Issue 4 - June 2017
Welcome to the June 2017 edition of the NatHERS Star. It has been another busy 6 months and there is a lot to tell you.
In this edition we cover NatHERS activities from the last 6 months, including the Annual Stakeholder Update, key projects completed and underway, outcomes of the NatHERS Steering Committee meetings and some other titbits we thought you might find interesting.
This is the fourth edition of the NatHERS Star and we hope you are finding it a useful and interesting resource. If there is anything else you want to see in future editions – please email us at email@example.com.
NatHERS Administrator Update
Cert IV and UC reviews
The reviews of both the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment and Universal Certificate (UC) have now been completed. Many NatHERS stakeholders were involved in these reviews, either via the surveys, which attracted 275 responses, or via face-to-face discussions. These consultations provided a rich source of information that has now fed into the consultant’s recommendations. The NatHERS Steering Committee will consider the recommendations at their July 2017 meeting.
Requesting NatHERS Climate data
The NatHERS Administrator frequently gets requests for climate zone data, particularly from researchers. To make the process of sharing data clearer, we have recently released a guidance note for requesting NatHERS climate zone data. You can find the note on our website here.
NatHERS Software Accreditation
In the last edition of the NatHERS Star, we put out a call for submissions on the Software Accreditation Protocol review. All submissions are now being considered as part of the Protocol update process. Currently work is underway to improve the software testing procedures, with the aim to have the new Protocol completed by March 2018.
Windows in NatHERS Software
In June 2017 the NatHERS Steering Committee agreed to implement a new custom windows library builder to improve the input of Australian Fenestration and Rating Council (AFRC) windows into the NatHERS custom windows library. This library builder will be completed in coming months and will be introduced following discussions with the software developers. The NatHERS Administrator will also continue to work with stakeholders through the NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee to progress the other improvements to windows identified as a priority by stakeholders.
The Application of NatHERS Software in Northern Australian Climates
Buildings in Northern Australian climates have different requirements to keep their occupants at a comfortable temperature. Historically, concerns have been raised that NatHERS software does not appropriately value traditional hot climate house design in tropical and hot climates. To address these concerns the NatHERS Administrator commissioned a study into NatHERS software in northern climates. This study found NatHERS software provides significant reward for traditional hot climate design techniques and takes into account the ability of a house design to promote air movement through the house when calculating the design's star rating. You can read the full report here.
Thanks to you
Thank you to everyone who has provided input on a number of projects over the last 6 months. Your feedback is invaluable to the continued improvement of the Scheme.
2017 NatHERS Annual Stakeholder Update
The NatHERS Annual Stakeholder Update was held in Melbourne on Tuesday 16 May 2017. About 60 people attended representing assessors, training organisations, peak bodies, the building industry, software providers, state and territory governments, and the NatHERS Administrator. Feedback confirmed that it was a useful day for those involved and it was a great opportunity to flesh out some issues facing the Scheme into the future.
The day began with discussion of progress for NatHERS over the last year. Milestones included
improvements in the quality of NatHERS assessments, better communication, the full accreditation of BERS Pro and more data being available that provides much needed information about the Scheme.
Discussion then moved on to the future of the Scheme, looking at the high-level goals and objectives of NatHERS. Discussion included consideration of whole-of-house assessment, the role of NatHERS as a design tool, its use for regulation and its role in disclosure of energy efficiency for existing buildings. All of these things will be considered in the future planning of the Scheme and by the new stakeholder consultation group that will be convened shortly.
Finally, a priority setting activity highlighted three key priorities for attendees: improved as-built compliance certification, requirements to have accredited assessors across jurisdictions and a whole-of-house approach to assessments. While many of these priorities are outside the current scope of NatHERS, the NatHERS Administrator is engaging with the relevant parties to consider these issues.
NatHERS in numbers
Did you know that around 20,000 Universal Certificates are generated each month? All these assessments can provide interesting insights into the building industry in Australia. The CSIRO have recently used Universal Certificate data from BERS Pro and AccuRate for the period of December 2016 to June 2017 to generate a number of graphs. Below, a ‘bubble graph’ shows common construction systems across Australia. You can see a breakdown of individual states and territories here.
This next graph shows the breakdown of the difference in star ratings by state and territory using the same dataset. As you can see, there are big differences between ratings in different jurisdictions. How does your state or territory compare?
The final graph shows the conditioned area by state and territory, which gives an idea of the size of class 1 buildings across jurisdictions. It is interesting to see how the size of the conditioned area varies greatly across jurisdictions.
NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Update
Since the last NatHERS Star Newsletter, the TAC has discussed the following items:
- The NatHERS Administrator will work with the AFRC on current windows issues, which includes an update of the new library builder and joint communication from the NatHERS Administrator and AFRC regarding WERS and AFRC library discrepancies.
- AFRC to provide the WERS protocol for rounding to software providers.
- NatHERS Administrator to place guidance for Edge Batts and Foils on its forward work plan.
- BERS Pro and FirstRate5 will introduce a choice of slab thickness in their software to align with AccuRate’s slab functionality.
- Waffle pod values in Chenath and guidance on modelling for assessors.
- Roof colour detail on the Universal Certificate.
- Progress on the new Software Accreditation Protocol.
The next TAC meeting will be in late September 2017.
Get to know Your Home and Design for Place
Did you know that Your Home is 16 years old this year? Your Home is Australia’s most comprehensive guide to environmentally friendly homes and was the first Australian publication on sustainable building practices aimed at both householders and building professionals. Written by a range of subject matter expects, Your Home gives information on all elements of a home from the original design to how to run it most efficiently.
The first edition was published in 2001 and looked very different to the current version available now. It included a range of resources for different audiences, including a separate consumer guide and technical manual, and a CD-ROM. Over the last 16 years Your Home has gone through many updates and the current 5th edition is available at yourhome.gov.au or you can purchase it in hardcopy here.
With the aim of helping people to build more energy efficient homes, free 7 star house plans were made available in 2016, in line with a reprint of the 5th edition of Your Home. These designs are known as Design for Place and offer all the specifications and plans needed to achieve a minimum 7 star NatHERS energy rating. There are variations available for different block sizes and specifications are available for 9 climate zones. There are even suggestions on how to increase the rating to 9 stars. All information and plans are available here.
Who to ask about what
We receive all kinds of queries in the NatHERS Administrator mailbox and although we enjoy hearing from you, and are always happy to send your enquiries in the right direction, we thought it might be good to let you know what kind of enquiries we can answer and where to go for others.
Contact the NatHERS Administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org for:
- Advice on how to become a NatHERS Assessor.
- Issues for the NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee or Steering Committee.
- Questions about how the Scheme works including accreditation of AAOs, software providers or updates to the Chenath Engine.
- Clarification on any content on the website www.nathers.gov.au.
Contact your state and territory building authority for:
- Issues to do with compliance with the building code.
- Questions about the reference building verification method.
The Australian Building Codes Board have a handy list of who the relevant body is in each jurisdiction which you can find here
Over the past few years the NatHERS Administrator has undertaken a trademarking process to protect the NatHERS logo, name and acronym from misuse. The NatHERS logo was registered as a trade mark with IP Australia in 2012 and the more detailed logo used on the Universal Certificate in 2015. Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme and NatHERS have both been trademarked as of June 2016. Please note the NatHERS logo cannot be used without approval from your Assessor Accrediting Organisation (for accredited assessors) or from the NatHERS Administrator. For guidance on how the NatHERS logo can be used, visit our website. If you are unclear about the usage of any NatHERS trademark materials, please contact your Assessor Accrediting Organisation or email the NatHERS Administrator at email@example.com.