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Australia leads the world in building energy efficiency

Posted by /// 07.10.14 /// Tags: No Tags

Australia leads the world in Energy Efficiency. And it’s not just us saying it. The latest international Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) shows it clearly.  This might sound like a surprise – Swedes in particular might not have considered themselves to be lagging behind Australia in this regard. However, we have a pretty powerful tool in our back pocket – the NABERS scheme, and the power given to it by the mandatory disclosure law.

This power is clearly demonstrated in a typically NABERS fashion – empirically – in this presentation. But NABERS is a pretty straightforward tool right? A well normalised performance-based rating tool for the operational performance of a building with respect to greenhouse gas emissions (and water, waste and indoor environment)? Well… yes and no.

In principle it is relatively straightforward, albeit an incredible amount of work has been put into it and around it to arrive at the level of reliability and relevance it currently demonstrates. In addition, it has been given significant weight through the mandatory disclosure laws that require the rating to be published for any lease or sale of office buildings >= 2000sqm.

How does it compare with what else is out there? Very importantly, it is normalised. Just using energy density or watts per square metre is fine if all the usage of the space is the same, but really you want to rate a building, not a particular tenant in a building. So by normalising for occupancy density and hours of operation you develop a rating that a new tenant can hope to achieve from a building with highly variable usage. This makes NABERS both a powerful and practically useful tool.

So the scheme is great, but how does that set Australia apart? Well, it turns out no other country (except New Zealand, who imported it from us!) uses this tool. None are as expertly engineered, administered, or legislated.

So Australia is leading the way, and our building stock has improved dramatically as a result – as can be seen from the presentation.

As professionals and sustainability advocates in Australia, we thank everyone involved in bringing the great scheme to where it is, and encourage all to continue the great work!

Our joint mission (among many) is to spread the news far and wide and aim for global adoption of this amazing framework. And we‘re starting with you California!

Danny Bishop & PC Thomas

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