Energy ratings: what you need to know

A first step towards going renewable is an official assessment of your premises. We explain the ratings systems.

Getting your building rated by an energy ratings scheme is a smart idea: it’s the best way to understand the environmental impact of your business and it helps demonstrate to your customers and the public that you take sustainability seriously.

If you receive a low rating, don’t panic. There are usually steps you can take immediately to improve your score, such as signing up for GreenPower. Showing your customers you’ve taken action can benefit your reputation.

Green Star and NABERS

The two most popular energy ratings schemes in Australia measure different things:

  • Green Star assesses your office fit-out. Buildings receive points for design features such as lighting sensors, energy-efficient lighting, window coverings and high-efficiency climate control. The Green Star system is useful when an office is being designed to achieve an energy-efficient outcome.

  • NABERS(National Australian Built Environment Rating System) measures a building’s ongoing operational energy efficiency. It provides a rating from one-to-six stars through assessing factors such as energy and water consumption, waste management and indoor environment quality. NABERS is a great way to measure and improve the efficiency of premises that were not necessarily designed with sustainability in mind.

Other ratings schemes

Alongside the two main schemes, some businesses opt for these alternative ratings:

  • EarthCheck is an internationally recognised certification system used primarily by the travel and tourism industry.

  • National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) for buildings is the federal government’s certification process for declaring a building carbon-neutral.

How GreenPower can affect your NABERS rating

One of the simplest ways to improve your NABERS rating is to sign up for GreenPower, the scheme through which Australian electricity customers can buy renewable energy from retailers. In some instances, it’s possible to move from a one-star rating to a six-star rating simply by signing up for GreenPower.

NABERS for apartment buildings

Getting the common areas of your apartment building rated is a great way to identify inefficiencies and reduce common energy costs.

How ratings systems can benefit you financially

Signing up for a ratings scheme gives businesses accurate information about their energy efficiency and provides a compelling incentive to make improvements. But there are also reputational benefits: businesses that display ratings demonstrate their environmental credentials, which can improve customer and employee sentiment. If you’re a landlord, ensuring your building has a good Green Star or NABERS rating can allow you to charge a premium to tenants.

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