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Archive for January, 2014

Why a Greener World is Compatible with the Digital Age


Power Consumption

Laptops, desktops, mobile phone networks, the internet, the cloud, storage space for intranets, company servers, government databases… the list of virtual space that we need in this digital age is immense and as new online technologies develop we are going to need more and more data storage space and power to keep it operational. It isn’t just the devices where the actual data is stored either, many of the data centres that keep us connected to the world wide web also need to be kept cool and as we all know, air conditioning also uses a lot of power. It is said that Data Centres consume around 2% of the world’s power supply – and that is a lot. Internet use is expected to grow five-fold between 2011 and 2016.

Australia has until relatively recently been slow to look at IT and data centres as net consumers of power and how we might go about tackling the growing needs of tomorrow with the environmental issues of today.


Special NABERS rating

Because of the special nature of data centres, the NABERS system for these particular types of premises took a lot of consultation over three years. Many agencies were involved in the development of the programme – national and international organisations – in order to fully understand the requirements of data centres.

The NABERS system for data centres varies from the other systems (office blocks, hotels and apartment blocks) due to the different requirements but it still uses the recognisable 1-6 system rating where 3 is the average and considered to be of typical consumption rate for buildings of that type.

As with every other building using the NABERS system, it is in the best interests of the data centre managers to reduce their power consumption as much as possible. As high volume users, energy bills are going to be amongst the most expensive per square metre of space of any building type. There are three types of NABERS ratings for data centres; it is important that you know which one applies to your organisation.


Data Centres – Your NABERS Options

IT Equipment

This is for those organisations that manage their IT equipment having no control over the support services (power and security) or those who prefer only to measure the efficiency of the IT equipment. It permits organisations to calculate the productive output of their data – comparing consumption with data capacity



This is aimed at site owners and managers and calculates the energy efficiency of the facilities in supplying the infrastructure to the equipment within the facility. This is suitable for businesses that rent out space for “colo” (co-location) but do not have operational control of the IT equipment


Whole Facility

This rating combines both of the above ratings and is ideal for those businesses who manage both the building and the IT equipment. This is most suitable for businesses which own the building and pay the utility bills in which their IT server equipment is stored.


NABERS ratings are not mandatory for data centres but there are many benefits to your company for voluntary adoption of the scheme including how you might reduce your energy costs

Australia’s Property Sector Booming


The world is now well on the road to economic recovery and the property industry of Australia is expecting growth across the board in 2014: residential, commercial and industrial. They are also stating that there is a clear and definite increase in the number of new builds right across Australia. This is good news not just for the industry, but for everyone. New building projects means more jobs and with the property industry claiming to provide the lion’s share of Australia’s GDP, as well as employing more people than any other sector, it should be only a matter of time before we all reap the benefits.


What does this Mean For You?

 Those in the property business will be breathing a sigh of relief that this period of recession has come to an end because a property market boom means more demand and more demand means more building work, more employment, more money in the market and consequently greater profits. If you are looking for new premises to rent or purchase then there may be the opportunity to find some bargains amongst existing buildings or to be the new owners or first occupiers of coveted new builds and all of the in-built energy efficiency savings.

 Because of this fierce competition, property developers and owners have a vested interest in keeping up with their competitors. One of the main issues they might attempt to trade on is a building’s NABERS rating. Though a legal requirement for any building over 2000sqm which is on the market for sale or rent, the free availability of the BEEC and NABERS information permits prospective clients or buyers to factor in their energy needs. A high NABERS rating demonstrates a commitment to the environment and in purely business terms, to cost saving. It is a highly competitive market then, so it is in your best interest to do everything you can to improve the rating of your property.


The Role of NABERS / BEEC in the Property Market

 The economic recovery might be underway and businesses might be feeling positive about their future but that does not mean that they will not be looking immediately to how they might save money on their utility and other running costs. If you already have a NABERS rating, unless it is very high (5 or 6 star) there are many things you could do to improve your rating and keep your property competitive. If you do not presently have a NABERS rating and looking to lease or sell your premises then you will need an assessment ahead of this.

If your premises is under 2000sqm you are not legally obliged to have a NABERS assessment but there are benefits of voluntary uptake of the rating system and it will keep you competitive in what is about to become a thriving m

LEASA App Paving the Way for Energy Efficiency

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It is now a much easier for businesses to find energy efficient buildings in their area. RICS – the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – has just released an app called LEASA. It is available on Android and Apple products and comes with a Choosing and Managing Energy Efficient Space guide. The guide explains how to use the software and how it may help benefit you as a business no matter what stage you are presently at – whether you are looking for new premises or hoping to save energy to improve your NABERS rating. It is available worldwide and works in conjunction with relevant authorities and national surveyor organisations. As far as Australia is concerned it takes data directly from the registered BEECs and puts it into a searchable database.

It is mainly targeted at small and medium sized enterprises that will be looking at energy and waste efficiency as a key factor in selecting a property to buy or to let. It is designed to allow potential customers to:

  • Compare a number of properties at one time and will rank them based on set criteria
  • Calculate expected running costs and therefore identify potential profit margin against utility bills
  • Calculate how the amount of office space used will affect energy efficiency. It will also help to calculate the relative cost of the total space

You can download the app from the relevant store or marketplace or go direct to the RICS website at


LEASA and Your Bills

The app does not just help you to find the best office available for your business, it also aids in reducing your energy consumption and all you need is a recent bill. You can do this through the Energy Bills Tool. Put as much information as you can from your energy bill including the total kwh rate and the actual cost of the bill.

The Calculator option on the app helps you to work out the relative cost of your lighting. This is a variable cost not only affected by wholesale prices but also by how efficient your business is at not leaving lights on unnecessarily, using energy efficient bulbs, the floor area and of course how much lighting you have on your premises. Do you have too many installed? Could you switch half of them off and still leave the premises sufficiently lit? When you do your BEEC search on the app for available premises, it will also show the lighting score of each building.

The BEEC option allows you to compare tenancies registered score for both BEEC and NABERS. BEEC data is also automatically included in the Tenancies tool. One of the most interesting developments is that if a building does not have a BEEC then you can manually enter the Net Lettable Area (NLA) and Nominal Lighting Power Density (NLPD) manually. Both of these ratings are usually held by the Lettings Agent.


As with any calculator, it will not give you a complete accurate breakdown as there will be other variable issues to consider. However, it works as a useful guide in providing projected energy costs as you consider your property options

Emissions Reductions Green Paper Published


What Is It?

Released on Friday 20th December 2013, it is the vision of Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions to five percent below levels measured in the year 2000 by 2020 and to review government policy in 2015 regarding international commitments. Through the Direct Action Fund, it makes available money that businesses can apply to in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Australia is committed to putting itself at the forefront of tackling climate change in the developed world and many have welcomed the Green Paper proposals. Hunt especially has been concerned about the impact of climate change in Australia and the problems associated with increased bush fires over the last few years. The carbon tax which was initially put in place will be scrapped as of 1st July 2014 when the Emissions Reduction Fund commences.


What Will it Achieve?

The program is part of Australia’s Direct Action Plan and makes available an annual fund that businesses can apply to in order to help them effectively and efficiently achieve a net reduction in their carbon emissions. The availability of the fund will help to alleviate some of the concerns about what effect an aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions might have on Australian business both nationally and internationally. We need to stay competitive while the global economy recovers.

For its supporters, the fund is the best Christmas present they could ever have received from the government – and that says a lot about not just the importance of the programme for tackling carbon emissions, but to what extent the fund is even necessary to help to achieve the targets.

Emissions are already down (reduced from 0.8kgCO2-e to 0.4kgCO2-e between 1990 and 2013), but in the national and global fight against tackling the effects of climate change, there is still a way to go. It is expected that the fund and the paper will continue this downward trend while assisting the Australian economy to continue to grow.


What It Means for NABERS

There is still a lot of potential to reduce the emissions of existing buildings and still scope to improve the design of newer buildings in order to reduce emissions. The present NABERS system could help to facilitate the target of carbon emission reduction especially for older buildings that did not have energy or waste efficiency worked in as key factors in their construction.

Despite the continued success of the NABERS system, commercial buildings still account for 53Mt of CO2 every year, approximately 9.4% of the country’s emissions and 7.2% of the country’s total energy consumption. It is not difficult to see the importance of what the NABERS system has already achieved or what it might achieve or be expected to contribute to tackling this problem. Ausnviro expertise is in NABERS and BEEC for our country’s office spaces; this type of commercial property accounts for 25% of all commercial power consumption in Australia.

There are many systems in place to help residential and commercial properties reduce their carbon emissions but NABERS is the only nationally recognised program for tackling the problems presented in the commercial sector. It is expected that a lot of the annual fund will be allocated to the high-end properties sector due to its large contribution to Australia’s carbon emissions.