How to improve your NABERS rating

Posted by 30th November, 2016 in

Sustainability

Earlier this year, Victoria achieved its first six-star NABERS rating for a building, with 171 Collins Street, Melbourne taking the accolade. It’s just one of two commercial office buildings in Australia to reach the milestone, with hopefully many more to come.

Why NABERS is important

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System, or NABERS, is an important government rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. Utilising performance information such as utility bills, NABERS measures the water usage, waste management, energy efficiency and indoor environment quality of a building and its impact on the environment.

Buildings or tenancies are rated on a star rating scale from one to six. A six, as in the case of 171 Collins Street, is market-leading performance with 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than a five-star rating. A one-star rating on the other hand, has considerable scope for improvement.

So why does NABERS matter to you?

Well if you’re a landlord, having a high NABERS rating is a good way to get tenants in the door and paying a premium price. In fact, if you own a commercial office space of 1,000 square metres or more, you legally have to disclose your NABERS rating when leasing or selling the space, including on any advertising material.

And if you’re a tenant? You’ll have lower utility bills and a more pleasurable working environment. It also provides you with accurate and transparent information to compare buildings and their respective energy costs before committing to a lease.

Improving your NABERS rating

There are considerable changes you can make in your building to improve your NABERS rating which range from simple and easy to a little more time consuming to upgrade. We’ll focus on those that relate to energy efficiency:

  • Install LED lighting – A simple change of a light bulb can cut your lighting energy use by up to 80%. Consider installing motion sensors so the lights are only on when the room or area is occupied.
  • Install insulation and double glazing to reduce the need for your air conditioner and heater.
  • Upgrade your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system/s and if too expensive consider others ways to reduce its cost. For example, turn it off in the evening and slightly change the temperature so the system doesn’t need to work as hard.
  • Use a renewable power source such as solar onsite, or if not possible, purchase power through an accredited Green Power.

Where to start

A good place to start is Cityswitch, who are an organisation that specialises in helping commercial office tenants achieve a four star or higher NABERS rating. However, if you want to go alone, start with an upgrade that will give you the biggest return on investment. Upgrading your lights to LED for example, will automatically reduce your lighting energy consumption by up to 80%. Contact a Shine On lighting specialist today to discuss how you can improve your building’s NABERS rating.