As of November 1, 2010, the Australian Government’s commercial building disclosure scheme commenced. The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Scheme requires owners of commercial buildings to disclose energy efficiency information about their buildings whenever areas of greater than 2000m2 are sold, leased or subleased. The Federal Government has implemented this scheme as part of its National Energy Efficiency Strategy, a strategy to encourage the greater Australian public to use and deploy more energy efficient measures in homes and offices, and in turn contribute to the reduction of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

There is no avoiding the NABERS scheme. Enforcement of the scheme is based on Commonwealth legislation and there are significant financial penalties for non-compliance. However, we at ecovantage are positive that there is a great opportunity for building owners to take advantage of the new regulations.  By taking a proactive approach now, businesses can implement energy efficiency improvements and gain improved ratings 12 months after completion.

This legislation gives building owners the opportunity to identify which buildings are performing efficiently and where there are opportunities for improvement. With increasing energy costs, improving the energy-efficiency of buildings is the most cost-effective form of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The NABERS energy rating, benchmarks a building’s greenhouse impact on a scale of zero to five stars- zero stars being the most polluting while five being best performance. The rating reflects the building’s performance in terms of kilograms of carbon emissions per metre squared (kg CO2- e/m2).

At the time of re-sale or re-lease, some building owners have been disappointed by a low star property rating and must simply hope that there is no correlation between a low rating and low value. It as has been proven in the case of housing in the ACT, that they are linked meaning tha tsome appropriate investment in improving the star rating will later translate into higher returns.

Seamus Balkin, our fully accredited NABERS assessor at ecovantage is currently working with commercial real estate firms to help owners satisfy their obligations and improve the performance of their buildings at the same time. ecovantage recently received recognition in the Citipower Port Phillip Business Excellence Awards in the category of Environmental Sustainability – Products and services. The award acknowledges ecovantage’s ongoing commitment to providing cost-effective sustainability solutions. ecovantage understands that there are often financially affordable actions that can immediately be effective and that these actions should be implemented as easily and transparently as possible.

We are currently working with commercial real estate agents, building owners and businesses to assist in making the most of this legislation. ecovantage’s service not only provides an accredited NABERS rating but a series of recommendations aimed to reduce energy use and improve ratings. We also assist clients in accessing government grants and initiatives and developing ongoing environmental strategies.

We see this legislation as an opportunity to not only improve the environmental performance of commercial buildings but to save money on long term operating costs. Purchasers and tenants alike are becoming aware of the increasing costs of energy.  Contact us today to make the most of these new regulations.