Is high-tech wizardry the secret to creating Australia’s most energy efficient office? Or does cutting edge design hold the key? Neither, says the national program manager for NABERS, Carlos Flores.
Australia’s offices are among the world’s greenest – as seven years leading the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark confirms. Building owners continue to push the boundaries of best practice, and as they do, a 6 star NABERS Energy rating – once outside the realms of reality – is now achievable.
Eighty-one per cent of Australia’s office market is rated by NABERS, or the National Australian Built Environment Rating System. This rating system measures a building’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions, as well as water consumed, waste produced and the quality of the indoor environment, and compares it to similar buildings.
NABERS rates both office buildings and tenancies, as well as a host of other building types, including apartment buildings, shopping centres and hotels. Using a 6-star scale, NABERS helps owners and tenants to understand the impact of their building on the environment.
Just a few years ago a 4 star NABERS Energy rating was applauded as “above average performance” but, Flores says, “the office market has moved so fast and so far, that a 4 star rating is now just about average performance”.
A 5 star rating means that a building is 30 to 40 per cent more energy and emissions efficient than average practice, and a 6 star rating is 70 to 80 per cent more efficient than the average building.