Issue 5 - December 2017
Welcome to the fifth edition of the NatHERS Star.
In this edition we look back on NatHERS activities from the last six months and look forward to what is on the horizon.
As you will see, the NatHERS Administrator has been hard at work and we are all now going to take a short, restful break over the festive season.
This year’s achievements
This has been another big year for the NatHERS Administrator. We have been working hard to ensure that NatHERS remains a reliable and accurate way of making new homes being built in Australia more comfortable for their inhabitants and helping residents to save on energy bills. Achievements for 2017 include:
- Completed reviews of the NatHERS Universal Certificate and the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment.
- Released a report on NatHERS climate data.
- Released the ‘Guideline for accessing and using NatHERS climate files’.
- Released a Fact Sheet on windows titled ‘How do windows work in NatHERS?’.
- Released the report ‘Application of NatHERS Software in Northern Australian Climates’.
- Established the NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group.
- Received stakeholder feedback and direction through the annual NatHERS Stakeholder Workshop held in May and through a range of stakeholder meetings and workshops.
- Released biannual newsletters and a number of special edition updates throughout the year.
- Responded to many email and phone enquiries.
- Worked with software tool providers to progress bug fixes and minor updates to the NatHERS rating tools
NatHERS Administrator update of key projects
2015-2018 Strategic Plan
An update to the NatHERS Strategic Plan 2015-2018 is now available on the NatHERS website. This update does not seek to re-evaluate the Strategic Plan that was released in August 2015, but rather acknowledge developments since the original Strategic Plan was released in 2015.
2018-2022 Strategic Plan
A new Strategic Plan 2018-2022 is in its final stages of development and due for release on the NatHERS Website in early 2018. This plan has been developed over the last six months through consultation with the new Stakeholder Consultative Group. This new Strategic Plan will come into effect on 1 July 2018.
The NatHERS Administrator works hard to make sure that we engage with our stakeholders effectively. To ensure that we are transparent with our plans, a new Service Charter is now available. This outlines our plans for the rest of the financial year, including meetings, newsletters and other communications products.
NatHERS Assessor Handbook
The NatHERS Assessor Handbook will provide an easy-to-understand guide to help assessors navigate the NatHERS assessment process. The development of this handbook is progressing well and to ensure that information is made available as soon as possible, the first chapters of the handbook will be released online in the first half of 2018. Keep an eye on www.NatHERS.gov.au.
NatHERS Universal Certificate review
Following the recent review of the NatHERS Universal Certificate (the final report is available here) the NatHERS Administrator is working on an updated version of the Certificate. This updated certificate will take all the feedback received as a part of the survey, as well as input from other stakeholders, to ensure that a new version fulfils the needs of users. The new certificate will be released in line with the 2019 software updates.
2019 update to Chenath
To improve the stability and consistency of NatHERS software, the decision was made to align major software updates with the 3 year cycle adopted by the National Construction Code, where possible. There are a range of upgrades being considered for the next update to the Chenath Engine in 2019. More information will be made available about these changes as it becomes available.
NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Update
Applications for TAC membership closed on the 30th of November. The new Committee will be announced early in the New Year, with the first meeting to be held in February 2018.
The final meeting of the 2016/17 committee included discussion on:
- The update to the NatHERS Universal Certificate
- The NatHERS Assessor Handbook
- The NatHERS Software Accreditation Protocol Review
- Revised Terms of Reference and expression of interest for membership
- Proposed 2019 updates to Chenath
- Potential solutions to issues with windows.
NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group (SCG) Update
The first meeting of the NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group (SCG) was held on 3 October 2017. The SCG provides a forum for stakeholders and industry to provide feedback to the NatHERS Steering Committee and NatHERS Administrator to inform the ongoing development of NatHERS. The initial focus for the SCG will be providing input into the development of the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. You can find further information, including the terms of reference and list of members here.
Review of the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment
Following on from our review of the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment, ARTIBUS is currently undertaking a review of the Home Sustainability Training Package. The scope of this review includes the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment - a requirement for assessor accreditation.
A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been established to oversee the review and provide technical input. The TAG includes representatives from employers, industry, Registered Training Organisations, and the NatHERS Administrator.
The review is currently working on establishing the basis for rebuilding the qualification and unit structure. The aim is to better align the qualifications with current and emerging work practices. An occupational analysis will form the basis of the Draft Pack 1 – Qualification and Units, available for stakeholder consultation by February 2018. More information about the ongoing review is available on the ARTIBUS website.
Have your say on Your Home
The Commonwealth Government is conducting a brief survey to identify stakeholder experiences with Your Home and potential areas for improvement. Your feedback will help to ensure that Your Home continues to be the go-to resource for sustainable home building advice, and we would be grateful if you could take a moment to complete the survey. The survey closes on 20 January 2018.
Your Home is a comprehensive guide that provides independent factual advice to designers, builders and consumers on how to design, construct and renovate environmentally sustainable homes. It consists of a website (www.yourhome.gov.au) and a technical manual that is available in hard copy and as a downloadable resource.
Residential Buildings Trajectory
The COAG Energy Council is advancing the energy performance of residential buildings through the development of a trajectory for low energy homes. This will also consider possible changes to the National Construction Code in 2022 and a whole-of-house approach to verifying compliance. The proposed trajectory and changes to the National Construction Code in 2022 will be provided to the COAG Energy Council for consideration in December 2018.
The Department of the Environment and Energy, along with state and territory departments, held an inaugural meeting of a Stakeholder Reference Group on 5 December 2017 to inform and support this work. The next teleconference will be held in February 2018 with meetings to be held on a monthly basis. If you would like to be part of the discussions, please email NEPPSecretariat@environment.gov.au.
Get to know the NatHERS Administrator
Many of you probably know the NatHERS Administrator very well, but for those who don’t, we thought we would take this opportunity to give you a better idea of who we are and what we do on a day-to-day basis.
Currently the dedicated NatHERS Administrator team is made up of five hardworking people in an office in Canberra. We are responsible for a wide range of things that broadly fit under four main activities:
- Ensuring that tools provide accurate and useful energy ratings. This includes managing Chenath engine updates, facilitating software accreditation, planning changes to tools and managing the processes for software tool updates.
- Providing support and resources to ensure that assessors are skilled and able to deliver accurate and reliable assessments. This includes working with Assessor Accrediting Organisations and developing resources.
- Engaging with industry, government, consumers and other stakeholders. This includes regular communication activities such as newsletters, annual workshops and answering enquiries, as well as delivering one-off communication materials such as the NatHERS videos and fact sheets.
- Managing, informing and supporting relationships with key stakeholders. This includes regular meetings with the Australian Building Codes Board, CSIRO, Assessor Accrediting Organisations, Software Tool Providers, the NatHERS Steering Committee, the NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee and the NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group.
As you can probably imagine, all of this keeps us very busy!
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been involved throughout this year in supporting, strengthening and enabling NatHERS to continue to deliver reliable and accurate ratings and assessments for Australian homes.
There is also still lots of work to be done to ensure that Australian homes are more comfortable for their inhabitants and residents are helped to save on energy bills, and to further strengthen NatHERS. So we hope you have a wonderful festive season and break, and we look forward to engaging with you again in 2018.