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NABERS Building Ratings

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Queensland and NSW Laboratory  have a number of specialised NABERS Accredited Assessors who can complete NABERS Energy, NABERS Water, NABERS Indoor Environment, or NABERS Waste assessment anywhere in Australia. Queensland Laboratory specialises in Indoor Environmental testing and measurement, with a particular focus on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Formaldehyde Emissions.

NABERS (the National Australian Built Environment Rating System) is national initiative managed by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. An outline of the rating system is below, and more information can be obtained from the NABERS website.

NABERS is a performance-based rating system for existing buildings. NABERS rates a commercial office, hotel, shopping centre or home on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment.

The buildings that people live and work in have a measurable impact on their environment:

  • Energy is used to provide lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation
  • Water is used for washing, drinking, for toilets and air conditioning
  • Waste is generated
  • Occupants are affected by the quality of the air in buildings

Building owners, managers or occupants can manage and reduce these environmental impacts. NABERS is designed to provide people with a simple indication of how well they are managing these environmental impacts compared with their peers and neighbours.

These environmental indicators and the associated measurement techniques have been the subject of extensive research and deliberation, drawing on international and local expertise.

How does NABERS relate to other environmental ratings?

NABERS is an environmental rating for office buildings and homes. It complements and builds on other environmental rating schemes available for buildings.

Today, NABERS for offices incorporates NABERS Energy (previously known as the industry standard Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (ABGR) scheme for energy and greenhouse efficiency), NABERS Water, NABERS Waste and NABERS Indoor Environment. These ratings are designed is a similar way to ABGR. Other components of NABERS will be designed with a similar purpose.

Green Star - Office ratings, developed by the Green Building Council of Australia, are designed to assess the environmental potential of office buildings. These ratings establish how the premises will perform under ideal circumstances based on design information and management processes. The actual operational performance data established by NABERS ratings will complement Green Star ratings, establishing a valuable feedback loop to building designers, developers, tenants and owners.

BASIX is a web-based planning tool designed to assess the water and energy efficiency of new residential developments at the design stage, developed by the NSW Department of Planning. NatHERS and AccuRate are simulation packages used to assess the potential energy performance of the fabric of a house, based on the layout and materials used.

If building a new home, a BASIX Certificate with development approval will need to be submitted. One of the ways to complete the Thermal Comfort section of the BASIX tool is to use a building thermal performance assessment e.g. NatHERS simulation package, supplied by a NABERS Accredited Assessor.

What does NABERS do? NABERS has been developed to:

  • Rate the environmental performance of operational buildings and homes
  • Provide separate ratings for the different stakeholders within a building (such as landlords and tenants) where appropriate
  • Provide an explicit and consistent rating system methodology, with a clear performance-based structure and methodologies and defaults where necessary
  • Provide a realistic rating scale that recognises and rewards current performance levels, and encourages and promotes best practice
  • Allow for voluntary self-assessment, with the option of seeking a certified rating from an accredited provider if desired
  • Use measured quantities as the primary means of assessment. Where measurement is not feasible, then practice-based or default scores may be acceptable in some categories
  • Contain appropriate adjustments for factors such as climate and occupancy patterns

Information reproduced with the permission of NABERS.

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