Welcome letter from Carlos Flores
NABERS is Australia’s largest sustainability initiative for buildings, but many of the organisations we work with don’t actually think of themselves as part of the built environment.
Hotel operators often refer to their industry as part of the ‘hospitality’ sector, hospital operators think of themselves as part of ‘healthcare’, and school principals work in the ‘education’ sector. The same can be said of most sectors NABERS is in, each with their own set of unique challenges and opportunities on the path towards decarbonisation and greater sustainability. Understanding these unique circumstances is key to helping every sector of the economy become more sustainable.
That said, one thing we don’t talk about enough is what these sectors share in common when it comes to sustainability. The equipment that uses energy and produces carbon emissions in these diverse group of buildings is essentially the same: it is air conditioning, heating, lifts, lighting and other standard equipment. The same can be said for water usage and circular economy challenges in buildings, many of which have less to do with the building and more to do with how to help people behave more sustainably.
Because of this, different building sectors can learn much from each other, and a breakthrough in one can pave the way for faster change in the other.
At NABERS, we have seen the office sector make huge leaps forward in sustainability for over 25 years now. But in this year’s Annual Report, we wanted to showcase how other sectors are beginning to make their own major leaps forward. In fact, this year’s report includes a special on shopping centres, a sector that has experienced an energy efficiency and decarbonisation revolution in the past 10 years.
And while we are making meaningful progress in some sectors of the built environment, the decarbonisation challenge is urgent. It demands action on an unprecedented scale and from every sector, even those which have make a lot of progress to date.
The joint achievements of our program and stakeholders this year was delivered against this theme of ‘urgent and unprecedented’. In the past 12 months, we rolled out new NABERS rating tools for warehouses and cold stores, and we prepared for the upcoming launch of NABERS for schools and retail stores. We launched the Renewable Energy Indicator to support the industry's shift towards all-electric buildings. We delivered an online platform that streamlines the rating process for NABERS Assessors. And we continued to lay the groundwork for an embodied carbon standard with industry-wide consultation and collaboration.
We have also continued to see sustainability action broaden beyond just energy and carbon, with 23% more buildings certifying under NABERS Indoor Environment this year, as well as 35% more buildings certifying under NABERS Waste.
These are the collective achievements of tens of thousands of individual sustainability champions in organisations across the Australian economy. They are also a great example of what is possible when government and industry work together to make a more sustainable future possible.
At NABERS, we feel fortunate for the opportunity to be able to work with many people who are spending much of their careers trying to make a difference for the planet. We are walking a narrow path to net zero, but I am confident we can walk it together, building a country where nature and the economy can both thrive.
Welcome Letter from the Government Chair, Clare McLaughlin
As the new Government Chair of the NABERS National Steering Committee, I want to acknowledge what an exciting time it is to be working in this area in Government. All Australian governments have targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. By working with and investing in programs such as NABERS, we are on the way to achieving this goal.
The Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings brings together all Australian governments to deliver cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to homes and commercial buildings. Energy and Climate Change Ministers have recently agreed to update the Trajectory to reflect achieving low energy, net zero emissions in residential and commercial buildings by 2050. This update will build on the current commitments in support of NABERS energy ratings, including embracing the need for action on embodied carbon.
The Australian Government’s National Energy Performance Strategy will also be released later this year, recognising the significant role that the built environment must play to rapidly reduce Australia’s emissions, which includes improving the energy performance of existing and new building stock.
The Australian Government's Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program continues to be a key driver of improvement in energy performance and reduce emissions, and an excellent example of the important initiatives which are founded on NABERS ratings. This financial year has seen more than 1,800 Building Energy Efficiency Certificates issued using NABERS Energy for Offices ratings.
I look forward to working with the members of the NABERS National Steering Committee and the wider NABERS community to increase the impact of NABERS going forward.
Welcome letter from Nicholas Burt, Stakeholder Chair
The 2023 financial year has been marked by substantial achievements and progress for the NABERS program, underscoring its significant impact on the sustainability landscape. NABERS, long recognized as a leader in sustainable building assessment, continued to align itself with industry leaders, positioning itself to tackle emerging challenges head-on.
There is a noticeable growing importance of NABERS given the need to address carbon output of buildings. The global imperative to combat carbon emissions from the built environment has elevated NABERS' relevance. This was evident through last year’s on-going work to develop a standard to measure and compare embodied carbon in buildings. This process included a public consultation paper with 10 proposals which were co-designed. NABERS has allowed for a stronger sense of industry engagement, which allows goals to be accomplished while working with various stakeholders in the building industry. This inclusive approach ensures that NABERS' rating tools remain relevant and widely accepted. Through these pathways NABERS has proven its ability to address changing landscapes. NABERS' reputation as a global leader in sustainable building assessment is well-deserved. One of the year's standout achievements was the launch of the Renewable Energy Indicator. This innovation reaffirms NABERS' commitment to promoting renewable energy sources in building operations.
A noteworthy accomplishment is the 26% increase in Office Indoor Environment (IEQ) ratings. Improved indoor environmental quality not only enhances comfort but also aligns with sustainability goals by reducing energy consumption and emissions. NABERS' expansion into new sectors, demonstrates its versatility within the industry and its commitment toconstantly undertake work to develop standards addressing topical issues.
The 2023 Financial Year NABERS Annual Report highlights a year of significant impact and growth, driven by a commitment to sustainability and a proactive response to emerging challenges.