Issue 2 - June 2016
Welcome to the second edition of the Nationwide House Energy Ratings Scheme (NatHERS) Star!
Firstly, thank you to those readers who provided feedback on the first newsletter. We’re glad that you are finding The NatHERS Star to be a useful source of information.
We are aiming to make this newsletter as informative as possible for our readers. If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles please send them through. Also, feel free to forward this newsletter on to anyone who you think might be interested in subscribing.
With caretaker conventions in mind, this edition of the NatHERS Star provides a succinct summary of activities undertaken by the NatHERS administrator, information on new communications resources and a really interesting Assessor Showcase.
Article ideas and subscription requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NatHERS Administrator team
NatHERS Administrator Update
Since the last update, the NatHERS Administrator has continued to deliver reforms to the program in line with activities in its 2015-18 NatHERS Strategic Plan, and in response to decisions made by state and territory and Commonwealth government representatives with oversight for NatHERS operation.
Activities that have taken place in the last six months include:
hosting of a Technical Advisory Committee meeting and conducting a process for that committee to prioritise potential NatHERS software update projects;
preliminary accreditation of BERS Pro (v220.127.116.11 (3.13) and removal of earlier versions of all software
the conclusion of transitional arrangements allowing eligible assessors to maintain their NatHERS accreditation, while attaining a Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment qualification.
revision of the NatHERS Assessor Accreditation Protocol
finalisation of the House Energy Efficiency Inspection Project report
complete review and revision of the NatHERS website
advancement of modelling to review the accuracy of NatHERS Climate Files
commencement of a review of NatHERS Governance and operational arrangements
undertaking a trademarking process to protect the NatHERS logo, name and acronym from misuse
progress in revising and updating the NatHERS Software Accreditation Protocol
developing further guidance to help assessors complete assessments
progressing residential building measures from the National Energy Productivity Plan
hosting of a NatHERS Update to inform stakeholders about NatHERS Administrator activities
Development of a NatHERS overview video
Development of NatHERS fact sheets to address some commonly asked questions
Updated AAO protocol
The NatHERS Administrator published an updated Protocol for Assessor Accrediting Organisations (AAOs) in March of this year, which comes into effect on 1 July 2016. The current Protocol is operating during the interim period.
The updated Protocol improves clarity and certainty around the roles and responsibilities of AAOs and the assessors accredited to use NatHERS software for regulatory purposes.
There are new, clearer processes and requirements for assessor qualification and accreditation and the quality assurance system. Amendments have also been made to AAO annual reporting requirements and the Administrator’s power to review AAOs.
The NatHERS Administrator thanks the AAOs for their close collaboration in developing this new Protocol
New look NatHERS website
Check out our NatHERS website which has recently had a major refresh!
It has been updated with new, easy to read content, images and extra resources. With separate sections for different stakeholder groups, we hope you find it useful, engaging and easier to navigate. For any feedback, please contact us via email@example.com
We have recently produced a short video for a general audience to build awareness of NatHERS and to promote energy efficient design. This 2 minute video introduces NatHERS, covers the principles of sustainable design and aims to generate a desire for higher rated homes. The video will be useful for anyone being introduced to NatHERS and may also be helpful for assessors when trying to explain the benefits of the services that they provide.
Watch the video here.
NEW NatHERS Factsheets
In response to common queries, the NatHERS Administrator has produced three new factsheets.
Are you building or renovating your home? is for home builders and renovators and outlines the steps required to get a home NatHERS rated. It also highlights the benefits of using a NatHERS Accredited Assessor and provides advice on improving the thermal comfort of a home.
Why should I become a NatHERS Accredited Assessor? outlines the many benefits to being NatHERS accredited such as on-going support, technical assistance, training and updates on industry developments.
How do I become a NatHERS Accredited Assessor? explains the 3 step process required to become NatHERS accredited.
These factsheets are available via the links above or by searching the NatHERS website.
Why not print some off for your office or clients
NatHERS in the News!
In March, an article was published in the Energy and Buildings Journal considering the effectiveness of NatHERS as a modelling tool to achieve higher energy efficiency and lower running costs for households. The paper, written by Timothy O’Leary, Martin Belusko, David Whaley and Frank Bruno, compared two groups of houses in Adelaide – the first in Mawson Lakes, where the houses were older and had lower star ratings, and the second in Lochiel Park, built between 2010 and 2015, and with a minimum rating of 7.5 stars.
