Professional Fellows Exchange Program
If You Build It They Will Come
March 27, 2012 |
During my exchange to beautiful Townsville, Queensland, Australia I toured several building projects that had received a 4 or 5 star NABERS Rating. NABERS stands for National Austrialian Built Environment Rating System and is a general equivilant to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) that we have in the U.S. Buildings can receive a NABERS ranking of 1 to 5 and the higher the number the more efficient the building. However, NABERS takes energy efficiency to a whole new level. Unlike the LEED system, once a building in Australia achieves NABERS ranking they must continue to perform efficiently as the ranking is only good for a few years. Buildings must renew their NABERS certification every four or five years. Recently the Australian Government has made a huge push to only locate their offices in NABERS buildings with a ranking of four or five stars, this leadership has helped to influence the private sector as well as more and more private developers are looking to certify their building as NABERS in order to retain or gain new tenants. In addition, local lending institutions also consider a building's NABERS rating in the business plan before determining if they should lend to a developer and how much based upon the ability to attract tenants seeking to locate in highly efficient buildings. One example I toured was a 20 year old building that received a $1.8 million upgrade (including high efficiency mechanical systems and lighting) in order to retain a tenant who was occupying 7 floors of the 13 story building. This tenant wanted to make sure they were in a buildng with a NABERS rating. In addition to retaining their major tenant, the building saw a 30% savings in their electrical bill ($1 million annually to $640,000 and the return on investment was only 7 years) and heating/cooling and lighting complaints from the hundreds of employees in the building went down by 85%! This is the perfect storm of a highly effective rating system that has an ongoing process to make sure the building is maintaining its efficiency, good public policy that rewards builiding owners with tenancy contracts for having efficient facilities and strong support from the private sector to fund projects that promote energy efficiency. The lesson from Australia, if you build a NABERS rated building the tenants will come!
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Assistant City Manager,
City of Dubuque
International City/County Management Association 777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 500Washington, DC 20002-4201
800-745-8780/202-962-3680 | fax 202-962-3500
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