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Climate Active Carbon Neutral Certification

Demonstrate your building’s sustainability excellence with a carbon neutral certification

Many buildings are now looking beyond NABERS Energy to full carbon neutrality for their buildings.

NABERS Energy is a great way to track and manage the emissions from the energy used to power your building, but carbon neutral goes a step further, recognising other sources of carbon emissions created from the building’s operations, including energy, water, waste and refrigerants.

Once these emissions have been measured, they can be managed and offset to ensure your building has no negative impact on the climate.

If we are to tackle the climate crisis, managing these additional environmental impacts is vital.

NABERS offers a pathway to achieve Climate Active Carbon Neutral certification, a world-leading, government-backed certification that is aligned to national and international greenhouse gas accounting protocols.

Why do it?

Competitive advantage

Carbon Neutral certification is the hallmark of a rigorous sustainability strategy. It sends a clear signal that your business is serious about addressing climate change and is committed to sustainability, innovation, and industry leadership. This will help differentiate your business from others and provide a competitive advantage in your market.

Manage performance

The combination of NABERS Energy and Climate Active Carbon Neutral Certification delivers an essential framework for annual reporting, building performance and celebrating achievement, which are integral to your comprehensive emissions reduction strategy.

Market resilience

Through Climate Active, you’ll be supporting initiatives around the globe committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. You’ll also be better prepared for future changes in energy and water costs and waste management regulations, all while improving your building’s resilience to climate change.


How can I get a Carbon Neutral certification for my building?

If you have a NABERS Energy rating of 4 stars or above and use carbon offsets to cancel the building’s emissions, you can achieve a Carbon Neutral Building Certification. You can choose to use renewable energy for your stationary energy consumption instead of carbon offsets.
Although NABERS Water and Waste ratings are not mandatory for a Carbon Neutral rating, having them makes it easier to obtain the certification.

Carbon offsets

Offset units are generated by projects that reduce, remove or capture emissions from the atmosphere such as reforestation, renewable energy or energy efficiency. Climate Active provides a list of eligible offset units on their website.


What type of buildings can get a certification?

NABERS currently offers carbon neutral building certification for all building types except for apartment buildings, hospitals and office tenancies. NABERS hopes to expand certification into these sectors in the future.


How much is it?

The fee for Carbon Neutral certification for office buildings >2000m2 is $1,936 and for office buildings between 1000-2000m2 is $1,326 including GST. This fee is in addition to the NABERS Energy rating fee. Due to COVID19 relief, NABERS Carbon Neutral certification is free for shopping centres, hotels and offices buildings <1000m2 between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.  

Return on investment Certification has a high return on an investment, as it converts your building into a premium product. In today’s context of climate change and drought, investors prefer buildings with sustainability credentials.


What are the steps to certification?

1. Get ready

Obtain 2-3 assessor quotes to understand scope of work (site hours and consulting hours)

Seek internal approval from senior management

Consider setting public sustainability targets to secure approval and to reflect in the public disclosure document


2. Gather your data

Provide all key inputs required for you NABERS Energy and Climate Active Carbon Neutral certification as per the NABERS rules and Climate Active guidelines.

The assessor will help you with what you need to provide.

Hint: a NABERS water and waste rating are not required but will make this even easier to achieve.


3. Achieve Carbon Neutral Building Certification

Organise access for your assessor to conduct site visits to validate your certification.

Once the rating has been submitted and checked, buy eligible offsets.

Achieve certification.


4. Re-new certification

Your certification lasts for 12 months. Re-new certification annually to ensure retention of carbon neutrality status.


Get your certification

To start your certification process, please email us at nabers [at] environment.nsw.gov.au or find an Accredited Assessor here.



I want to become an accredited Carbon Neutral Assessor. How can I do this?

The prerequisite for the Carbon Neutral accreditation is to successfully complete and pass the exams for NABERS Assessor 101, and any NABERS Energy accreditation course (for ex: Energy & Water for Offices). The Assessor must then complete the NABERS Carbon Neutral online course and the exam following it. The first rating lodged by all assessors must be supervised by an accredited supervisor. The fee of the supervision is covered under the rating lodgement fee.

All our training courses, and the applicable fees are available here.

Can I rate a tenancy for Carbon Neutral?

NABERS currently offers carbon neutral building certification for all building types except for apartment buildings, hospitals and office tenancies. NABERS hopes to expand certification into these sectors in the future.

Are there any building guidelines around Carbon Neutral certification that I can refer to?

The Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Buildings can be found here.

How can I calculate the offsets for my building? Is there a sample calculator available?

The Carbon Offset calculators – for both Location Based and Market based approaches - are available for use by accredited assessors under the Resources tab from our members website.

Is there a list of accredited Carbon offsets that I can purchase?

Please refer to the list of providers as recommended by Climate Active under “Eligible Offsets’ here.

Where can I read more about the various emissions sources and the emission factors used in the Carbon Offset calculator?

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources updates these factors annually and can be found here.

Where can I find the current renewable power percentage to be used?

The Clean Energy Regulator provides the latest figures on their website here. NABERS acknowledges that the latest figures can be used even if the rating period spills over to previous years. For further clarification, please contact us at nabers [at] environment.nsw.gov.au.

I have a mixed-use building complex and there is only one waste audit data available for the whole complex. How can I use the waste data for Carbon Neutral certification process?

NABERS allows for proportional inclusion of waste data based on the NLA of each building for calculating the waste component of the Carbon Neutral rating.

Where can I get a list of accredited Green Power providers? Can Green Power be used to offset emissions?

GreenPower gives a list of providers in their website here. At present, GreenPower can only be used to offset electricity-related emissions. They cannot be used for offsetting other emissions. Valid Carbon Offsets as mentioned in Question 3 are required to offset other emissions to achieve Carbon Neutrality.

If I have a valid NABERS Waste rating, can I use the same data for Carbon Neutral certification?

Yes, the same NABERS Waste data can be used. At present, the Carbon Offset Calculator does not have the functionality to easily migrate data from the Waste platform however this functionality is expected to be available soon.

I am rating a building which has some redundant HVAC equipment. Do I need to include the refrigerants from these in the calculations?

Redundant units are excluded from the rating. Since this is a performance tool which examines the refrigerant usage each year, only those with active use and emissions are considered for ratings.


Further reading

To find out more about Carbon Neutral certification, please consult our Climate Active Carbon Neutral building certification fact sheet.

To learn more about Climate Active, visit https://www.climateactive.org.au/

Carbon Neutral