Knowing Everything About Obtaining a NABERS Rating for a Project

The Australian government has introduced the NABERS Rating and many other systems like GRESB, Green Star, and BASIX to encourage and reward building owners to cut carbon emissions and contribute to sustainable living. 

With the built environment contributing significantly to climate change by producing 30% to 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, it’s targeted by the Australian government body. 

NABERS Rating, or National Australian Built Environment Rating System, is established to help building owners measure the environmental performance of dwellings and their impact on the surrounding environment. 

Keep reading to learn everything vital about obtaining a NABERS rating for your project, from what it is to how it’s assessed and its cost. 

The NABERS Rating Explained

NABERS is introduced to provide a simple, comparable, and reliable sustainability measurement across building sectors, from hotels and shopping centres to offices and apartments. 

By helping building owners accurately measure, understand, and communicate the dwellings’ environmental performance, the NABERS Rating system identifies areas for future improvements and cost savings. 

In addition, this star rating system reports to help building owners save an average of 30% to 40% on their energy. 

Started in 1998 in Australia, the NABERS program also provides all vital competitive factors. How so? 

It provides an effective building benchmarking tool, enabling building owners to offer potential tenants or occupiers independent comparisons to the sustainability performance of other similar dwellings. 

What is the NABERS Rating?

NABERS was established to help building owners measure energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water usage, waste management of their dwellings, and environmental impact. 

Like the efficiency star rating with a new air conditioner, washing machine, or refrigerator, NABERS provides a 6-star rating for building efficiency across four vital areas. 

The NABERS Rating can help building owners understand their dwelling’s environmental performance compared to similar dwellings. 

Moreover, this rating system provides a benchmark for progress and pinpoint areas for improvements and savings. 

These star ratings are valid for 12 months, with the annual model ratings representing a building’s current operational performance.

What are the Different Types of NABERS Ratings For Offices?

NABERS provides the following types of ratings to assess a building’s environmental performance:

  • NABERS Energy: This metric assesses the building’s energy efficiency and impact on greenhouse gas emissions. NABERS water rating can aid in identifying the dwelling’s energy consumption patterns, benchmarking against similar dwellings, and identifying opportunities to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint. It further leads to operational savings and environmental advantages.
  • NABERS Water: This rating measures the water usage within a dwelling, focusing on management and conservation practices. It aids building owners in identifying how much water their building consumes and the areas where water usage can be reduced. 
  • NABERS Waste: It evaluates waste management and reduction practices being followed by a building, aiming to improve recycling rates and reduce waste disposal in landfills. NABERS Waste rating encourages dwelling owners to adopt sustainable waste management practices, minimising environmental impact and promoting a circular economy.
  • NABERS Indoor Environment: This rating reviews the quality of a building’s indoor environment, focusing on air quality, humidity, lighting, and temperature. Measuring NABERS Indoor Environment rating is vital for occupant comfort and health as it can impact productivity and well-being. 

How is NABERS Assessed?

NABERS creates a star rating based on the building’s actual operational performance over 12 months. 

An accredited assessor assesses the NABERS rating by collecting the real-world building’s performance information. This data includes the building’s utility and water bills, size, hours and density of occupation, and climate location. 

The assessor then converts this data into an easily understandable star rating. NABERS Rating system involves rating a building from one (worst) to six (best) stars. 

On the one hand, a six-star rated dwelling demonstrates industry-leading performance. A one-star rating, on the other hand, means the building demonstrates poor environmental performance and has considerable room for improvement. 

When is NABERS required, and What are Its Requirements?

NABERS energy rating system is required for all newly constructed buildings covering over 2000 square metres of area and buildings that are up for lease or sale. 

This star-rating system helps dwellings achieve sustainability goals by measuring their energy usage, waste management practices, water usage, and indoor air quality. 

Moreover, it highlights the possible improvements new and existing buildings can make to reach sustainable energy usage goals.

However, if you want to measure the environmental performance of a residential building constructed in NSW, obtaining a BASIX Report is advisable. 

BASIX, or Building Sustainability Index, is introduced to accommodate NSW (New South Wales) with more resilient buildings by reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. 

How is the NABERS Rating Calculated?

Here are the steps involved in calculating the building’s NABERS rating:

  1. Data collection: The first step is collecting detailed information about the building’s energy usage, waste production, water consumption, and indoor environmental conditions over the past year.
  2. Normalisation: To ensure fairness, accuracy, and comparison with similar buildings, the NABERS assessor accounts for factors that can influence a dwelling’s performance but are beyond control, like hours of operation, occupancy levels, and climate variations. 
  3. Benchmarking: The normalised data is compared against the benchmark that represents the performance of similar dwellings.
  4. Rating scale: NABERS is a six-star rating system, with a one-star rating indicating poor performance and a six-star rating indicating industry-leading performance.

What are Costing and Time Commitments for NABERS?

Now that the process of conducting the NABERS assessment is quite thorough and can vary based on building projects, the cost of this assessment can also differ exponentially. 

Depending on the project’s size and complexity, contacting a NABERS-certified assessor is recommended for a quote. However, conducting a NABERS assessment can typically range between $2000 and $7000. 

The time it can take to conduct a NABERS assessment and obtain a rating depends on multiple factors, such as the building’s size, complexity, and location. However, a NABERS assessment can typically take five to ten business days. 


Buildings’ environmental performance measuring tools like NABERS, NatHERS, Green Star, or BASIX Report aim to create a sustainable built environment that contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable living. 

In addition, obtaining an accurate NABERS rating is key to increasing property valuation, saving costs, improving tenant satisfaction and retention, and increasing marketability. 


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