Sustainability in Apartment Living

Sustainability Programs for Strata Buildings

NABERS For Apartments

NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) is a government program that provides operational performance ratings for buildings. NABERS has been in use for commercial buildings for more than a decade and in that time 72% of Australia’s office space has been rated with NABERS Energy. Together, those buildings are saving 383,300t of carbon dioxide every year.

NABERS for Apartments is currently in a pilot phase. The program will measure energy efficiency, water usage, and waste management of an apartment building’s common areas and compare it with other apartment buildings.

Building information, such as utility bills, is verified and assessed then converted into a performance rating from one to six stars. A six-star rating is the highest and represents market-leading performance. A one-star rating demonstrates a considerable opportunity for improvement.

If you are a large building, have common air-conditioning, separate water meters, and are happy to be used in a public case study then let us know immediately if you wish to be nominated in the pilot scheme.

Free ratings in 2020/21

This year NABERS is providing financial relief to sectors heavily affected by COVID-19. As such, they are waiving the NABERS fee for ratings lodged between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021. The following ratings are available NABERS fee-free to all apartment buildings:

Energy: FREE, normally $1,219
Water: FREE, normally $1,219

The NABERS fee waiver will automatically be applied when an Assessor lodges a rating. Find out more about pricing and the conditions of the offer here. Please note the Assessor fee will still be applicable and will vary depending on the size of your building and complexity of the metering.

Other Sustainability Programs

Residential Sustainability Plan

The City of Sydney’s Residential Sustainability Plan focuses on greenhouse emissions, water consumption and waste diversion with an aim to achieve better environmental performance within the residential apartment community.

As an owner or resident of the City of Sydney, you may have participated in a UTS online survey aimed at analysing respondents’ environmental values and expectations. Unsurprisingly, most respondents felt it was important to look at what might be done to improve each building’s footprint. It was useful to note that “the environmental impact” hardly rated in the purchase decision.

Smart Green Apartments Program

The Smart Green Apartments Program was a program run in 2016/17 by the City of Sydney that aimed to help make buildings more energy and water-efficient. It assisted 50 buildings to achieve an energy saving of around 30% and an annual energy cost saving of around 35% – an average of $57,000 in savings for each building, each year. In each case, the monetary expectations from the upgrade work were achieved proving that well-performing, efficient buildings cost less money to run.

How to implement sustainable retrofits

If you do not live in the City of Sydney, or have not had the opportunity to partake in any of their environmental programs, and you wish to identify what you can do for your apartment building, the City Futures Research Centre has created a very user-friendly site on “How to implement sustainable retrofits”.  It is a free guide for strata residents and owners in NSW, that provides invaluable information on how to approach environmental efficiency, such as energy, water, facilities & services.  In addition to step-by-step information, the service provides an instructional video, case studies, lists of rebates and incentives, resources, and contacts.


For any queries please email, or ask your accredited Strata Plus strata manager.

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