What is NABERS?

August 09, 2017 0 Comment

NABERS (that's the National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme for those who are unfamiliar) is a national industry standard system that's becoming increasingly popular in the commercial building market. 

In this blog post we'll take a look at what exactly NABERS is, when a NABERS rating is required, and what is involved in getting a NABERS rating.


NABERS In A Nutshell

NABERS gives us a way to measure the environmental performance of buildings in Australia.


It's nationally recognised, and an industry standard benchmarking method.


Buildings are rated between 0 and 6 stars, and the rating is valid for 12 months.


NABERS star rating scale.jpg



The NABERS system provides four separate NABERS rating types or 'tools' to measure key aspects of buildings.


The four environmental NABERS tools are:

  • NABERS Energy Rating 
  • NABERS Water Rating
  • NABERS Indoor Environment Rating
  • NABERS Waste Rating


A building may be rated using one or more of the four tools. The applicable ratings for each building type are summarised below.





NABERS Explained

The NABERS team has even produced a short video entitled "NABERS Explained" that explains what NABERS is and how it works.   


What Do The Star Ratings Mean?

The NABERS rating scale for Energy, Water and Indoor Environment categories is between 0 and 6 Stars:


NABERS Rating Building Performance

6 Stars

Market Leading

5 Stars


4 Stars


3 Stars


2 Stars

Below Average

1 Star


0 Stars

Very Poor


The NABERS rating scale for Waste (applicable to offices only) can be between 0 and 5 Stars:

NABERS Rating Building Performance

5 Stars

Market Leading

4 Stars


3 Stars


2.5 Stars


2 Stars

Below Average

1 Star


0 Stars

Very Poor


When Is A NABERS Rating Required?

NABERS is a voluntary scheme, however some initiatives by Australian Government have made NABERS ratings a requirement in some cases.


Your building may or may not require a NABERS rating in one of the four categories of Energy, Water, Indoor Environment or Waste.


The scores are used to showcase a building's energy performance, so some building owners and/or tenants may choose to get a NABERS  rating to measure their performance.


A NABERS rating may be required under the following conditions:

  • You wish to advertise or promote your NABERS star rating
  • A commercial building is for sale, lease or sub-lease (NABERS Energy Rating is required)


The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program requires any buildings with a net lettable area of over 2000 square meters (or 1000 square meters from July 1, 2017) which are undergoing a sale or lease transaction to have a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC).



A BEEC is made up of a NABERS Energy Rating and a Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA).


The 3 Different Types of NABERS Ratings for Offices


For Offices, NABERS assessments may be performed in three different ways:


1. Base Building Rating

Rates the performance of common areas of the building such as lobbies, corridors and stairwells, and should include centralised plant.


2. Tenancy Rating

Only rates the energy and resources that the individual tenancy uses.


3. Whole Building Rating

This rating takes into account the combined performance of the base building along with all tenanted areas.


How To Get A NABERS Rating

There are two types of NABERS ratings:

  • Official NABERS rating
  • Self-assement NABERS rating (NABERS estimate)


Advertising, Promoting or Publishing Your NABERS Rating


If you wish to promote, publish or advertise your NABERS rating, you must get an official NABERS rating.


Official NABERS ratings must be performed by accredited assessors who are familiar with the NABERS methodology.


Self-Assessing Your NABERS Rating


Some end users only wish to use their NABERS rating as a benchmark of their current performance.


In these cases, an accredited assessor may not be required, however the resulting NABERS rating should only be used as an estimate.


Self assessment tools to estimate a building's NABERS rating are available on the NABERS website.


What Are The Benefits of Getting A NABERS Rating?

  • Nationally recognised as best-practice industry standard in Australia
  • As a marketing tool to attract new tenants or prospective buyers
  • To measure and/or track your building or tenancy's performance
  • Compare your performance to others
  • To comply with the Comercial Building Disclosure program


What Information is Required To Get A NABERS Rating?

A site inspection is essential for completing a NABERS assessment.


An accredited assessor will attend your site to inspect the building's metering arrangements, layout and major equipment.


For a typical commercial office building, your assesor will also need to have information about the energy consumption and waste produced by the site.


Be sure to have on hand the most recent 12 months of:

  • Electricity bills for the building
  • Tenant electricity summaries
  • After-hours air conditioning records
  • Water billing
  • All diesel fuel delivery dockets
  • Waste summaries or agreements
  • Fitout periods for tenants


You may also need to provide:

  • Lease extracts, showing lease area, leasing period, normal business hours, NLA survey plans of all tenants



NABERS is a voluntary program that allows buildings to be rated based on their environmental performance by a star rating system of 0 to 6 stars.


There are four tool rating systems available - NABERS Energy rating, NABERS Water rating, NABERS Waste rating, and NABERS Indoor Environment rating.


NABERS Energy ratings are often required for commercial buildings under the CBD Program.


If an official NABERS rating is required, then a NABERS accredited assessor must carry out a site inspection and assessment using building energy and waste consumption information.