Making the invisible, visible: NABERS for apartment buildings

Making the invisible, visible: NABERS for apartment buildings


Claire Berecry

Organisation of Presenter:

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Australia


Apartment buildings are among the largest energy users in the Australian built environment and are responsible for 10 per cent of the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. Because of the large energy consumption by centralised equipment systems on the common property of high rise apartments (six storeys and above), occupants in these buildings are generally responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than people living in detached houses, low-rise and mid-rise apartments and townhouses.
In CBD locations, the vast majority of people live in apartment buildings, and this is expected to continue with the growing trend towards apartment living across the country. This is particularly relevant for high-rise apartment buildings, which are expected to account for up to 90 per cent of new dwellings by 2030 in the City of Sydney Local Government Area (LGA) (City of Sydney, August 2015, Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan), with similar proportions in other major LGAs.
The apartment sector has major opportunities for improving energy efficiency, but it faces significant barriers to investment in upgrades. Apartment buildings also lack simple metrics to compare and communicate their energy efficiency in operation, a key barrier to action which NABERS has helped address in other sectors of the built environment.
NABERS for apartment buildings has the potential to address these barriers by measuring environmental performance and providing the catalyst to unlock the energy and water efficiency opportunities. NABERS provides a common language for decision makers and gives property owners and industry a shared understanding of environmental performance.