The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted almost every aspect of daily life, with the subsequent lockdowns bringing numerous challenges to commercial building owners and operators. With large changes in occupancy, one of the difficulties has been ensuring energy use has followed suit. Compounding this, many building operators have raised concerns that switching off HVAC to empty floors might violate the levels of service for occupied spaces required for NABERS ratings. To address this, NABERS have released a document clarifying how ratings will be conducted; but what does this mean for building operators who want to minimise waste and improve their NABERS ratings? Below are some clarifications from the recent release:

  • NABERS have clarified that the level of service can be lowered from typical levels if there is written evidence from tenants agreeing to the changes. This can include measures such as reduced HVAC run times, moving to ‘on-demand’ air-conditioning to manage variable occupant density, and wider zone temperature dead-bands.
  • If an agreement with tenants cannot be reached, written evidence from building operators that the building is safe (and reasons as to why an agreement cannot be reached with tenants) are also acceptable.
  • The ‘core hours’ for buildings will be the same hours of operation as pre-COVID times, provided spaces have current leases and tenants are expected to return once lockdown measures are eased.

The full document can be found on the NABERS website.

The above clarifications suggest that NABERS ratings for most buildings should improve slightly, with bigger jumps also possible. If you want to find out what improvements are possible with your building(s) using cutting-edge data science, get in touch!