NABERS Energy and Water Ratings
Mondrian is an important example of how the operation of apartment buildings can be sustainable. The NABERS for Apartments program measures the way energy and water are used efficiently and in an environmentally sustainable way. A good NABERS rating is testimony to the way Mondrian is managed and its standing as a premium building.
What is the significance of a NABERS rating?
The NABERS rating program is well established in the commercial property sector and compulsory for certain types of commercial property. It has become a significant factor in how commercial tenants view properties. In the apartment sector the NABERS program is in its fifth year of operation and not yet compulsory. It is perhaps too early to measure the importance that apartment buyers place on a NABERS rating when purchasing. This is likely to increase as awareness of NABERS becomes more widespread. Nevertheless, an excellent rating is something that can only enhance the Mondrian brand.
What is being measured?
Energy comprises, in Mondrian’s case, common property electricity only. The heating of domestic hot water is excluded as the owners corporation does not pay for this. Water comprises all water paid for by the owners corporation. Water use within the apartments is included, because it is paid for by the owners corporation. NABERS measures both Energy and Water efficiency on a 1-6 Star scale with the best performance achievable being 6 stars.
What was the process followed at Mondrian?
- Mondrian’s previous rating expired in August 2021 being based on usage in 2019/20.
- Mondrian went through a period of not having a valid current NABERS rating from August 2021 until the issue of the latest rating in September 2022
- Strata Answers Pty Ltd selected the usage period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 for the purpose of the current rating so as to ensure as long a validity period as possible
- The assessment was submitted to the Dept of the Environment for level 1 auditing
- In September 2022 NABERS ratings were issued with validity till September 2023
How Mondrian Rated
For its Third Year of rating Mondrian has achieved 5.5 a star rating (out of 6 stars) for its use of common property electricity. The increase of 0.5 stars since 2019/20 reflects a 5% drop in annual common property energy use since 2020.
The majority of energy saving measures that support Mondrian having a respectable NABERS rating were already in place during the 2019/20 rating period, apart from some follow up LED light work.
The reduction in common property energy use must therefore be partly attributed to successful management of Mondrian’s common property electricity usage. Successful management is dependent upon ensuring that the controls & protocols that determine how long lighting and major plant – like ventilation fans, pool equipment & heat pump – operate for are closely followed.
That said, when back in 2020 we looked at the percentage of energy reduction that would have been required to take Mondrian from its then 5 to 5.5 stars, the reduction required was more than the 5% that has been achieved. That tells us that Mondrian has been “helped on its way” to 5.5 stars by changes to the algorithms used by the DoE.
To see Mondrian’s 5.5 star energy rating in context, note that whilst Mondrian shares a 5.5 star energy rating with 3 other buildings, only 2 apartment buildings to date have achieved better – a 6 star NABERS rating.
For its Third Year of rating Mondrian has achieved a 4 star rating (out of 6 stars) for its use of water. This is an improvement upon the 3 stars achieved in 2019/20 and can be attributed to the 11% drop in annual water consumption. Most of Mondrian’s water is consumed within apartments, meaning that the drop in consumption must be in large part due to the use of water by residents.
We can only speculate on the reasons for the drop in residential water use. We are unaware of any previous major leakages that may have been rectified and the indications are that the water saving is due to changes in resident behaviour. We note that the summer months of 2021/22 were cooler than usual, which may have translated into less water use.
That said, owners should be aware that Mondrian could too easily lose its 4 star water rating, unless an awareness of the need to save water, despite high dam levels in the short term, is maintained. The owners corporation may wish to encourage residents in this respect.
High Water efficiency ratings are hard to achieve. This is evidenced by Mondrian being amongst 8 buildings that have achieved a 4 star water rating, but with only 2 buildings having achieved a rating better than 4 stars.
Mondrian’s achievement of a 5.5 star Energy rating sets it amongst the few residential apartment buildings with such green credentials. Careful management is necessary to ensure that this rating is retained. Forward thinking is also required on ways the rating might be further enhanced. Future measures have the potential to provide economic benefits to owners at the same time as enhancing the NABERS rating.
Mondrian’s achievement of a 4 star Water rating is similarly impressive in an environment where few apartment buildings succeed in achieving ratings better than this. An important reason for seeking NABERS ratings is to demonstrate the green credentials of a building. The owners corporation should consider the different ways in which Mondrian’s rating credentials should be communicated to others. eg. website, newsletter, communication with sales agents etc.
Both ratings expire in September 2023.
Full reports and certificates can be downloaded here: