Energy-performance tool finds new home at CIBSE

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers has been appointed as the new scheme administrator for NABERS UK – a standard for measuring operational carbon emissions from commercial buildings.

The move comes seven months after the Building Research Establishment (BRE) stopped using the NABERS tool in favour of the more well-known BREEAM certification standards. The BRE licensing agreement with NABERS lasted three years.

CIBSE chief executive Ruth Carter said: “This strategic move aligns with our commitment to advancing energy efficiency in the built environment. NABERS UK plays a crucial role in bridging the performance gap and enhancing transparency. We are excited to contribute to the continued success and impact of NABERS UK.”

NABERS UK launched in 2020 and is an adaptation of the Australian NABERS initiative. It has the aim of “increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings by measuring and verifying actual in-use energy performance”.

NABERS director Carlos Flores said: “CIBSE has an illustrious history of leadership in building sustainability and decarbonisation, and an unmatched track record in certification and the development of technical standards. Buildings in the UK can and should lead the world in tackling the climate crisis, and we are excited about the role NABERS UK can play with an organisation of CIBSE’s calibre at the helm.”

Some industry experts believe NABERS is more robust and reliable than previous energy rating schemes such as a Display Energy Certificate (DEC).

DEC rates buildings from A to G, from the most to the least energy efficient, but the ratings are only applied to public buildings with more than 250 square metres of total floor area.

The NABERS scheme awards buildings between one and six stars for efficiency in terms of energy, water, waste and indoor environment.

The key area of difference between NABERS UK and the commonly-used BREEAM rating system is that the former focuses on measuring the actual energy use (operational carbon) and is limited to office buildings.

BREEAM, however, assesses “whole-life performance” including embodied carbon, which counts the emissions generated during the construction of a building. BREEAM can also be applied to other types of buildings than offices, including residential, educational, hospitality and leisure facilities.

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