What is a NABERS rating and what does it mean?

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The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) is an Australian wide rating system that measures the environmental performance of buildings, office tenancies and homes. Put simply, NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment. The final result is a certificate with a rating out of 6 stars, with a 6 star rating demonstrating market leading performance. The market average energy performance for an office building is 4.1 stars rating.

All ratings are completed in accordance with the NABERS Rule book by an Accredited NABERS Assessor. NABERS Ratings are audited by the governmental program administration to ensure accurate and consistent ratings are conducted by all NABERS assessors.

How is NABERS rating calculated?

Measurable and verifiable performance information and building data - such as utility bills – are converted into an easy to understand rating scale that ranges from one to six stars that is comparable across buildings of the same type.  A 6 star rating demonstrates market leading performance, while a 1 star rating means the building or tenancy has considerable scope for improvement.

For a NABERS energy rating, the CO2 emissions of a building’s energy consumption are calculated, and then benchmarked against key parameters such as Net Lettable Area (NLA), geographical location, and building operating hours. A rating out of 6 stars is calculated, and rounded down to 0.5 star increments (i.e. 4.0 NABERS Stars, 4.5 NABERS stars).

NABERS and Net Zero

Net Zero or Carbon Neutral Certification for buildings can be achieved through the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Buildings. Buildings with a minimum 4 Star NABERS Energy Rating, are eligible to seek the certification. Energy Action can assist you with the certification through the NABERS Administrator.

Who needs a NABERS rating?

NABERS ratings are mandatory if you are selling, leasing, or sub-leasing an office space larger than 1000 sq. m, the Commercial Building Disclosure Act requires that you obtain and advertise a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) (http://cbd.gov.au/does-this-apply-to-me/when-does-this-apply). Fines apply if the BEEC is not obtained. The BEEC comprises of a Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA) and a NABERS Energy Office Building rating.

If you have entered into a Green Lease for your office building or tenancies, you may be obligated to undertake regular NABERS ratings to meet the conditions of the lease.

The Benefits of a NABERS Rating

The benefits of a NABERS Rating include:

  • Accurately measuring performance allows decision makers to take steps to reduce their resource consumption and lower their operating costs.
  • Increased building value – Low resource consumption is an indicator of a well-managed building. As a result, buildings with higher NABERS ratings often sell for more than lower rated counterparts.
  • Attracts tenants as it demonstrates an efficient and well managed building.
  • Government tenancies require office building owners to maintain a high level NABERS Rating as part of lease conditions.
  • A NABERS rating allows decision makers to benchmark their building against the industry, and other buildings within their portfolio.
  • The data from NABERS ratings can be used to apply for green bonds

How to improve NABERS rating?

NABERS measures the actual operational performance of a building or tenancy against the services that it provides to its occupants. As a result, the best way to improve a NABERS rating is to improve the energy efficiency of a building. This can be done without significant capital expenditure. Energy Action has achieved ongoing and sustained improvement in NABERS Energy performance for our clients through:

  • Working with operational staff to improve data collection as NABERS penalises poorly recorded data.
  • Implementing sub metering to improve visibility of major equipment
  • Conducting BMS reviews and ongoing building tuning services
  • Conducting Energy audits that identify major opportunities for energy savings


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