Issue 10 - July 2020
Welcome to the 10th issue of the NatHERS Star newsletter. In these challenging times, it is important we look out for each other and be kind to ourselves. For the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia, please go to australia.gov.au.
This issue of the newsletter will summarise developments since the last NatHERS Star, including release of the new NatHERS Certificate, software accreditation and the release of a new software tool (Home Energy Rating and Optimisation or Hero). This issue also provides information about the expansion of NatHERS to Whole-of-Home and new resources available on the NatHERS website.
The NatHERS team, like many of you, has been adapting to a new way of working, with a greater reliance on online and video conferencing platforms. With this in mind, some information about webinars and online training materials is also included in this issue.
CSIRO have been working on engaging online with a range of webinars. There is one coming up soon titled ‘Energy Rating Tools into the Future’, looking at the current period of rapid innovation in energy rating software tools. Tune in to hear about the latest NatHERS accredited energy rating software tool information from Dennis Claridge (Energy Inspection), Nick Bishop (Hero) and Anthony Wright (CSIRO). Anthony will also be presenting on the new cloud-based version of AccuRate. It’s a FREE event that will cover essential tool updates and where their future development is headed.
If you are an accredited assessor, the webinar is eligible for one Continuous Professional Development (CPD) point through your Assessor Accrediting Organisation (AAO). Recognition of CPD may attract a charge. More information on CPD for this event can be found at your AAO’s website.
Date: Wednesday 29 July 2020
Time: 12:30 pm start. Please logon from 12:15 pm
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
*charges may apply for recognition of CPD points.
Sign up to the CSIRO newsletter to get all the latest Energy rating news.
National Construction Code (NCC) 2019
On 1 May 2020, the transition period for adopting NCC 2019 provisions ended and all provisions are now in effect. There are some variations to the NCC 2019 requirements in different states and territories so it is important to check which regulations apply within your jurisdiction.
Updated software tools
New versions of NatHERS accredited software have recently been accredited. The new versions are all based on the Chenath Engine 3.21. While the older versions of the software (based on the Chenath Engine 3.13) remain accredited until 31 July 2020, assessors have been encouraged to adopt the new versions of software as soon as possible. From 1 August 2020, only the new versions of the software will be accredited.
As of 1 May, assessors have been required to adhere to the NCC 2019 split heating and cooling load limits (refer to ABCB Standard). The new versions of the software include a pop-up reminder about this provision, while some of the older versions do not have this feature.
You can see the full list of NatHERS accredited software here.
A new NatHERS Certificate format
In April 2020, a new NatHERS Certificate was released, following revisions to improve its usability and structure. Refreshed guidance on the Certificate is now available on the NatHERS Certificate website.
The new NatHERS Certificate has come into use as assessors have transitioned to the new software tools (those based on Chenath Engine version 3.21). The new Certificate will completely replace the old Universal Certificate for new ratings after 31 July 2020. Until that time, either Certificate can be used to demonstrate compliance to NCC 2016 or NCC 2019. After 31 July 2020, assessors will not be able to generate a NatHERS Certificate using the old software versions (those based on Chenath Engine version 3.13) without a written request from the relevant regulatory authority.
New NatHERS Software Tool Accredited
The Home Energy Rating and Optimisation (Hero) software tool has achieved NatHERS software accreditation to become the Scheme’s fourth accredited software tool. Hero meets all accuracy requirements for accreditation under the 2019 Software Accreditation Protocol.
Assessor Accrediting Organisation (AAO) Protocol updates
The AAO Protocol is undergoing a comprehensive review. A new version is expected to be released by the end of 2020. In the meantime, an amendment to Section 3 (Assessor Accreditation) of the AAO Protocol has been implemented, including:
- updated award names for the new Certificate IV in Home Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
- a revised process for accredited assessors to obtain accreditation in an additional software tool.
These changes took effect on 7 July 2020.
NatHERS is being expanded to include Whole-of-Home assessments
Soon NatHERS will include information about the energy performance of appliances (heating and cooling appliances, hot water, lighting, pool/spa pumps and on-site energy generation and storage) and information about the overall energy performance of the home (thermal performance combined with appliances).
Expanding NatHERS to assess and rate the energy performance of the whole home will help consumers to lower energy bills and create a home that is more comfortable and resilient.
These changes support the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, and its Addendum. The Trajectory was agreed in 2019 by Energy Ministers, and is a national plan to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions from Australia’s residential and commercial buildings sector.
The Trajectory identified that NatHERS should be expanded to offer nationally accredited Whole-of-Home tools to support future requirements in the NCC expected in 2022, and be leveraged to support ratings for existing homes.
For more information about the NCC energy efficiency work for residential buildings, see the Australian Building Codes Board website.
Online training material now available
Building industry professionals can now access new online training materials at https://www.energy.gov.au/business/energy-efficiency-skills-and-training/energy-efficiency-training
While there was already a range of training resources available on the website, which may still be relevant, new content has been added about online training under the following headings:
- Video demonstrations for trade professionals
- Continuing professional development
By providing a single reference point for these training resources, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) is aiming to support industry as it deals with many of the challenges presented by COVID-19.
To make sure these materials remain relevant and current to industry, these resources will be reviewed regularly, with additional resources added over time. Please pass this information on to relevant building industry professionals who may value additional support during this time.
Sustainable House Day
Sustainable House Day will be virtual this year, to be held on Sunday 20 September 2020. This unique peer to peer education is a valuable resource for anyone looking for inspiration and ideas for sustainable living.
Visit https://sustainablehouseday.com/ to get involved.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
The Government’s response to COVID-19 is continuing to evolve based on information and feedback from businesses and the community. As circumstances change, the Government will continue to work together with states and territories on identifying additional measures of support.
In addition to significant Commonwealth measures, state and territory governments have also implemented measures to support jobs and support businesses in their own jurisdictions. The Business.gov.au address below links to relevant state government sites.
For specific information regarding the economic stimulus measures, factsheets are available via treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.
For business specific information, advice and support please visit business.gov.au.