NABERS Rating Services & New Legislation

18 August 2017

NABERS

(National Australian Building Environment Rating System)

What is NABERS?

In Australia, government and industry have been working together to drive sustainability in commercial buildings for over a decade. Every building has an impact on the environment. In fact, buildings use 40% of the world’s energy, emit 40% of the world’s carbon footprint, and use 20% of the world’s available drinking water. The first step is to really understand the environmental performance of a building or tenancy.

NABERS is a national rating system which measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings and tenancies. The tool measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and the impact on the environment. Buildings/ facilities which are covered in this rating tool are offices (tenancy, base building or whole building), shopping centres, hotels and data centres.

NABERS Energy Ratings are also required for compliance with the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) scheme.

How does a NABERS star rating work?

NABERS provides a star rating to a building or tenancy that represents the actual operational performance, using 12 months of measured performance information, such as energy or water bills or a waste audit.

The program compares the performance of the building or tenancy to benchmarks that represent the performance of other similar buildings in the same location.

To ensure the real-life performance data is comparable with other buildings, it’s sometimes necessary to make adjustments that account for the specific location and use of the building.

The rating takes into consideration:

  • The climatic conditions in which the building operates
  • The hours of its use
  • The level of services it provides
  • The energy sources it uses
  • Its size and occupancy

NABERS ensures that a building is compared fairly against its market peers.

The adjusted data is then compared to the NABERS benchmark data, and a star rating reflecting the performance relative to other buildings is then calculated. For example, a 6 star rating demonstrates market-leading performance, while a 1 star rating means the building has considerable scope for improvement.

NABERS ratings are valid for twelve months.  An annual review ensures the rating accurately represents the building or workplace’s current operational performance.

NABERS

For over ten years, NABERS has assisted property owners, managers and tenants across Australia to improve their sustainability performance, reaping financial benefits and their reputation in the property market.

NABERS is managed nationally by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, on behalf of Commonwealth, state and territory government.

Further information on the NABERS program can be found in https://nabers.gov.au

CBD (Commercial Building Disclosure Program)

What is involved?

The CBD Program requires most sellers and lessors of office space of at least 1,000 square metres to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before the building goes on the market for sale, lease or sublease.

BEECs are valid for up to 12 months and include:

  • The building’s National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy star rating
  • A tenancy lighting assessment of the relevant area of the building

Only CBD accredited assessors can apply for BEECs on behalf of building owners or lessors.

What must be disclosed?

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 requires that:

  • BEECs must be provided to potential buyers or lessors when requested at the time of sale, lease or sublease
  • BEECs must also be publicly accessible on the Building Energy Efficiency Register
  • The building’s NABERS Energy star rating must also be included in any advertising material for the sale, lease or sublease

Who has to comply?

  • Most building owners who are selling or leasing office space with a net lettable area of 1,000 square metres or more.
  • Most tenants who are subleasing part of their tenancy with a net lettable area of 1,000 square metres or more.

Not all buildings are required to have a BEEC when they are sold or leased. For example, new buildings where there is a certificate of occupancy less than two years old, strata-titled buildings or buildings where ownership is transferred through the sale of shares do not require a BEEC.

What is a tenancy lighting assessment?

A tenancy lighting assessment is an important component of a BEEC. It is based on a methodical survey of the general lighting system reasonably expected to be left in place after the tenant leaves and the tenancy fit out is removed. Where appropriate, a tenancy lighting assessment may also cover proposed lighting systems.

It measures the power density of the installed general lighting system of affected buildings by working out the:

  • Nominal Lighting Power Density of the relevant functional space in the building
  • Capacity of installed lighting control systems

It may also include a performance comment if appropriate.

Lighting assessments are done by CBD accredited assessors.

Further information on the CBD program can be found in http://www.cbd.gov.au/

How BCA Energy can help?

Our service is a cost effective way of having the properties assessed and maintaining your accreditation into the future.  We offer a full suite of NABERS Ratings across all property types including; NABERS Office, NABERS Retail, NABERS Hotel and the CBD Tenancy Lighting Assessments.  These assessments are the core elements of the Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) which are required under the BEED Act by Building Owners when undertaking certain transactions.

Our mission is to make a positive impact on the existing commercial building sector, their tenants and the broader business community by assisting them to effectively measure, manage and reduce their energy and water consumption.

We have experienced NABERS Accredited Assessors who are also CBD Accredited Assessors on staff and have been conducting these assessments for several reputable clients.