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The Australian Building Greenhouse Rating is targeted towards developers, owners and tenants of commercial and office buildings. ABGR rates a building’s energy usage performance on a scale between one and five stars, with five stars representing exceptional environment performance (three stars is the current market average). It is administered nationally by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, and applies to both new and existing buildings.
Existing buildings can be initially rated using a free, on-line assessment tool, based on one year of energy consumption data and other information such as occupancy rates, leaseable area, equipment used and hours of operation. To promote a building’s ABGR rating, another assessment must be conducted by an accredited assessor.
For new buildings and refurbishments, the ABGR scheme provides for a commitment agreement, whereby the developer agrees to design, build and commission the proposed building to 4, 4.5 or 5 star rating. This commitment then allows the developer to market the proposed building to prospective tenants who value high environmental performance, such as government departments.
A condition of the commitment agreement is that the proposed design is subject to an independent evaluation, conducted by a member of the ABGR Design Review Panel. Upon completion of the building, the building’s actual energy performance is monitored for one year as per the rating of existing buildings described previously. In the event that the building does not meet the star rating as stated in the commitment agreement, a review to improve its performance or amend its star rating may be undertaken.