With Australian building ministers expected to increase the required residential energy efficiency from six to seven stars for new builds, you might be asking exactly what that means. Here’s HOOD with the explanation.
Since 2010, new houses built in Australia have been required to meet at least a six-star rating on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), however new legislation is set to bump that requirement up to seven stars.
NatHERS is a scale from 0 to 10 stars based on home energy efficiency which takes into account factors like property layout, location, climate, insulation, design features, building materials, orientation and aspect. The higher the star rating, the better a home will be at using energy efficiently to heat and cool.
According to the NatHERS website, a 0-star rating means the building shell does basically nothing to regulate temperature, a six-star rating should mean good but not outstanding thermal performance, and a 10-star rating means the homes may not need artificial temperature control at all.
The proposed standards increase from six to seven stars could reportedly cut the thermal energy use of Australian homes by about 25%.
“Energy-efficient homes are more comfortable to live in, and cheaper to heat and cool. We want more Australians to have access to them,” federal assistant minister for climate change and energy Jenny McAllister tells The Guardian.
Around 1.1 million homes are expected to be built over the next three years, with the current residential sector accounting for around a quarter of Australia’s electricity use and about 12% of greenhouse gas emissions.
For those thinking about building a new house under the new energy standards, you’ll be glad to know that this shift should theoretically not impact your overall project cost too much. According to NewGen Solar, the changes needed to become a seven-star rated home are possible through innovative design and don’t necessarily require expensive construction costs.
NatHERS offers resources and breakdowns on exactly how their energy efficiency assessment software works, as well as explicit example floorplans for you to take inspiration from.
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