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Easy access to financial support using NABERS

Use your NABERS rating to create Energy Savings Certificates worth thousands of dollars.

If you’re in NSW, did you know that you could likely use your NABERS Energy rating to claim thousands of dollars of Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs)? Regardless of your building type, since March 2020, it has become much easier to access ESCs via the NSW Energy Savings Scheme’s new and improved NABERS baseline method.

For example, when an average NSW office building improves its performance and goes from 4 stars to a 4.5 star Energy rating, it can create Energy Savings Certificates in the range of $18k - $35k over three years by using the NABERS baseline method and forward creation option. Your ESC income could pay for NABERS ratings, assessor fees and kickstart your next energy saving project!

Using the same method, a shopping centre with an Energy rating improvement from 3 to 3.5 stars could earn in the range of $45k - $91k over three years; a hotel with the same ratings increase could create ESCs worth $32k - $65k while an apartment building with a 3 to 3.5 star rise could generate $7k - $14k in certificates.

What is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme?

The NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) exists to reduce energy consumption by incentivising organisations to invest in energy saving projects.

When a business can prove that it has reduced its energy use without reducing production or service levels, it can earn Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs). ESCs have a dollar value because electricity retailers and others buy them to meet regulatory obligations based on electricity sold.

ESCs are the ‘currency’ of the ESS, which is not a rebate scheme. Accredited Certificate Providers (ACPs) are accredited by the regulator IPART and can create, register and sell ESCs for their own company or on behalf of a client.

What is the NABERS baseline method and how has it become easier to use?

The new NABERS baseline method was released in March 2020.  It now provides an easier way to create ESCs based on energy savings that are demonstrated via an improvement of 0.5 star or greater in a building’s NABERS Energy rating.

The new improved method also allows for three years of forward creation of ESCs, so you can access more money for more upgrades more quickly.

ESCs can be generated by any building type for which a NABERS energy rating exists:

  • Offices
  • Shopping Centres
  • Hotels
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Data Centres
  • Public Hospitals

As expansion into new sectors takes place, these will be added to the Rules as quickly as possible. Plans are underway to include Residential Aged Care and Retirement Living.

The NABERS method is just one of a variety of ways ESCs can be created.

What is NABERS doing to support our customers to benefit from the ESS?

We’ll be sharing more case studies and guidance soon. We will also schedule online briefing sessions open to all.

We will brief NABERS assessors on ESC creation and create resources on how to become an Accredited Certificate Provider and use the NABERS baseline method.

What if I want to get going right now?

Visit the ESS site at www.ess.nsw.gov.au to find out more.

Contact an Accredited Certificate Provider (ACP) from this list or consider becoming an ACP yourself.

If you have any questions, please contact us on nabers [at] environment.nsw.gov.au 

Unpacking the examples above

The potential ESC income for different building sectors is based on:

An average (1) NABERS building improving by 0.5 star.

The range of electricity and gas savings required to move by 0.5 star from year 0 to year 1.

Creation using the NABERS baseline method, sub-method 2 which is based on a past rating as a benchmark. The alternative, sub-method 1, is less flexible. This is explained in detail in the NABERS baseline Method Guide available here.

Forward creation where an ESC application is submitted for 3 years’ worth of energy saving at once (deeming)

ESC value of $20 each. This is based on average value ($21) minus the cost of registering an ESC with the regulator ($0.88 factored here as $1). Other than registration, the stated ESC value does not factor in other costs which could include contracting the services of an Accredited Certificate Provider.

(1) Average NABERS building characteristics used for model:

(2) Office – 15000 m2 rated area, 50 hrs/week core hours

(3) Shopping Centre – GLAR 47000 m2, Centrally serviced area 17190 m2, 447 mechanically ventilated car parks, 1648 naturally ventilated car parks, 360 trading days/year, 60 hrs/week, multi storey, 3 cinemas, 474 m2 gym

(4) Hotel – 4-star luxury rating, 265 rooms, 69 rooms with laundry service, 567 function room seats, 40 m2 heated pool

(5) Apartment Building – 177 apartment units, 3 centrally serviced units, 57 condensed water serviced units, 170 lift serviced units, heated pool, gym, 70 naturally ventilated car parks, 113 mechanically ventilated car parks

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Energy