Homeowners and builders: Are you building or renovating a home?
If you are building a new home or undertaking a major renovation, a NatHERS Design rating assessment can help you to get the most energy efficient design for your home. This can make your home more comfortable and save you money on your energy bills.
National Construction Code requirements
Building, buying or renovating a house is an important decision. There are many factors to consider such as, budget, location and functionality. But did you know that if you are building a new home or undertaking major renovations, you will likely need to meet minimum state and territory building energy efficiency requirements based on the National Construction Code.
The most common way to meet these requirements is by getting a home energy rating done using the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). A NatHERS Accredited Assessor can conduct your home energy rating and also provide you with advice about how best to design and use your home to reduce its heating and cooling needs. Good design can save you money on your energy bills, while also improving the thermal comfort and resale value of your home.
For more information check the 'Are you building or renovating your home?' fact sheet.
NatHERS In Home assessments
People who want a better understanding of their home’s energy performance can now request a voluntary NatHERS In Home endorsed assessment. This extension of NatHERS enables a home to be assessed without the need for house plans and building specifications. NatHERS In Home endorsed assessments also provide advice for home owners on energy efficiency improvements that could be made to their home.
The transition of NatHERS to offer fully accredited NatHERS In Home assessments is expected to be available from mid-2022.
Find out more about NatHERS In Home assessments.
NatHERS star ratings
NatHERS star ratings provide information about the thermal performance (heating and cooling needs) of a home’s construction. Star ratings are based on information about the home’s design, construction materials and the climate where it is being built.
The energy efficiency of appliances (such as air conditioners) are covered under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) and not measured as part of the NatHERS star rating. However, work is now underway to expand NatHERS to assess and rate the energy performance of the whole home.
NatHERS Star Ratings are conducted by professionals using purpose-built software. Star ratings can be used by homeowners, builders, certifiers, councils and local, state and national governments for a number of purposes, including:
To meet the mandatory energy efficiency requirements for homes and major renovations based on the National Construction Code
To advise home owners, architects and builders on the energy efficiency of various house designs
To advise prospective home buyers on the thermal performance of a home they are interested in buying
For further details on NatHERS star ratings see How NatHERS Star Ratings are calculated.
Getting your new home or renovation assessed for energy efficiency
It is recommended that you use a NatHERS Accredited Assessor to conduct your house energy rating. Accreditation ensures they have completed the relevant training to provide a reliable energy rating for your home.
To find a NatHERS Accredited Assessor, you, your builder or architect can contact one of the three Assessor Accrediting Organisations (AAOs):
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Your NatHERS Accredited Assessor will review your house plans and use NatHERS Accredited Software to model and estimate the ability of your home to remain at a comfortable temperature year-round and the amount of heating or cooling likely to be needed over an average year.
When they have completed your assessment, the assessor will issue a NatHERS Universal Certificate. The certificate will display a star rating between zero and 10 stars, as well as other key energy rating assessment data and modelling outcomes. The Universal Certificate can be used as evidence to satisfy state and territory energy efficiency regulations. You should check specific state and territory building regulations to ensure all specific requirements are met.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home
Regardless of whether it’s a new build or renovation or whether you just want to make some minor adjustments, everyone can improve the energy efficiency of their home. The Your Home website is a free resource with a large amount of information on residential energy efficiency. You can also order the content of the Your Home website in book form.
If you are designing a new home, the Design For Place 7 Star house design project offers free-to-download energy-efficient house designs showcasing the use of sustainable design principles and construction techniques for a range of climate zones across Australia.
Australian Climate Zones
Location has a significant effect on how to best design your home to be energy efficient. Australia has diverse climates, from the hot tropical North, to the much cooler, temperate regions of Tasmania. Energy efficient design needs to respond to these climatic differences. The NatHERS software takes this into account when calculating your energy rating to ensure when comparing across different climate zones, an equitable star rating value is generated. See NatHERS climate zones to view a map of the different zones.