How to improve your NABERS rating
The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program was developed to:
- Improve the energy efficiency of commercial office buildings and
- Empower buyers and renters of commercial office buildings by providing accurate and credible information to compare buildings and energy costs.
A building’s NABERS Energy for offices rating can be significantly improved as part of a major refurbishment, such as replacing or upgrading central air-conditioning systems and equipment.
Building owners can also improve the energy efficiency of their building by making small changes such as:
- Installing energy efficient lighting – switching to compact fluorescent or high efficiency LED luminaire or lamp can cut electricity use for lighting by up to 75 per cent.
- Ensuring their building management system allows for the control of lighting, heating and cooling systems and managed effectively.
- Installing shading, insulation and double glazing to reduce the need for air conditioning
Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems account for the majority of energy costs in a commercial building. To further increase building energy efficiency, owners can consider the ways their HVAC system is utilised. For example:
- Turning a building’s HVAC system on in the morning and off in the afternoon can save up to 10% of total HVAC energy consumption at very little cost (Source: OEH HVAC optimisation guide)
- Replacing air conditioners that are more than 10 years old can reduce electricity use for heating and cooling on average 10-15 per cent.
Building owners can also use the suite of available benchmarking tools such as:
- Calculating Cool - the free online benchmarking tool that was developed by Sustainability Victoria and provides users with a simple yet effective way to find out how efficient their building's HVAC systems are, and identify areas for improvements.
- NABERS, Green Star and Calculating Cool tools can be used to compare buildings to other efficient buildings to identify areas for improvement.
Your NABERS Assessor may be able to provide specific advice for your building.
Various resources are available to building owners to assist in improving the energy efficiency of an office building:
NABERS - National Australian Built Environment Rating System website: information and resources
Commonwealth: Energy Efficiency Guidance and Resources - Energy Efficiency Exchange website: Information and resources for the commercial sector
NSW: Government Programs and Assistance - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Energy efficiency programs and financial assistance
VIC: Government Programs and Assistance - Sustainability Victoria: How to improve the energy efficiency of your office building
Air-Conditioning Guides - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning guides
Calculating Cool - Efficiency rating tool for air-conditioning systems
Energy in Buildings: 50 Best Practice Initiatives - Report from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Norman Disney & Young (NDY) identifying 50 measures to help property sector move towards net zero carbon buildings
Energy Efficient Lighting Guides - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Energy Efficient Lighting Guides
Renewable Energy - Solar - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Solar finance guides
LEASA App - Allows stakeholders to compare different spaces available for lease
CBD Assessor Register - Find a CBD Assessor to complete your NABERS rating and Tenancy Lighting Assessments
Green Building Council Australia - Industry peak body for sustainable buildings
Property Council of Australia - Industry information in relation to commercial property
CitySwitch Green Office - Sustainability program focused on commercial office tenants
Energy Efficiency Council - Industry information and resources on cost effective energy efficiency measures
Subscribe to CBD - Subscribe to the CBD newsletter for updates on the program.
Download the General Energy Efficiency Guide for Offices for further information.
From 1 July 2017, the program was expanded to include commercial office spaces of 1000 square metres and above. This means a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) is required for most commercial office spaces of 1000 square metres or more if offered for sale or lease. A current NABERS Energy for offices rating will also need to be included in all advertising for the building’s sale or lease.
For further information, see What is a BEEC?