact you have on the environment and the operating costs of your project.

You can use NABERS to market your environmental performance from day one of the development process and publicly promote your environmental initiatives whilst the building is being designed, constructed and leased. These buildings are also more likely to attract and retain tenants who value good environmental performance.

Use the self-assessment calculator to get an indication of how well your building or tenancy is performing.
Remember that the results of a self-assessment are indicative only and can’t be promoted or published.

If you would like help improving your building NABERS Rating, contact us today!