NABERS Indoor Environment

  • NABERS Indoor Environment

    NABERS IE - For the next generation of sustainability leaders

    New NABERS IE

    The newly improved NABERS IE tool is a world first at measuring and benchmarking the indoor environment performance of offices and will help the Australian property sector continue to lead the world in sustainability.

    With excellence in energy and water efficiency no longer a point of difference, the NABERS Indoor Environment tool provides, the opportunity to recognise and reward offices that are not only environmentally efficient, but also provide outstanding services to occupants. A NABERS rating provides an industry respected, demonstrable advantage in the market that proves your sustainable and leadership credentials.

    NABERS Indoor Environment uses the latest measurement technology and IEQ standards to provide a reliable and easy-to-use indoor environment quality benchmark that allows you to measure your individual performance, identify opportunities for improvement and compare your performance against the market.

    The rating provides a common language which can assist in coordinating multiple parties in setting goals and evaluating performance and market achievements in occupant health, comfort and well being. The rating results can help building owners, facility managers and tenants more accurately pinpoint areas for improvement and to better evaluate changes or upgrades to services in response to the needs of the occupants for whom these services are provided.

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  • Development of the new NABERS IE tool

    NABERS Indoor Environment (IE) was released in 2009 as a world first and demonstrated its market value with a growing number of certified assessments, reaching 69 buildings in 2013-2014 alone. However, the first iteration of NABERS IE also provided valuable lessons. In our pledge to be technically robust, the NABERS IE tool was more complex and less user-friendly than required.

    In 2013/14, NABERS worked closely with academics, technical experts and facilities and sustainability managers to enhance NABERS IE, which led to a number of important improvements.

    These improvements include:

    How the final rating score is calculated

    • Simplifying the way the final star rating is calculated, using a 0-100% scale, to make it easier to understand how much improvement is needed to reach the next star; and
    • Using a market position/ peer-comparison approach to compare performance.

     

    Reporting structure

    • Development of a new Rating Report to help Assessors and customers better understand their rating and identify areas for future improvement.

     

    Technical enhancements

    • Utilising technological advances in measuring devices;
    • Making better use of measuring infrastructure, such as BMS data; and
    • Aligning with the most current IEQ standards.

     

    Updated star scale

    The new NABERS IE tool has now also been expanded from 5 to 6 stars.

    New NABERS IE

    For more information on changes from the previous version please refer to the IE Rules or contact a member of the NABERS IE team.

     

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  • NABERS Indoor Environment - Designed for offices

    The level of comfort an office delivers to its occupants is the result of many factors, including key indicators such as temperature, relative humidity, presence of draughts or air pollutants, the cleanliness of the air, noise levels, lighting and how that space is arranged. Some of these factors are controlled by the building services, such as HVAC while others are influenced by management decisions and actions, for example the selection of the wall paint or furniture in a tenant fit out.

    To reflect this, NABERS Indoor Environment provides three different rating types (base building, whole building and tenancy), representing the different roles and responsibilities within a building to allow building owners, managers and tenants to benchmark their performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

     

    3 rating types

    New NABERS IE

    Base Building - designed for building owners and managers, who generally control and maintain the thermal services provided, air systems and building cleaning and the ability for the building to minimise external noise.

    Tenancy - designed to measure the indoor environment parameters directly controlled by the tenants such as the materials used in an office fit-out, lighting and internal noise.

    Whole Building - intended for organisations that both manage and occupy their office space. This rating type assesses the indoor environment parameters associated with both the tenancy and base building.

     

    How NABERS Indoor Environment works

    NABERS Indoor Environment uses quantitative measurements in the space and, depending on the rating undertaken, results from an occupant satisfaction survey to assess the quality of the office’s comfort conditions. It is based on a 12 months rating period, in line with other NABERS tools.

    To assess the comfort conditions of an office, NABERS includes the following factors:

     

    5 parameters

    New NABERS IE

    • Thermal services including temperature, mean radiant temperature, humidity and air speed
    • Indoor air quality including ventilation effectiveness, and levels of pollutants
    • Lighting to maximise daylight, whilst minimising glare and heat
    • Acoustic comfort including the ability of the building to minimise external noise as well as the noise levels within the tenanted space
    • Office layout including the spatial arrangements of walls, partitions, furniture and equipment in relation to fixed elements like windows and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

    For each different rating type – i.e. a base building, tenancy or whole building rating – there is a slightly different set of parameters to be assessed, based on responsibility. For example, many tenants who lease their office space do not have control over the thermal comfort of their office environment because it is the responsibility of the building management, and so thermal comfort is not measured in a tenancy rating.

