Energy use in one million square metres of office space measured and rated.

22 June 2020

The users of a million square metres of office space have had their energy use measured and rated.

However, an estimated 90 percent of office workers are still in the dark about how they could reduce their power bills and carbon emissions.

Since it launched in New Zealand seven years ago, NABERSNZ has measured and rated how energy is used in 72 buildings and 14 office tenancies with a combined office floor space of an entire square kilometre.

NABERSNZ is run by the New Zealand Green Building Council on behalf of the Government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and gives entire office buildings or individual tenancies an annual rating from 0 to 6 stars based on how well they use energy.

“To have now rated a million square metres of office space is a great milestone. These property owners, facilities managers, and tenants are paving the way for a new way of thinking,” NZGBC chief executive Andrew Eagles says.

“They’re actively benchmarking their energy use and considering what opportunities exist to reduce their emissions.”

“While we’re fortunate in New Zealand to have a great supply of renewable electricity, we still have large buildings relying on fossil fuels, and occupants wasting energy with inefficient fixtures, systems and ways of operating.”

NABERSNZ was adapted from the Australian NABERS tool. Almost 80% of Australia’s office space is rated, saving $1 billion AUD in energy bills and 7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since it launched two decades ago.

“These are huge benefits New Zealanders and the environment are missing out on. There’s an estimated 10 million square metres of office space in New Zealand, so we’re only 10% of the way there.”

That figure could quickly double if the country’s largest tenant, the Government, stepped up to rate its 1.2 million square metres of office space.

“Last year Minister David Parker stood up in the house and said the Government had committed to NABERSNZ on all its new builds and was looking at existing leases. MBIE has also signaled they’re working on it, and that Government would target four star ratings. However, we’re still yet to see a ramping up in Government activity.”

Earlier this year the NZGBC estimated the ratings of the main office building of every local council in the country. Labelled the ‘Rising oceans’ 11’, the list revealed many were lagging behind and, despite making climate change commitments, some were failing to address their own impact.

“Without actually considering how we’re using power we as a country will never tackle energy waste and the enormous toll our electricity demand puts on our infrastructure and the environment.”