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Commercial Building Disclosure. A national energy efficiency program

 

 

NABERS Energy for Offices star ratings

Note: Changes to the CBD Program were announced on 21 June 2016. Read more here.

 

The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program requires most sellers and lessors of office space of 2000 square metres or more to have an up-to-date Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC).

Each BEEC includes a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy for offices rating for the disclosure affected building. This is a way of rating the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by comparing them against benchmarks developed using actual building performance data. The NABERS Energy rating on a BEEC includes a star rating and annual building energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission details.

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What do the NABERS stars mean?

The NABERS Energy for offices rating is a national rating system that measures building performance on a scale of zero to six stars. A zero-star rating means the building is performing well below average and has lots of scope for improvement. A six-star rating indicates a market leading performance, with half the greenhouse gas emissions or water use of a five-star building.

Sample NABERS energy star rating on a BEEC

NABERS star rating sample. Sample shows 3 of 6 stars highlighted.

What is rated for a BEEC?

The NABERS Energy for offices rating on a BEEC should be a base building rating. This covers performance of the building’s central services and common areas, which are usually managed by the building owner.

However, if a base building rating cannot be calculated because utility metres are not sufficient to distinguish between base building energy use and tenancy energy use, then a whole building rating that includes the tenanted spaces may be used instead

Does the NABERS Energy rating consider GreenPower?

No. The NABERS Energy rating and greenhouse gas emissions reported on a BEEC do not take into account GreenPower purchases. This is because a decision to purchase GreenPower does not reflect the energy efficiency of the building.

In lodging a BEEC application, CBD accredited assessors can draw on the assessment results prepared by other accredited assessors (that are displayed on the Building Energy Efficiency Register) so long as the ratings are still valid and current.

For example, if a building has an existing NABERS Energy rating, the CBD assessor only needs to complete a new lighting assessment and will be able to apply for a BEEC using this and the existing NABERS Energy rating. Similarly, if the relevant area within the building has an existing lighting assessment, then the CBD assessor only needs to complete a new NABERS Energy rating assessment and will be able to apply for a BEEC using this and the existing lighting assessment.

To use a previous NABERS rating, an accredited assessor must ensure that the rating is current and is still applicable to the building. In addition, a previous NABERS rating cannot be relied upon by an accredited assessor if:

  • It takes into account any purchase of GreenPower.
  • It is a NABERS whole building rating - unless there is no current base building rating and a new NABERS base building rating cannot be worked out by the assessor.
  • It rated the energy efficiency of the building before a major refurbishment commenced - see exceptions and exemptions for further information about major refurbishments.

To use a previous lighting assessment, an accredited assessor must ensure that it is current and is applicable to the building or area of a building that is seeking a BEEC. The accredited assessor may rely on a current assessment of the lighting energy efficiency of an area of a building in ensuring that all areas of a building are rated if the whole building is disclosure affected.

Can a NABERS Energy Commitment Agreement be disclosed instead of a NABERS Energy rating?

No. However, a NABERS Energy Commitment Agreement rating can be disclosed in addition to a NABERS Energy rating, for example when an existing building is undertaking a retrofit. A NABERS Energy Commitment Agreement rating can also be displayed when a building is considered an exception to disclosure requirements, or has been granted an exemption from the energy efficiency disclosure obligation. For more information, see Exceptions and Exemptions. For examples of how to display ratings in advertising, see Advertising.

If I already have a NABERS Energy whole building rating, do I still need a base building rating?

Yes. Under section 6(3) and (4) of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Determination 2015 (Secretary’s Determination), a person working out the energy efficiency rating for a building must disclose a NABERS Energy base building rating unless it cannot be calculated because utility meters installed for the building are not sufficient to distinguish between base building energy use and tenancy energy use. In this case, a NABERS Energy whole building rating must be carried out.

What is the difference between a NABERS Energy rating and a Green Star rating?

NABERS is a performance-based national rating system that measures the environmental performance of existing buildings, tenancies and homes. NABERS is a national system run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage on behalf of the Australian, state and territory governments. See www.nabers.gov.au for more information.

Green Star is a rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of new buildings. Green Star is a national voluntary environmental rating system developed by the Green Building Council of Australia. See www.gbca.org.au/green-star/green-star-overview/ for more information.

How is a NABERS Energy rating obtained when the owner or sublessor doesn’t hold all relevant data?

Where information or access necessary to complete a NABERS rating or tenancy lighting assessment is controlled by another person, such as a tenant, arrangements to facilitate access or provision of the information should be made. Where possible, arrangements should be made beforehand in leases to facilitate access and information.

Where a prospective seller, lessor or sublessor cannot obtain information or access on behalf of their CBD accredited assessor, they or their assessor should notify the CBD Program.

Where a sitting tenant refuses access to a part of their building or to provide necessary information, section 18 of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 enables CBD accredited assessors to obtain information, such as energy use data, from building owners, lessees and sublessees. Requests under section 18 should not be issued by CBD accredited assessors without first consulting the CBD Program.

A failure to comply with a section 18 request can result in a serious financial penalty. A person issued with a request for information or access under section 18 may apply for an exemption - for further information, see exceptions and exemptions.

Where, despite all reasonable efforts, access or information cannot be obtained which is necessary to complete a rating, a CBD accredited assessor may apply for an exemption on behalf of an owner or sublessor.


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