Office building energy rating scheme to add value for tenants and owners

Thursday, 04 April, 2013

Development of an energy measurement and rating scheme that will raise the bar for energy performance in New Zealand office buildings is well underway.

Helping to reduce energy costs for tenants and enhance building value for owners, NABERSNZ will measure and rate the energy performance of New Zealand office buildings.

Based on the successful National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), the scheme will be introduced in New Zealand by EECA Business and delivered by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) in mid-2013.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill says commercial building owners and tenants have shown a lot of interest in the scheme.

“NABERSNZ will be a game changer for the commercial office real-estate market. It will help tenants and owners understand energy performance at a glance,” he said.

“By looking at a NABERSNZ rating, owners and tenants can see how well a building or tenancy is performing and get an indication of likely energy costs.”

NABERSNZ will measure and rate energy performance on a scale of 1 to 6 stars. A 5 star rating is considered market-leading performance, with a typical office building likely to rate between 2.5 and 3 stars.

To achieve a rating, qualified assessors will use 12 months of energy use data and take into account building area, location, computer density and hours of operation to rate performance.

NZGBC Chief Executive Alex Cutler says a tool to benchmark energy performance for office buildings is long awaited.

“This is the most exciting development in commercial green building ratings in New Zealand since the launch of the Green Star tool in 2007,” she said.

“NABERSNZ will enable building owners and tenants to target and share the benefits of improved energy performance.”

She says the scheme is now in a pilot phase, with 11 NABERSNZ assessors trained and working on pilot assessments that represent a cross-section of New Zealand office buildings.

“The pilot phase allows us to rigorously test the NABERSNZ tool to ensure it is technically robust and meets industry needs.

“We are really excited about how the scheme is shaping up. Already our assessors have been approached by tenants and building owners interested in getting a NABERSNZ rating for their buildings, once the program is launched.”

NZGBC and EECA Business have worked with the Energy Management Association of New Zealand and Australian firm Exergy to adapt the Australian scheme to suit New Zealand conditions.

EECA Business Commercial Programme Manager Karen Chaney says there are significant opportunities to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings in New Zealand, which use around $1.7 billion in energy every year (and account for 9 % of national energy use).

“These opportunities are mainly in improved efficiency of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems,” she said.

“Increasingly, tenants and building owners are seeking out premises where these systems are performing efficiently because this means lower operational costs, which is an important consideration in today’s market.

“The key to meeting these needs is through the introduction of a widely recognised energy performance rating that can be easily understood and communicated.

“NABERSNZ will meet these requirements and add value for tenants, building owners and also help New Zealand address the challenge of climate change through reduced energy demand.”

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