Results showed that on average, the Lochiel Park houses used 60% less heating and cooling energy compared to the Mawson Lakes homes. The paper concluded that, even after taking into consideration variations such as occupant behaviour, NatHERS achieves its objectives and provides environmental and economic benefits to homeowners and builders in terms of energy requirements and performance. The authors also noted the need for further extensive research into national energy consumption.
O’Leary, T et al. 2016 ‘Comparing the energy performance of Australian houses using NatHERS modelling against measured household energy consumption for heating and cooling’, Energy and Buildings vol. 119, pp. 172-18
2016 NatHERS Stakeholder Update
On May 25th, the NatHERS Administrator hosted a Stakeholder Update at the Holiday Inn, Melbourne Airport. The event updated stakeholders on the past year of NatHERS activities, sought valuable feedback and provided an opportunity to plan for the future. This year, attendees included representatives from the AAOs, research bodies, government departments, software developers and training organisations. The agenda covered updates on the progress against the 2015-16 NatHERS strategic plan, NatHERS communication activities, software changes, training and certification development and energy efficiency policy developments more broadly. Stakeholder suggestions will be used to inform 2016/17 activities under the NatHERS Strategic Plan.
BERS Pro Accreditation
Energy Inspection was granted short-term accreditation for the newest version of BERS Pro, v18.104.22.168 (3.13) in April this year. The software was accredited for use for energy ratings from 1st May 2016.
The software underwent a rigorous process of testing and development in order to ensure its quality and compliance with the NatHERS Software Protocol. Future minor upgrades to BERS Pro using the same engine will retain accreditation with a suffix change. This is subject to approval by the Administrator.
BERS Pro software can be purchased from the Energy Inspection website, where you can also find information on training and technical support. For further information on NatHERS software accreditation, you can visit our website.
Assessor Showcase – Reach for the Stars!
In our first Assessor Showcase we are featuring David Baggs of Integreco Consulting. We asked David what motivated him to become a NatHERS assessor, what tips he has for conducting assessments and whether he had any memorable experiences he’s like to share. Enjoy!
If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Assessor Showcase, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Baggs – CEO of Integreco Consulting
Chartered Architect, FRAIA, ABSA, Green Star AP, LEED AP. Vice President, Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS)
Why did you become an assessor?
My ultimate motivation is always to reduce environmental impacts to the fullest extent possible. Even before we were aware of climate change impacts it was about protecting the environment for me.
I was working with the CHEETAH tool before it was even released as a NatHERS tool and before it was incorporated into the Building Code. I first started trying to calculate energy performance of my buildings in 1984 using the ASHRAE fundamentals and steady state analysis and a single instantaneous heat flow calculation took 4 days longhand using a pen and calculator. When I found out about CHEETAH and then later starting using CHEENath and later still the first NatHERS tool, you would enter the data, push the ‘GO’ button and come back in the morning for the results. I still marvel at the split second feedback we get now. Speeds increased again when we started using AccuRate and then even more when we started using BERS and BERSPRo.
I used the NatHERS tool in my own projects and architectural design practice (Initially David Baggs and Associates and now Integreco) doing just one project at a time. Only later did I become a registered NatHERS assessor. I did this to increase the speed and number of projects I could influence for the better and to multiply environmental outcomes.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s very much a mix of different types and stages of projects, client and team meetings, quality assurance and emails…way, way too many emails!!!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Absolutely seeing the finished product built and the knowledge that the entire project has a massively reduced energy consumption and improved comfort profile, for every occupant, for the life of the building and that the projects’ climate impacts have been reduced to the best of our abilities.
What tips and tricks would you suggest to others to excel at being an assessor?
My number one tip for any assessor is you MUST be involved up front in the formative stages of the design process. Get the passive design and materials fundamentals right with the design team and make everybody’s jobs easier and the project more cost efficient…it’s the only way.
Any memorable experiences you would like to share?
Yes…the day I came across a website with low cost, high quality, aerial photographs and decided to plot some of our projects on an aerial of Sydney. I soon realised we had been instrumental (obviously along with the development teams of those projects), in making a large part of the new development in the entire western corridor more energy efficient and sustainable, including through Victoria Park/Green Square, Camperdown, Gladesville, Shepherd’s Bay, Putney, Rhodes, Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush Bay/Newington, Wentworth Point, Ermington, Meadowbank and Carlingford. Knowing what amazingly high average results we achieve and the literally thousands of dwellings certified in multi-unit and mixed use developments, was a very proud and satisfying moment and remains so to this day.