Building Sustainability Ratings

Strata managers need to be familiar with language of environmental sustainability, and this includes knowing about best practice and the measures of it. NABERS The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) – is a national initiative administered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and applies to existing buildings. This initiative rates a building’s environmental performance and can be applied to residential and commercial buildings. It measures four key areas:

  • Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Water consumption
  • Waste
  • Indoor environment
Once the building’s environmental performance has been measured it provides a benchmark and assists with setting targets. Plus, it has the advantage of providing information about the building that may be useful when it comes to marketing the property for sale, promoting environmental credentials of a business and encouraging better environmental performance. Strata managers who manage commercial properties should be aware that from 1 November 2011 the Commercial Building Disclosure scheme (CBD scheme) requires a full Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) to be disclosed and this must be publicly accessible on the Building Efficiency Register. Green Star Ratings Complementing NABERS is the Green Star ratings system which was developed by the Green Building Council of Australia. It is a national, voluntary environmental rating system. It was initially applied to new commercial buildings but since then has been expanded, albeit using slightly different tools, to multi-unit residential dwellings. For commercial there are three ratings categories 4 star, which is the benchmark, 5 star, which is Australian excellence and 6 star, which is world leadership. The Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool aims to give property developers and building owners an incentive to design and construct high-performance green residential developments. Many owners corporations are retrofitting existing residential buildings to make them more environmentally sustainable. While there is no current green star rating system NABERS could easily be applied. Useful links www.nabers.com.au www.cbd.gov.au www.gbca.org.au

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