    Each parameter is scored separately, to help identify those with parameters with good performance and those where performance can be improved. The parameters are weighted differently depending on their impact on occupants.

    Refer to Table 1 for a list of the parameters measured for each rating type and the associated weighting.

    New NABERS IE

    Base building ratings

    The base building rating is for building owners, managers or facility managers. The factors measured are directly influenced by the maintenance and management of the building.

    The base building rating assessment takes quantitative measurements only for the factors under the control of building services - thermal services (temperature, relative humidity, air speed), ambient sound and indoor air pollutants. Occupant satisfaction surveys are not required for a base building rating, although cooperation from tenants may be required to allow the Assessor to conduct measurements in tenancy spaces.

    A NABERS Indoor Environment base building rating assesses:

    • Thermal services
    • Indoor air quality
    • Acoustics

    The NABERS Indoor Environment base building rating is calculated from the overall scores awarded for the building for air quality, acoustic comfort and thermal services and benchmarked against market performance.

    Important: To encourage regular recording and monitoring of temperature in the office space, annual temperature data is given an additional 20% weighting compared to spot measurements for base building ratings.

    Where a building does not have a full year of annual monitoring data, contact the NABERS team for further guidance.

    Tenancy ratings

    The tenancy rating is for tenants who do not have control over their office heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. In most cases this means tenants who lease their office space - they are the occupants, but not the managers of the space. The factors measured are directly influenced by the tenants use of the space and the materials used in the office fit-out.

    The tenancy rating assessment takes both quantitative and qualitative (via an occupant satisfaction survey) measurements of the factors under the control of the tenant - indoor air quality, lighting, ambient sound and office layout.

    A NABERS Indoor Environment tenancy rating assesses:

    • Indoor air quality
    • Lighting
    • Acoustics
    • Office layout

    Whole building ratings

    The whole building rating considers aspects under control of both the building manager (thermal services, indoor air quality, noise levels from building services) and the tenant (indoor air quality from the choice of office fit out, lighting, noise levels and office layout).

    The whole building rating assessment takes both quantitative and qualitative (via an occupant satisfaction survey) measurements of the factors under the control of the tenant and building – thermal services, indoor air quality, lighting, ambient sound and office layout.

    A NABERS Indoor Environment whole building rating assesses:

    • Thermal services
    • Indoor air quality
    • Lighting
    • Acoustics
    • Office layout

     

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  • Rate the indoor environment of your office

    To obtain an accredited NABERS Indoor Environment rating you need to engage an Accredited Assessor who will conduct a site visit to obtain all necessary data. A list of Accredited Assessors can be found here.

    Depending on the rating to be conducted the Assessor will either take one day quantitative measurements (spot measurements) for base building ratings or one day quantitative measurements in conjunction with an occupant satisfaction survey for tenancy and whole building ratings. The Assessor can  organise the occupant satisfaction survey on your behalf from three accredited survey providers.

    The occupant satisfaction survey needs to be collected before the one day quantitative measurements are taken – this allows issues identified in the survey to be verified by the quantitative (spot) measurements. The one day measurements must be completed within four weeks  after the survey is done to ensure the rating accurately reflects conditions at the time.

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  • Information on the five key components of a NABERS IE rating

    NABERS IE is made up of 5 components:

    New NABERS IE Thermal Services

    New NABERS IE Indoor Air Quality

    New NABERS IE Lighting

    New NABERS IE Acoustic Comfort

    New NABERS IE Office Layout

    The components included and the data requirements will vary depending on the rating being conducted (base building, whole building or tenancy) and the method of collection (annual/one day quantitative measurements or data collected from an occupant satisfaction survey). Please refer to 'How NABERS IE Works' Table 1: Data required according to rating type and weighting for more information.

    To collect the necessary quantitative data for a NABERS IE rating, an Assessor will use hand held equipment or temperature data recorded by building services BMS systems or data loggers. This data is compared against the NABERS IE benchmarks and compared against the market.

    Data from an occupant satisfaction survey is collected prior to the onsite visit by the Assessor. Please refer to the NABERS IE Guide for more information.

     

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  • Indoor Environment FAQs

    How does NABERS Indoor Environment interact with the other NABERS rating tools?

