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New NABERS process unlocks ratings for office tenants

The online launch this month of new energy rating tool NABERS Co-Assess has opened the way for a cost-effective expansion of the NABERS (National Built Environment Rating Scheme) program into thousands of office tenancies around Australia.

The NABERS program is widely used across Australia to benchmark operational energy, water, waste, and indoor environment performance of an office building or tenancy and to measure its impact on the environment. 

The program is also a key part of the national CBD regulatory program, which makes it compulsory for a building’s NABERS energy rating to be disclosed during the sale or leasing of spaces bigger than 1000sqm.

Although office tenants are major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, until now, the relatively high cost for a tenancy to obtain a rating has hindered their participation in the national NABERS program.

Colliers International’s Sustainability Manager Patrick Jeannerat said the ability of NABERS Co-Assess to unlock a previously inaccessible part of the market made it a game changer for the building industry.

“NABERS building ratings are an established part of Australia’s commercial office market, but despite strong advocacy from the CitySwitch Green Office program, the industry has struggled to extend this success to get transparency over the 50 per cent of the energy used directly by tenants,” Mr Jeannerat said.

“With NABERS Co-Assess, landlords and property managers are now in a position to service a very big proportion of the market by offering tenancy ratings at an affordable and more equitable cost, a feature which is expected to be particularly attractive to small and medium-sized tenants.

“This give tenants the ability to measure their energy performance and manage their energy costs at a time when many businesses are looking for ways to reduce operating expenses.” 

The cost savings were achieved by combining the tenancy assessments into the base building and/or whole building energy ratings process so there is just one application.

Once the energy and occupancy data has been compiled and a site inspection conducted, the application is prepared using the Co-Assess tool and the combined submission is sent to NABERS for verification and certification.

Ahead of the launch, Colliers International volunteered to take part in a pilot scheme with NABERS to test the new process

“Better access to the rating means tenants will be able to meaningfully monitor their energy use and implement changes that will result in lower energy bills,” Mr Jeannerat said.

“In an office market where there is strong competition for tenants, NABERS Co-Assess offers landlords a new opportunity to make buildings more attractive to tenants and also creates a collaborative environment where they can work more closely with tenants to lower energy use.”