min read

Everybody Needs Good NABERS: The Missing Energy Metric

There's a SINGLE metric that could improve every office's energy efficiency in the country.And they're not measuring it...

In the quest for sustainability, the NABERS system has become a cornerstone in Australia for gauging a building's environmental footprint. While securing a high NABERS rating is commendable, indicating a commitment to the environment, there's an emerging dialogue that challenges the current benchmarks of energy efficiency. The real question isn't just about achieving a high rating; it's about whether we're truly optimizing our energy use, particularly from the angle of energy intensity per user.

Nabers Key Insights Summary Table

A Shift in Focus: Beyond Square Meters

As seen above, this data is from their annual study of energy in office buildings around the country. It focuses on metrics like floor space, hours of operation, and energy consumption (kWh) per annum with over 50% of buildings achieving a rating of 5 stars and above, truly commendable. However, this method, while effective in promoting efficiency, might not capture the full picture. For instance, a building that's 10,000 m^2 on average will consume around 970,000 kWh of electricity and 77,000 MJ of gas each year, but what does this mean for actual energy usage per person?

Reimagining Efficiency Metrics

Exploring energy use from a per-user perspective sheds light on the importance of adapting energy strategies to match real-world occupancy and usage patterns. In buildings that are not fully utilized, energy is wasted on empty spaces, making the cost per user an essential metric for identifying inefficiencies. PlaceOS's ability to adjust operations dynamically means buildings can maintain high NABERS ratings while ensuring energy is used judiciously, tailored to actual needs rather than static assumptions.

Leveraging PlaceOS for Dynamic Energy Management

This is where PlaceOS comes into play, offering a solution that transcends traditional metrics by integrating smart technology to optimize energy use in real-time, based on actual occupancy. PlaceOS demonstrates that energy efficiency and flexibility can coexist, supporting modern work trends without sacrificing sustainability. This approach not only aligns with remote and hybrid work models but also introduces a more nuanced metric: cost per user efficiency. You can see more on this here, here & here.

And considering that 30% of energy is being wasted in buildings, it's important to see why we care about this.


The journey towards true sustainability is evolving, with NABERS playing a crucial role in setting the stage. However, as we delve deeper into what energy efficiency means in today's changing work environment, it becomes clear that a shift towards user-centric metrics is necessary. By embracing technologies like PlaceOS and redefining our benchmarks to focus on energy intensity per user, we can unlock a new level of efficiency. This not only pushes us closer to our environmental goals but also aligns with the flexible, dynamic nature of the modern workplace, ensuring that our pursuit of green buildings is as smart and adaptive as the technologies that inhabit them.

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