    NABERS Indoor Environment ratings and are part of a suite of NABERS performance rating tools for the office building market that provide the opportunity to recognise and reward offices that are not only environmentally efficient, but also provide outstanding services to occupants.

    A NABERS Indoor Environment rating in conjunction with a NABERS Energy and Water rating for an office building provides an industry respected, demonstrable advantage in the market that proves your sustainable and leadership credentials.

    This is particularly relevant, given the Australian property sector’s success in leading sustainability on a global scale that has seen office building performance now being measured not just through excellence in sustainable operations but also for the people who occupy them. A NABERS IE rating provides a quality performance measure of the indoor environment in office buildings that will help establish the next generation of sustainable leaders.

    Who provides the occupant satisfaction surveys?

    The NABERS accredited occupant survey providers are:

    How much does a NABERS accredited occupant satisfaction survey cost?

    Cost vary depending on the number of employees surveyed. However, typically an occupant satisfaction survey will cost around $1,000- $2,000 to conduct by one of our accredited providers. The results from the survey will provide immediate, invaluable information on how a building is performing from the perspective of its occupants.

    Why does NABERS use an occupant satisfaction survey?

    Occupant satisfaction survey assesses how a building is performing from the perspective of its occupants and provides immediate feedback. The results can be used to identify potential problems in the office layout and tenancy fit-out or building services which can be discussed with building management.

    Occupant satisfaction surveys are used for whole building and tenancy ratings to measure:

    • Thermal services (whole building ratings only)
    • Air quality
    • Acoustic comfort
    • Lighting, and
    • Office layout.

    What skill set is required to become a NABERS Indoor Environment Accredited Assessor?

    The individual needs to undertake training provided by NABERS and pass a theory exam and practical assessment. Read more about our courses in the Training section.

    How much will a NABERS Indoor Environment assessment cost?

    The NABERS National Administrator will charge a processing fee for each rating. Please find the list of current fees here. Your Assessor will also charge their own fees, which they will determine based upon the size and complexity of the rating and the package of services being offered.

    As with any professional service, we encourage you to obtain a number of quotes in order to ensure you are getting the best value for your requirements.

    What are the benefits of having a NABERS rating?

    A NABERS rating provides an industry respected, demonstrable advantage in the market that proves your sustainable and leadership credentials.

    The Australian office sector is arguably the most active and engaged in sustainability in the world today – taking out the top spot as the world's leading region in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) in 2014. With excellence in sustainable operations no longer a point of difference that it once was, many industry leaders believe the next frontier is to create and maintain buildings that are not just good for the environment, but also for the people who occupy them.The newly improved NABERS Indoor Environment tool is a world first at measuring and benchmarking the indoor environment performance of offices and will help the Australian property sector continue to lead the world in sustainability and provide that point of difference.

    NABERS IE uses the latest measurement technology and IEQ standards to provide a reliable and easy-to-use indoor environment quality benchmark that allows you to measure your individual performance, identify opportunities for improvement and compare your performance against the market.

    The rating provides a common language which can assist in coordinating multiple parties in setting goals and evaluating performance and market achievements in occupant health, comfort and well being. The rating results can help building owners, facility managers and tenants more accurately pinpoint areas for improvement and to better evaluate changes or upgrades to services in response to the needs of the occupants for whom these services are provided.

    Knowledge is an important first step to understanding and improving performance.

    How often will the tools be updated?

    NABERS established a technical working group to oversee the review of the NABERS Indoor Environment rating tool in 2013. This group is represented by sustainability managers and consultants and indoor environment experts and researchers. The NABERS IE technical working group will continue to meet on an bi-annual/annual basis and together with the NABER team will closely monitoring the application of the tools and any changes to relevant standards or new research into the quality of the indoor environment.

    Any proposed enhancements to the NABERS IE tool will need to be assessed by the NABERS existing tool enhancement framework and agreed to be the National Steering Committee and NABERS Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

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  • NABERS IE contact

    For further information please contact

    The NABERS Indoor Environment Team

    Phone: 02 9995 - 6394  or  - 5483

    Email: nabers@environment.nsw.gov.au

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New NABERS IE

  • A guide to the NABERS IE rating tool for building owners, managers & tenants
    - Click here to download

    NABERS IE for Offices Rules for Collecting and Using Data v1.0
    - Click here to download

    Assessors can download the Rating Calculators and Data Collection Worksheet from the Members' website under
    > Resources > Process Documents > Office