Ratings tool to help energy and water efficiency in apartments

NABERS for Apartments arrives in Perth

The Pocket in Claremont becomes 1st WA apartment building to secure NABERS rating

NABERS for Apartment Buildings, the rating tool which aims to transform the apartment market in the same way that NABERS Energy for Offices helped transform Australia’s commercial building sector, has delivered its first rating on a WA apartment building.

The Pocket, an eight-storey, 95-apartment Claremont project designed by Cameron Chisholm and Nichol and built in 2016 by Georgiou, achieved a 5-star NABERS Water rating and a 3-star NABERS Energy rating. 

The Assessment was managed by Colliers International’s Associate Director, Sustainability Patrick Jeannerat, who is also a NABERS accredited assessor.

NABERS for Apartment Buildings rates the energy and water efficiency of common property in apartment buildings and reveals energy and water expenses in facilities such as central air conditioning, carparks, lobbies and the building’s recreational areas, which are paid by apartment owners in their quarterly strata levies.

Because these expenses are not directly metered and billed to the individual residents, the energy and water used in common property in an apartment building is often hidden.

Mr Jeannerat said The Pocket’s energy and water efficient infrastructure was an exemplary showcase of affordable living on minimal energy and water costs, however, the NABERS rating’s assessment criteria also revealed opportunities to minimise unnoticed wastage. 

“In particular, the building’s metering system was identified as deserving more attention, especially with regard to individual apartment sub-metering for central building services like air conditioning, domestic hot water plants, electrical vehicle recharge facilities and solar PV systems,” he said. 

“The Pocket has a highly efficient central domestic hot water system that is helping each apartment save hundreds of dollars each year. The energy cost for all heated water is paid by the common account and residents pay on a pro-rata basis through their strata levies.

“Due to the absence of electrical sub-metering for the central hot water system, an estimated 40 to 50 per cent of the common facilities’ energy use, could not be excluded from the performance calculation to allow for a level-playing field comparison with other apartment buildings that don’t operate a central domestic hot water system. Taken this way, the 3-star Energy rating is actually a very good outcome.”

Mr Jeannerat said he was still awaiting a new release of NABERS for Apartment Buildings that would allow a more accurate comparison of buildings with less common hot water solutions.

“For the release of the first version there hadn’t been sufficient case studies like The Pocket to develop benchmarks for buildings with central hot water systems, however, as more ratings are completed, NABERS will be able to refine the tool to better account for these cases.” 

As it gains momentum, Mr Jeannerat said NABERS for Apartment Buildings would drive significant energy and water savings and help apartment buildings reduce their utility bills.

“NABERS ratings also reveal new opportunities to save money, clarify accountabilities and recognise best practice operational control, all things that important to a council of owners in strata buildings,” he said.

According to NABERS, Australia’s leading building performance rating system, long-term NABERS users in the office market have reduced energy emissions by around 40 per cent and on average, NABERS rated buildings have saved nearly half a billion dollars in energy bills since 2010.

Acting Project Leader at NABERS for Apartment Buildings Supratik Ghosh said there had been a 78 per cent increase in the number of people living in apartments in Australia in the past 25 years and apartment buildings generated about 10 per cent of the carbon emissions and used 18 per cent of the water in the built environment.

“Apartments are one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia’s built environment and if we are going to curb emissions, we need to include apartment buildings,” Mr Ghosh said. 

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Patrick Jeannerat

Patrick Jeannerat

Associate Director | Sustainability
Occupier Services

+61 8 9261 6650
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