Three ambitious new projects that could dramatically reduce energy and water consumption in office and apartment blocks across Australia have been launched by NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton. Office tenants, apartment dwellers and small businesses all get ways to live in more energy efficient buildings under the new projects, Ms Upton said.

“It’s significant that I can mark World Environment Day by launching three NABERS projects that aim to reduce energy, water and waste consumption in buildings across the country. “In addition, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of NABERS, a world leading building rating program developed and administered by the NSW Government,” Ms Upton said.

In her opening address to the sustainable building industry at the NABERS + CBD Conference held in Sydney today, Minister Upton launched three new products: NABERS for Apartment Buildings, NABERS Co-assess and NABERS Waste. “The success of the NABERS program nationally over the past 20 years has been astounding and marked it as an undeniable world leader in sustainability especially in urban environments,” Ms Upton said.

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“NABERS rated buildings have saved more than $350 million in energy bills since 2010 and save more than 1.6 billion litres of water a year. “The three new products will extend our community’s ability to further reduce consumption and waste,” Ms Upton said. “NABERS for Apartment Buildings is Australia’s first energy and water certification scheme for high-density residential buildings. “NABERS Co-assess is an engagement program that allows the NABERS program to reach thousands of small and medium-sized businesses. “NABERS Waste will be one of the Government’s most ambitious sustainability projects providing a new technologically-advanced certification scheme.

“Buildings of all sizes are major consumers of resources and generators of waste. Tackling these issues is important to all of us. “NABERS has addressed these big issues on a grand scale and in twenty years it has become a model internationally on how to reduce a building’s energy and water consumption and decrease waste sent to landfill.

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“Importantly, this grew as an NSW initiative and has now been adopted nationally. I think we all have something to be proud of today knowing that it has achieved so much for our environment and provided a model that we fully expect will be adopted internationally,” Ms Upton said.

NABERS for Apartment Buildings is the first sustainability certification scheme for high-density apartment buildings in Australia. It measures and scores the energy used in the building’s common property areas – like carparks, gyms and lobbies – which can account for 60% of its total energy use. It also rates the water efficiency of these common areas.

The NABERS Co-Assess Application makes it easier and cheaper for office tenants to rate their workspaces with NABERS Energy by tapping into information already collected for the building’s central services, like lifts, lobby lighting, and heating and cooling systems. Tenants can use up to 50% of a building’s energy so it is a major market for further energy efficiency gains in NSW and nationally.

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The new NABERS Waste Platform is an online system that helps commercial building managers to monitor and manage their waste data in real-time. Building managers can also use the platform to get a NABERS Waste Rating, making it easier to get a Rating than ever before.

NABERS is a national program encompassing all states and territories as well as the Commonwealth and administered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage which aims to reduce energy, water and waste consumption in buildings across the country. Over the past two decades, this program has been so far reaching that today 81% of all office space in Australia has a NABERS Energy rating that provides a true measure of energy consumption, providing a target for constant improvement.