In 2007, Kyko Group purchased 193 North Quay, a 10-story office building located in Brisbane’s legal precinct. Following engagement with CIM, 193 North Quay increased its NABERS rating from zero to five.
The building was originally constructed in the 1970s, long before environmental concerns were a significant consideration in commercial real estate—so you can imagine how efficiently it consumed energy three decades later.
Back in 2007, sustainability was still an emerging issue within the industry. While building owners were aware that sustainability considerations were becoming important, they didn’t have a clear path forward. The Australian government offered guidance by way of then-voluntary NABERS ratings, which provided a standardised scale to measure energy efficiency. Initially, NABERS ratings were just that: a standardised metric to inform consumers. In 2010, NABERS ratings were required for office buildings that were being sold or advertising large areas for lease. This changed things up dramatically.
Results at a glance
star lift in NABERS rating
drop in base building energy costs
GWh of energy saved
improvement in thermal comfort
Improving a zero-star rating with analytics
Prior to 2010, Kyko Group relied on their appointed Facility Managers to track their energy consumption at 193 North Quay. Their focus was purely on reducing energy expenses, but hadn’t yet zoomed out to view the bigger picture. Fast-forward to 2013, when 193 North Quay unofficially received a NABERS rating of ‘zero’. This triggered Kyko Group into action, with Director Bill Jenkings engaging CIM.
“By the time we started engaging with CIM in 2014, our NABERS rating at 193 North Quay sat at zero. We initially brought on CIM in a consulting role to formulate a plan of works we could undertake to increase that NABERS rating,” Bill told us. “We wanted to improve our sustainability within the NABERS framework and we also wanted to reduce our energy consumption cost.”
Prior to engaging CIM on a more permanent basis, a preliminary assessment was conducted at the site, with a series of recommendations presented to Kyko Group to achieve a higher NABERS rating. As an older building, some refurbishments were identified requiring capital expenditure. These included:
- Upgrades to its Building Management System (BMS) and;
- Installation of Variable Speed Drive (VSD’s) on pumps and fans.
“A stronger NABERS rating gives us an edge over competition. The 5-Star rating has made us very attractive in terms of our sustainability credentials, which we have found are increasingly valued by tenants year on year.”
The road to PEAK energy efficiency
Bill and the other directors at Kyko Group saw the value in CIM’s PEAK Platform right away. However, the contractors and Facility Managers took a little more convincing. “With that change, there was some resistance from the contractors and an initial lack of understanding by the Facility Managers,” explained Bill. “But we persisted with the implementation. We had to get past that first period of change for the teams to really see the advantages.”
The benefit became undeniable when Bill and his team saw consistent reductions in the building’s energy consumption—and the associated energy costs. Since engaging CIM, 193 North Quay has progressively increased its NABERS rating. It jumped from 0 to 2 stars within the first three years of engagement, before continuing to climb. Today, it boasts an ‘Excellent’ 5-Star energy rating, exceeding its target rating of 4-Stars.
The energy consumption graph below illustrates the clear energy savings following CIM’s involvement. The vertical dotted line indicates when the PEAK Platform was implemented (in early 2015). The orange line shows the indicative energy consumption if 193 North Quay had maintained its original trajectory, compared with the blue vertical bars which show actual consumption metrics.
Bill describes easy-to-read visuals like these as a true turning point: “We were getting regular progress from CIM on energy savings based on their continuous monitoring, which was good, but it’s one thing to make a saving across a short period of time. When we had multiple periods and could see that the trend was very clear, and that the reduction in energy consumption was the new normal, that’s when we truly understood the power of the PEAK Platform. As time went on, it became more and more evident.”
Some of the tangible gains achieved by CIM’s PEAK Platform at 193 North Quay include:
- Thermal comfort: 17% increase
- Energy reduction: 32.3% base building energy reduction
- Detection and resolution: more than 280 actions have been identified and resolved in relation to building performance, BMS, and large equipment lifecycle fault
As of 2022, 193 North Quay has achieved a 5-Star NABERS rating, representing a total improvement of five stars since partnering with CIM and implementing the PEAK Platform. Kyko Group also achieved ROI in just 18 months. This is despite incurring separate costs over this period to upgrade the BMS and older equipment. The energy savings achieved by the PEAK Platform made this capital expenditure possible. Further, average thermal comfort ratings are up, energy consumption is down, and tenant satisfaction has jumped.
With no significant CAPEX investment, Kyko Group and CIM have achieved outstanding results for 193 North Quay through continuous maintenance and optimisation.
Higher NABERS rating delivers higher value
We asked Bill to describe the benefits of a higher NABERS rating from the perspective of Kyko Group. The benefits, as Bill sees them, can be separated between the short and long-term.
- In the short-term, the most valuable benefits come in the form of increased tenant renewals and the attracting of new tenants when vacancies open up. Put simply, “a stronger NABERS rating gives us an edge over competition,” Bill says. “The 5-Star rating has made us very attractive in terms of our sustainability credentials, which we have found are increasingly valued by tenants year on year.”
- Over the long-term, we are benefited by the growth in value of Kyko Group’s asset portfolio. A higher NABERS rating builds value in two key ways: it indicates more efficient consumption of resources, which means lower outgoing costs and higher profitability and they are viewed more favourably by potential investors.
Apart from the expected benefits, there were some surprises in store, too. Bill explains: “CIM’s PEAK Platform became a point of engagement amongst the Facility Management team, which we’ve found quite beneficial. It also made us look at our building in a bit more detail, analyse it, and understand it on a deeper level.”
Bill also credits CIM with shifting the topic of building analytics to one that is user-friendly and digestible. Building owners aren’t necessarily engineers, and while they generally understand the core requirements of NABERS and efficient energy consumption, it can be easy to get lost in the detail of it all. “I want to give credit to CIM,” Bill told us. “They’ve come up with a platform that is easy for building owners to understand in a field that can be highly technical.”