The Australian Government, through the Minister for Planning and Environment, is launching the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERTS). The NAER system, which is a collaboration of states, territories and local governments, aims at improving the quality of the Australian built environment and also at providing improved opportunities to improve environmental quality in the country. The creation of this system has helped to reduce the costs associated with environmentally managed construction and development projects. It also provides a tool for the evaluation of a proposed development project.
The creation of the environment rating system was initiated as part of the overall effort to strengthen the national planning system. At present, the federal and state governments are looking into ways that they can improve the design of their nation’s building and other environments. The environment rating system is a tool they have hoped will help achieve this. The ratings available through the National Assessment program will help them in this regard.
NAER is a four-stage system that rates different aspects of an environment in terms of its suitability for human purposes. These include the extent of ecological harmony, the compatibility of natural and artificial habitats, the cleanliness and safety of the site, and the usability of the site for various purposes. When the first stage of the rating system was released in 1998, the ratings ranged between “semi-permanent” and “indeterminate”. In 2021, the system was revised to require a rating of “good” or “excellent” for projects that were expected to last more than 20 years, with the majority of those being conditionally classified. In addition to these requirements, the system has been made compatible with the internationally accepted benchmark for sustainable architecture.
The environment rating system, and the ratings that go with it, are designed to provide an independent means by which different elements of a proposed building can be compared and rated. For example, a new building that is expected to have low energy consumption would require that it be rated green to help influence governments that need to subsidize its cost. This helps avoid the loss of subsidies in such cases.
The most important point of the environment rating system, however, is its ability to provide useful information about how different environments to suit different people. It provides a general idea of how suitable an environment is for human health and wellbeing, with consideration being given to the effect of living conditions on health, the availability of water and other natural resources, the physical layout and construction of the area, the quality of air and the soil. It also takes into account factors such as the proximity of natural resources, the proximity of markets, access to transport and other relevant points.
There are a number of different types of environment rating systems that can be used. In addition to the NAER system mentioned above, there are the Building Surveyor’s Association (BSA), the British Housing Council (BHC), the Chartered Surveyor’s Association (CSA), and the National Foundation for Environmental Assessment (NFAA). These can be broadly categorized as regional systems, which are used to rate dwellings in a particular locality or region, or national systems, which are used by government and regulatory bodies to rate residential properties throughout the UK.
Some of the more detailed information provided by an environment rating system could be as follows. This could include information on how much sunlight a property receives, measures taken to control flooding, and whether any forms of substandard waste materials are found in the property. An environment rating could also include information on local amenities, such as recreational facilities and visitor attractions, and rates for activities such as golfing. An important feature of environment ratings is that they are most often produced per country and/or territory, and not per city/land area, as some rating organisations prefer.
To be able to find a suitable environment rating system, you will probably need to visit a rating website. These websites usually ask a few questions regarding your personal details, so that they can produce your ratings. After this, the ratings will be displayed. Some will be in brackets, indicating that the ratings are from the most recent season; others may be in full. Some websites will also offer further details about what criteria were used in producing your rating.