NABERS UK energy efficiency rating scheme for offices launches to enable more businesses to meet net zero

Office building

The world-leading energy rating scheme for UK offices  – NABERS UK Energy for Offices – is now available. Administered by BRE, the scheme will enable asset owners, operators and managers to assess and improve the energy efficiency of the office buildings in their portfolio.

The NABERS scheme will also help office owners to achieve their net zero targets, contributing to the UK’s wider decarbonisation drive.

Today’s news comes as more asset managers expect to see a rise in energy usage, as more workers return to office working, as businesses emerge from the operational challenges of the pandemic.

Dr Shamir Ghumra, Head of Building Performance Services at BRE, said: “Having a building that has a lower environmental impact and lower running costs, and being able to communicate that with confidence and simplicity is going to stand building owners in good stead over the long-term – and the new NABERS UK Energy for Offices scheme will help them facilitate this.

“Ensuring our buildings and infrastructure are equipped to play a part in the global fight against climate change is crucial, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with NABERS to help drive this forward.”

The NABERS UK Energy for Offices scheme rates the performance of the ‘base’ building (including central services such as heating and cooling systems and lifts and lobby lighting) enabling building owners to clearly delineate the energy consumption under their control. This allows office buildings to be rated and compared based on landlord services, providing occupiers, investors and other stakeholders with a clear indicator of the energy efficiency of the building.

The rating provides owners with a cost-effective, trustworthy and independent validation of energy data that property owners can use to compare their buildings with other buildings in their portfolio and those of their peers across the UK. Using benchmarks represented by a simple 6 Star scale, the scheme also provides an essential framework for target setting and reporting.

The annual ratings can drive performance improvements and reductions in energy consumption and emissions, with the increased transparency enabling owners to demonstrate competitive advantage with existing and prospective investors and occupiers.

The consultation highlighted the significant success of the Australian NABERS Scheme in transforming the market and it is hoped that the NABERS UK Energy for Offices scheme can emulate this.

Farah Syed, Product Manager for NABERS UK, said: “We are very excited to launch NABERS UK Energy for Offices here in the UK. It is a fantastic product that will help drive significant improvements to the energy efficiency of offices, as we have already seen in Australia, the origin of NABERS. Energy for Offices will be a key enabler of the change needed for industry to succeed in achieving net zero targets.”

The scheme will be governed by a Steering Committee comprised of NABERS, the Better Buildings Partnership, with BRE the UK administrator responsible for assessor training and building certification.

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO, Better Buildings Partnership, added: “It is fantastic to see the NABERS UK Energy for Offices scheme launched to the market. The industry has called for a scheme that enables property owners to assess, benchmark, verify and disclose the energy performance of their assets for many years.

“This scheme responds to that demand, building on the enviable reputation of NABERS in Australia. We hope that it will drive the significant improvement in energy efficiency in commercial offices that is urgently needed if the industry is to deliver on its net zero ambitions.”

The scheme follows the initial launch of NABERS UK last year and aims to bridge the performance gap between the design and in-use energy performance of offices in the UK.

BRE recently approved its first cohort of NABERS UK Energy for Offices Assessors, who have completed their training and exams, ready to perform Energy for Offices ratings on behalf of building owners.