NatHERS News

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Building for 7 stars and beyond - New NatHERS resources now available

Following the recent announcement by Building Ministers to increase minimum energy efficiency requirements in the National Construction Code (NCC), new training examples for 7 stars are now available on the NatHERS website.

Using NatHERS accredited software in different climate zones, the examples (one for each of the four software tools) include modelling and guidance on how to complete a thermal building assessment.

The new factsheet ‘Top Tips for building for 7 Stars’ also shows how reaching a 7 star rating doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Simple design features and material choices make a big difference to efficiency and a home’s energy rating.

For additional inspiration, there is also a new 10 star home case study showcasing best-practice, sustainable design.

The South Australian home sits on a narrow west-facing block. It was designed with a strong emphasis on solar passive features such as orientation, glazing, insulation and thermal mass.

See more tips for sustainable building on the Your Home website.

Image of a wooden porch
Image credit:  Dan Schultz © SUHO

Guidance documents updated

The new Whole of Home Guidance Note now includes important advice to assist assessors undertaking a Whole of Home rating for the first time.

The new Whole of Home 0-100 rating considers energy used for heating, cooling, and appliances, minus the energy generated from solar panels. This gives a useful snapshot of costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

You can also check out the new NatHERS certificates explanatory guide which details the features of the new Whole of Home certificate.
The guide outlines the new performance rating highlighting information available for the first time on the carbon footprint of the home. It also illustrates which appliances have the biggest impact on cost and energy.

Watch for updates via the newsletter on the release of additional technical documents, plus training modules and webinars towards the end of the year.


Sealing up the gaps

Making a home more air tight is one of the simplest ways to increase comfort and reduce energy costs – air leaks can cause 15−25 per cent of winter heat loss in buildings (CSIRO 2015).

Upcoming changes to NatHERS assessments will include voluntary ‘user defined’ air tightness options. This will allow builders to nominate additional draft sealing, with the software then demonstrating the benefits of increased energy efficiency. For the first time, certificates will also show the ‘as designed’ or default air tightness

The new options which encourage assessors and builders to prove how well sealed a home is, could add up to half a star to a NatHERS rating, depending on the design and climate zone. Once a home is complete, builders would be required to get a blower door test to confirm a home’s airtightness.

The updates will align NatHERS with the NCC method for building sealing verification. Taking care to seal external openings and penetrations in a building’s fabric is already part of the NCC’s requirements.

The changes, which are voluntary, and aim to improve energy savings, air quality and thermal comfort, are currently being reviewed before their possible introduction in the future.

Keep an eye on the NatHERS website for technical updates on air tightness.

 

A Photo of  technician testing a houses airtightness
Image credit: The Air Tightness Testing and Measurement Association

Energy rating labels introduced for pool pumps

Did you know, the average pool pump can account for nearly 20 per cent of the electricity used in an Australian household? This is why the Equipment Energy Efficiency program, now includes swimming pool pumps.

Pumps must meet newly regulated minimum energy performance standards and display an Energy Rating Label when being offered for sale.

The new requirements replace a previous voluntary program and will help householders to easily identify and purchase an efficient pool pump.

Manufacturers and suppliers must test models against an Australian Standard and have their products registered for sale within Australia from 1 October 2022.

Learn more about swimming pool pumps on the Energy Ratings website including technical details, fact sheets, brochures, compliance information and a webinar.

New Mandatory Energy Rating Label
New Mandatory Energy Rating Label

Project Officers wanted

We are looking for people to join our team to work on exciting initiatives which are set to improve the energy performance and productivity of the residential building sector. The roles will focus on supporting the delivery and operations of NatHERS.

To apply and for more information click here.