NatHERS Accredited Software
All energy rating software used to produce NatHERS energy ratings must be accredited in accordance with the NatHERS 2019 Software Protocol.
The NatHERS Software Accreditation Protocol outlines the requirements and processes for the accreditation of new software tools and for updates to new versions of previously accredited tools. This ensures that software tools meet standard requirements and produce consistent results in the assessment of energy loads and when rating dwellings.
There are currently four software tools accredited for use under NatHERS, all based on the CSIRO calculation engine, Chenath (v3.21):
- AccuRate Sustainability v2.4.0 (3.21)
- FirstRate5 v5.3.2a (3.21)
- BERS Pro v18.104.22.168 (3.21)
- HERO v2.0 (3.21)
For general information about the accreditation requirements for NatHERS software, see the NatHERS Software Protocol – Key requirements page.
Beta versions of software tools now available
The energy efficiency provisions in the National Construction Code (NCC) are expected to be updated this year.
NatHERS accredited software tools need to incorporate new features and data sets to align with these changes. Beta versions of NatHERS software tools can be downloaded to try out some of the new features including:
- New climate files
- Updated star bands
- Thermal bridging in steel framed dwellings and
- Proposed heating and cooling load limits.
Industry can use these tools to gauge the star rating impacts on specific types of dwellings.
The NatHERS Administrator has conducted preliminary quality checks on the following Beta versions of software tools:
- BERS Pro Release v22.214.171.124 BETA 5 (thermal bridging and proposed heating and cooling load limits will be incorporated in subsequent release)
- HERO (coming soon)
- FirstRate5 (coming soon)
- AccuRate (coming soon).
All material to support commercial tool providers to develop accredited NatHERS tools incorporating the proposed NCC changes will be available by 1 September 2022.
This will support commercial tool availability before the end of an expected NCC transition period.
*Please note these tools are for research and testing purposes only. They cannot be used for regulatory purposes.
2020 Software Transitional Arrangements - now over
All NatHERS accredited software and NatHERS Certificates have undergone changes in 2020. This is to reflect changes in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 and to incorporate improvements in the underpinning Chenath Engine.
NatHERS accreditation for software based on Chenath Engine (v3.13) was extended until 31 July 2020. These were:
- AccuRate Sustainability v2.3 (3.13) SP4
- FirstRate5 v5.2.11 (3.13)
- BERS Pro v126.96.36.199c (3.13)
These software tool versions are no longer accredited and must not be used for demonstrating compliance to the NCC NatHERS pathway, unless a written request from the relevant regulatory authority has been obtained.
From 1 August 2020, one of the two new NatHERS Certificates must be used for demonstrating compliance to the NCC NatHERS pathway. After this date, regulatory authorities will be able to identify compliant NatHERS Software by the use of the new NatHERS Certificate.
CSIRO’s Chenath Calculation Engine
Although it is not a requirement of accreditation, currently all NatHERS Accredited Software tools are underpinned by CSIRO’s Chenath Engine. The Chenath Engine is used by each software tool to perform the calculations and modelling supporting each home energy rating.
The Chenath Engine has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and is based on decades of scientific research on the way buildings operate in Australian conditions. It uses climate data and average user behaviour, among other factors, to predict annual totals of hourly heating and cooling energy requirements for residential dwellings. More information on the Chenath engine calculations and assumptions can be found in the Chenath repository.
The Chenath Engine was validated in 2004 against the international standard ANSI/ASHRAE 140-2001. Results produced by the Engine were compared against the results from a set of international 'reference' programs and were found to meet the standard. For more information read the Validation of the AccuRate Simulation Engine Using BESTEST.
Including new materials in NatHERS software product and material information databases
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) periodically meets to consider whether any new materials and products should be included in the extensive product and material information databases built into each of the NatHERS Accredited Software tools. As with software updates, the TAC’s recommendations are provided to the NatHERS Steering Committee for approval before the new materials can be included.
If you would like your product or material to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming database update, please contact the NatHERS Administrator page.
Before applying, you should read the following documents to confirm your product is not similar to an existing generic brand already included in the software:
- Process for including (the properties of) new materials into NatHERS Accredited Software
- Material Properties Used in NatHERS Software Tools