NABERS for Apartments

In 2016, a significant study was conducted to shed light on the energy and water usage in the common areas of apartment buildings across Australia. This initiative aimed to understand the resource consumption patterns in these shared spaces and revealed insightful data about the operational efficiencies of residential complexes.

Key learnings from the study

The study revealed that apartment building common areas significantly impact overall resource consumption, with energy use ranging from 27% to 46% and water use between 18% to 35% (varies depending building’s height and location). The research also highlighted a lack of consistent metering, especially for water, where sub-metering is often absent.

The insights from this study have guided significant policy and planning decisions, including the development of the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings + Addendum (2019) and the National Framework for Disclosure of Residential Energy Efficiency Information (2021).

These initiatives are part of a concerted effort by state, territory, and Commonwealth Energy Ministers to steer the residential sector towards a future of net zero buildings. Furthermore, the Residential Energy Efficiency Disclosure Initiative ( currently in development) will play a crucial role in enabling the disclosure of energy efficiency information, marking a critical step towards transparency and sustainability.

NABERS: Leading the Way in Sustainable Building Practices

The National Australian Built Environment Ratings System (NABERS) is a robust framework designed to assess and improve the environmental performance of Australian buildings.

Unlike other schemes, NABERS stands out for its focus on actual, metered performance. It offers a cost-effective and reliable benchmarking tool for buildings. This system allows for the direct comparison of buildings, making it a valuable tool for property owners and managers looking to reduce their environmental footprint and operational costs.

The last two decades have seen transformative achievements in sustainability and efficiency through NABERS. A striking $1 billion has been conserved in energy bills throughout the program’s duration. In terms of environmental impact, an impressive 7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved. This amount is equivalent to the energy needed to power 93,430 homes annually.

Water conservation has also been a notable success, with 6 billion litres of water saved. The NABERS system has rated 78% of Australia’s office spaces. Furthermore, offices engaging with NABERS for environmental performance have seen substantial improvements, including an average 11.5% reduction in emissions and a 9% boost in water efficiency. This saves 257,000 tonnes of CO2 and 1,100 megalitres of water annually. Financially, this focus on sustainability has remained strong, as NABERS-rated buildings have recorded over $400 million in saved energy bills since 2010.

NABERS for apartment buildings

NABERS offers specific tools for apartment buildings to measure and improve their energy and water efficiency, waste management (and soon to come achieve Carbon Neutral Certification).

These tools provide valuable metrics such as energy intensity, water intensity, waste intensity, and the renewable energy indicator, which are crucial for understanding and improving a building’s environmental performance.

Securing a NABERS rating for apartment buildings carries many advantages, encompassing financial savings, environmental stewardship, and asset enhancement. It can lead to significant cost savings by reducing energy and water bills, thus easing the financial burden on residents and owners. Moreover, a NABERS rating can inform the building’s 10-year capital asset plan, potentially augmenting its market value by showcasing a commitment to sustainability. Additionally, it serves as a proactive step towards minimising the environmental footprint of the building, contributing positively to the wider community’s ecological health and resilience.

The average cost savings when an apartment increases its NABERS energy rating from 3 stars to 5 stars is $104,420. The average cost savings is approx $27,580 when an apartment improves its NABERS water rating from 3 stars to 5 stars.

Grants and funding available

NABERS facilitates access to grants and funding to encourage buildings to undertake their first two ratings. The Energy Saver Scheme further incentivises improvements in energy efficiency through financial incentives, highlighting the tangible benefits of engaging with the NABERS framework.

Energy & Water Starters

The NSW Government is offering initiatives to enhance the sustainability of buildings across the state through the Energy and Water Starters offer. This program incentivises building owners and managers in NSW to obtain their first-ever NABERS Energy and Water ratings, by providing a financial incentives, totalling up to $4,500. The offer is structured as follows:

Energy Starters: A $3,000 contribution towards the costs of obtaining the first and second year’s NABERS Energy ratings and developing an action plan to improve energy performance.

Water Starters: A contribution of $1,000 to cover the first and second year’s NABERS Water ratings and create a water efficiency action plan.

Regional Booster: An additional incentive of $500 is available for buildings outside the Sydney Metropolitan area, Newcastle, and Wollongong. This incentive recognises the unique challenges regional buildings face in accessing sustainability resources.

Round 4 of grants are open until 30 June 2024 so you need to be quick to get in an application.

For more information on these grants visit

New Buildings offer

To support building developments across NSW commit to high energy performance using NABERS. This offer provides $8,045 to waive the NABERS Commitment Agreement fee for new buildings committing to energy performance targets beyond those required by the building code.

To find out more, please email us at

Read more

Step 1 of 2

  • Give us a compliment

  • Your suggestion


Step 1 of 2

  • Your complaint

Translate »