Glossary of terms

The following page provides definitions for key industry and NABERS terms and acronyms.

Term Acronym / Short version Description
TermAcronym / Short versionDescription
Accredited Assessor An Accredited Assessor is someone who is trained and accredited to perform NABERS ratings. While they are accredited by OEH, they operate independently and are not employed by OEH.
Acoustic comfort Refers to the acoustic characteristics of a building that impact on its occupants' aural perceptions. Acoustic comfort is measured for NABERS Indoor Environment in order to determine how well a building minimises external noise such as traffic and outdoor noise from the building's indoor environment.
Air speed Is an indicator of thermal comfort and is measured for NABERS Indoor Environment because it provides an indication of ventilation effectiveness of the building's ventilation system.
Alternative energy Energy derived from non-traditional sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, biomass and geothermal as opposed to traditional sources such as oil, gas and coal.
Best practice Best practice is a process, technique, or innovative use of technology, equipment or resources that successfully improves cost, schedule, quality, performance, safety, environment, or other measurable factors which impact an organisation.
Biodegradable Materials that can be broken down by bacteria or other living organisms such as paper, green waste, food waste and animal manure.
Biomass Biomass refers to materials derived from photosynthesis which are not fossilised such as forest and mill residues, agricultural crops and wastes, wood and wood wastes, animal wastes, livestock operation residues, aquatic plants, fast-growing trees and plants, and municipal and industrial wastes.
Building Energy Efficiency CertificateBEECUnder the national Commercial Building Disclosure scheme, most sellers or lessors of office space of 2,000 square metres or over are required to obtain and disclose a BEEC, which includes a NABERS Energy star rating for the building, an assessment of tenancy lighting in the area of the building that is being sold or leased and general energy efficiency guidance.
Carbon dioxideCO2Carbon dioxide is a gas in the Earth's atmosphere. It occurs naturally and is also a by-product of human activities such as burning fossil fuels. It is the principal greenhouse gas produced by human activity. Carbon dioxide, measured for NABERS Indoor Environment as the concentration of carbon dioxide within an office building, provides an indication of the level of ventilation effectiveness.
Carbon footprint A measure of greenhouse gas emissions (expressed in tonnes of CO2 equivalent) emitted by an individual or an organisation in a given period of time.
Carbon monoxideCOAcolourless, odourless, toxic gas that is the product of incomplete combustion. It is measured for NABERS Indoor Environment because it gives an indication of whether air intakes are located in the right position and whether there is adequate ventilation in office areas.
CitySwitch CitySwitch is a national partnership between businesses and local government improve energy efficiency in businesses.
Climate change Climate change is a natural occurrence, however human activity that generates greenhouse gases has accelerated the scale and pace of change.
Cogeneration Generating two forms of energy from the one fuel source.
Commercial Building Disclosure schemeCBDA national program designed to improve the energy efficiency of Australia's office buildings.
Commitment Agreements A Commitment Agreement allows developers and building owners to promote and market excellent greenhouse performance of new and refurbished office buildings from the outset. The Commitment Agreement will state your commitment to design, build and commission the premises to a 4, 4.5, 5, 5,5 or 6 star level.
Ecological footprint The size and environmental impact of the energy, water, waste and resources associated with an individual, business, community or other entity. It is often expressed as the area of land required to produce the resources consumed by a person, entity or activity.
Emissions The release of a substance (usually a gas when referring to the subject of climate change) into the atmosphere.
Energy efficiency Using less energy to perform the same action.
Energy management A program of well-planned actions aimed at reducing energy use, energy costs and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental Management SystemEMSA systemised approach to identifying and managing a company's environmental impacts.
Global warming The steady rise in the earth's average air and ocean temperatures. The term global warming is generally used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activity.
Green Building Council of AustraliaGBCAEstablished in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions including Green Star.
Green Star A comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system developed by the Green Building Council of Australiathat evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings and communities.
Green building A process of design and construction that uses techniques to minimise adverse environmental impacts and reduce the energy consumption of a building, while contributing to the health and productivity of its occupants.
