Commercial buildings projects can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) for improving the energy efficiency of offices, hotels and shopping centres. You can improve efficiency by:

  • updating or installing new equipment
  • changing operational practices
  • changing energy sources
  • promoting energy conservation.

When to use this method

This method may be suitable for your business if:

  • the commercial buildings are eligible to receive a NABERS rating
  • you're planning to make energy improvements that will increase the NABERS rating by at least one star.


Before you plan or register your project, make sure you read and understand the legislative requirements and the method.


Eligible buildings

This method only applies to existing buildings.

To be eligible, buildings must be rateable under NABERS and be:

  • offices
  • hotels
  • shopping centres.

This also applies to mixed use buildings.

To obtain legal right to run the project, you may have to get consent from:

  • building owners
  • tenants
  • building managers.

You also must meet the general eligibility requirements for the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 3 of the Act
  • Section 5, section 7, and section 9 of the method


If a project is part of a government program, it's not eligible under this method. This includes:

Method requirements

Project activities must improve your NABERS rating by at least one star. The method doesn't advise which activities to undertake to achieve this. This gives you flexibility to choose activities for your project.

Activities could include:

  • upgrading equipment that uses energy – such as replacing old computers in an office building with new energy efficient models
  • changing how energy use equipment is controlled or operated – such as installing lighting control systems that dim lights in response to daylight levels
  • changing to lower emission fuels – such as switching from electric to gas water heating
  • changing the building shell – such as installing energy efficient window glazing
  • promoting energy efficiency to your occupants – such as encouraging your tenants to turn off their lights and computers at night
  • modifying, installing, removing or replacing energy-consuming or electricity-generating equipment – such as upgrading lighting systems or replacing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems with more efficient technologies and designs
  • changing how energy-consuming equipment is controlled or operated – such as installing motion sensors or sensor lights.
Relevant legislation
  • Section 7 of the method

You must engage an accredited NABERS assessor.

Relevant legislation
  • Section 13(f) of the rule
  • Part 1 and section 16 of the method

7 years.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 5 of the Act

Abatement is calculated by comparing the emissions after a project’s activities with an adjusted emissions baseline by using the NABERS energy ratings and tools​.

Abatement is calculated by:

  • having an accredited NABERS assessor calculate an initial NABERS energy rating or using an existing NABERS energy rating
  • developing an adjusted baseline to reflect business-as-usual energy efficiency improvements since the initial NABERS rating was calculated
  • estimating and calculating emissions associated with an adjusted baseline NABERS rating using a NABERS energy rating reverse calculator
  • subtracting the calculated baseline emissions from the measured emissions that occurred during the measurement period.

You must also take into account any:

  • emissions produced by electricity and fuel consumption in the building or buildings in your project
  • renewable electricity generated and consumed on site.

Projects must meet the minimum abatement threshold in at least one measurement period. You earn ACCUs if your project achieves a 1-star NABERS improvement over its baseline energy rating. Then, you can earn ACCUs for future measurement periods.

Relevant legislation
  • Section 7 and Part 4 of the method

You must monitor any renewable electricity generated and consumed onsite at a building.

You must also meet general monitoring requirements of the Act.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Section 33 of the method

Your project must meet specific record-keeping requirements.

This includes:

  • relevant NABERS energy rating reports
  • abatement calculations
  • building location
  • disposal records for energy-consuming or generating equipment and building components.

You must also meet record-keeping requirements of the Act and the rule.

Relevant legislation
  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Part 17 of the rule
  • Section 31 of the method

The reporting period for your project can be either 12 or 24 months. This includes one or two 12-month measurement periods.

A measurement period is:

  • when a building’s energy consumption must be measured
  • the 12-month NABERS rating period for that building.

You must also include specific information in each offsets report:

  • building location and activities undertaken
  • NABERS energy ratings for each building
  • abatement calculations for the reporting period.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 6 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule
  • Section 5 and section 29 of the method

We provide you with an audit schedule when your project's declared.

You must provide audit reports according to this schedule.

We schedule at least 3 audits and additional audits can be triggered.

For more information on audit requirements, refer to our audit information.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 19 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule