The NABERS rating tool is being used more frequently by companies and the reasons are threefold. Firstly, there are mandatory obligations that require some commercial buildings to obtain an Energy NABERS rating as part of their Building Energy Efficiency Certificate. Secondly, companies use NABERS rating tools to generally improve their environmental sustainability which in turn reaps financial benefit. Finally, the use of NABERS ratings can also improve a company’s reputation in the market as being environmentally friendly.

We briefly set out in this article what NABERS is, generally, and provide insight into the new tool released by NABERS for rating data centre energy efficiency.

What is the NABERS?

NABERS uses four rating tools, being energy, water, waste and indoor environment. These tools measure the actual performance of your building or tenancy using 12 months of measured performance information (such as water and electricity bills). The program compares the performance of your building or tenancy against the benchmarks that have been set by other similar buildings in similar locations. 

Once the data from your building is compared against other similar buildings, your rating is compared to the NABERS benchmark and you will be provided with a star rating between 1 to 6 stars (poor performance to market leading performance).

New tools for data centres

In February 2013, NABERS released a new tool which allows companies to determine the energy performance of their data centres by way of three tools: one that rates IT equipment in the data centre, one that is able to rate the associated infrastructure services and another that rates the whole facility. The NABERS Energy for data centre rating tools are essentially a standalone rating and are part of a number of NABERS Energy rating tools in the commercial sector across Australia.

The NABERS Energy for data centres rating tool provides a language that is common to the industry and will assist companies in coordinating goals and evaluation of performance.

The tools are based on data that has been collected over the period 2010 to 2011 from a cross section of data centres and government areas in Australia. Each tool was trialled in 5 data centres with the findings used to set the benchmarks in relation to the data centre rating assessment.

At this stage, NABERS Energy for data centre rating is voluntary however; there is federal legislation that requires office building owners to disclose their NABERS Energy ratings at the point of sale and lease of their buildings if the area being sold or leased is in excess of 2000sqm.

This is an exciting new tool that will enable data centre owners and occupiers to make informed decisions regarding, amongst other things, the merits of server visualisation and air-conditioning upgrades.