GreenPower Electricity generated from clean, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass and supplied through the grid network by your electricity supplier. GreenPower is a government certified scheme to promote the expansion of the renewable energy.
Greenhouse GasGHGAny atmospheric gas, both natural and from human activity, that absorbs and reemits infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases can contribute to the greenhouse effect by trapping heat from the Earth and warming the surface. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons.
Greenhouse effect The insulating effect of certain gases in the atmosphere, which allows the sun's heat to warm the earth and then prevent some of the heat from escaping.
Gross Lettable Area RetailGLARGross Lettable Area Retail
HVAC Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
Indoor Air QualityIAQIndoor air quality is a broad term used to describe the indoor pollutants which are present within the indoor environment. There are a number of indoor pollutants which can be measured to determine the overall indoor environment quality. These indoor environment pollutants include: Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Particulates and Airborne microbials.
Light emitting diodesLEDLight emitting diodes are small and compact light sources that are very bright and energy efficient.
Mechanical and mixed mode buildings A building with mechanical air conditioning has heating, cooling and air provided by systems installed in the building.
Mircrobials Refers to a wide variety of microbials that can be found within the indoor environment. Microbials are measured for NABERS Indoor Environment because they give an indication of how regularly the air intake systems and filters are being cleaned and maintained to minimise risk of microbial growth occurring. However, it is important to recognise that airborne microbials are also influenced by tenant activities.
National Australian Built Environment Rating SystemNABERSNABERS is a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment. It does this by using measured and verified performance information, such as bills, that is converted into an easy to understand star rating scale from 1 to 6 stars.
National Greenhouse and Energy ReportingNGERSThe National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (the NGER Act) introduced a national framework for the reporting and dissemination of information about the greenhouse gas emmissions, greenhouse gas projects, and energy use and production of corporations.
Naturally ventilated building A building where there is no mechanical cooling and no forced ventilation is considered to be a naturally ventilated building.
Net Lettable AreaNLAThe floor area, determined in accordance with the Measurement Standard for Rated Area, of spacesthat can be used as offices within the premises to be rated.
Outdoor temperature For NABERS Indoor Environment this refers to the temperature of the external environment of the office.
Particulates Solid or liquid matter with aerodynamic diameters ranging from 0.05 to 100 um. Particulates are measured for NABERS Indoor Environment in order to determine whether outdoor air intakes are transporting contaminants into the indoor office environment and to identify whether adequate cleaning and maintenance of air intakes is occurring.
Rated area The rated area for an office rating is based on the net lettable area (NLA) for the office tenancies in the building. The NLA can be sourced from layout plans of the premises where it is measured by the Property Council of Australia (PCA) publication "Method of Measurement for Lettable Area" March 1997; the BOMA 1989 or BOMA 1985 Method of Measurement.
Recycling Collecting, reprocessing and re-using a resource to make a new product.
Relative humidity A measure of the amount of water vapour contained in the air at a particular temperature. Relative humidity provides an indication of the effectiveness of the HVAC system and humidifiers in removing any condensation that has the potential to cause equipment malfunction and impact on the health and wellbeing of employees.
Renewable energy Renewable energy is any source of energy that can be used without depleting its reserves including sunlight or solar energy, wind, wave, biomass and hydro energy.
Retrofitting The application of conservation, efficiency, or renewable-energy technologies to existing buildings.
SME Small to medium-sized enterprise
Solar energy The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.
Space temperature Refers to the temperature within the occupied spaces of an office.
Stakeholders Parties having an interest in a particular project or outcome.
Sustainability Any process or condition that can be maintained indefinitely without interruption, weakening, or loss of valued qualities.
Sustainable energy Meeting current energy needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their economic, social and environmental needs.
Thermal comfort Describes a person's psychological state of mind about their thermal climate.
Ventilation rate The amount of outside air that is supplied to the interior space.
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards SchemeWELSAn Australian Government scheme that requires a range of water-using devices such as dishwashers, clothes washers and shower nozzles to be assessed and labelled for their water efficiency. The label is star rating based - the more stars means more water efficiency.