The 17 Things

Energy rating certificates are generated by software that measures your home’s thermal performance – the heating and cooling energy you are likely to need to make the home comfortable. An energy rating can be assessed by a building professional but is only accredited by an accredited assessor.

No 17: Home Energy Rating

The 17 Things

What Is It?

NatHERS certificate

The NatHERS House Energy Rating Certificate.

A home energy rating measures a property’s energy efficiency potential (thermal performance). Generally speaking (apart from in the ACT) the assessment of a building’s thermal performance occurs at the design stage of a home.  An energy rating can be assessed by a building professional but is only prepared by an trained assessor. To indicate how efficient the design of an existing or yet to be built home is, it is given a star rating between 0 and 10 stars.

Energy rating certificates (see image) are generated by software which looks at the heating and cooling energy you are likely to need to make the home comfortable. This is the thermal performance potential of the building.

There is a range of energy rating schemes in Australia. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is the most common national scheme.

Specific mandatory home energy rating assessments are as follows:

  • NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme): Minimum energy star rating is required for new homes under the National Construction Code. This tool can measure the thermal performance of a home at the design stage and predict how much energy the home will use to maintain thermal comfort. Only an accredited NatHERS assessor can provide a credible rating. AccuRate, First Rate, BERS software are the three main software programs used by industry for a NatHERS rating.
  • BASIX (for NSW only): This is an online assessment tool to implement minimum sustainability targets for all new houses, home units and renovations. It can be accessed by home owners and building professionals. It sets compliance benchmarks for water, energy and thermal comfort of a home and when these are met you receive the BASIX certificate.
  • EER (for ACT only): Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which uses the FirstRate 4 software. It has been mandatory since 1999 to provide a home energy rating for existing and new homes at the time of sale (see more information in Renovators Hub).

Standard of  Compliance for Homes in Australia

Currently, all new homes and some renovations by law in Australia must comply with minimum energy efficiency standards

The current compliance standard for new homes and apartments is as follows:

  • For new homes: 6 stars for all states except the Northern Territory which is 5 stars and NSW which uses BASIX (see question 1) rather than NatHERS.
  • For new apartments: 6 stars (average for all units) for all states except the Northern Territory which is 3.5 stars, Queensland which is 5 stars and NSW which uses BASIX (see question 1) rather than NatHERS.

The assessment is completed from a plan and the home is not reassessed once it is built. So if a property has received a rating it’s important to actually see the certificate to understand if the design has changed since it was originally rated. In theory a robust home energy rating should enable a home owner to make a more informed decision when buying, selling, renting or investing in property. The assumptions are modelled on an idea of an “ideal user” so don’t forget: how you use the home is important in realising the thermal performance of a high rated home.

Voluntary Energy Rating Assessments

Currently, there are many different home energy rating assessments available for the property owner to measure energy and/or and water efficiency. These reports are a great way to understand the strong and weak points of your home’s energy efficiency. To help you make sense of all the home energy rating tools (software) and the various degrees of detail they offer we have compiled an easy reference comparative table. It outlines all the tools available and their features; what they assess, their cost, and the rating they provide.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

The costs of running a home and the environmental impacts of heating and cooling can be reduced through good design and construction. Home owners can make use of home energy ratings to inform modifications to existing houses or in planning the designs for a new house so that many features included in the 17 Things™ are considered early and can be quantified at the planning stage through a scientifically based system.

A NatHERS star rating is calculated using software accredited for this purpose under NatHERS (this is the national ratingscheme for new homes). The software simulates expected conditions based on climate zone and other known factors about the location, occupancy and dimensions of the house. Allowances are made for different sized houses and different climates to ensure a fair comparison of buildings and consistent ratings across Australia. The higher the star rating score, the less energy required to maintain comfortable temperature within in your home – which means lower running costs for your home.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

You should consult with an accredited building designer, architect or accredited thermal performance assessor before you talk with your builder. That way, vital decisions such as building orientation to the sun, building shading, capture of natural cooling breezes and other site-specific considerations can be taken into account well before building design decisions get locked in. This simple step could make all the difference when making the single biggest investment of a home owner’s life.

Look for Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) or BDAV accredited assessors.

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

If you are buying, building or renovating a home and want to learn how to achieve better energy ratings, it’s a good idea to visit check the Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes. Understanding basic building sustainability and building energy efficiency concepts can make it much easier to discuss your needs with an accredited energy assessor.

What is the price range I can expect?

The price depends on the type and complexity of the building being considered. An accredited assessor will help define the price involved for an energy rating of your property.

A Thermal Performance Assessment (Star Rating Report) can range from:

  • Standard building design: $250–$600
  • Complex building design: $600–$1500+

Prices can also differ according to the energy rating assessments and certificates you want. For example, to provide a BASIX Certificate (NSW only) and Thermal Performance Assessment

  • Standard building design: $450–$650
  • Complex building design: $650–$1650+

These professional service fees fade into insignificance when compared to construction costs of the building, and the savings that can be made from reduced energy and water costs over the life of the building. A small initial cost gives you peace of mind that you have a real building performance professional working with you to provide a building that will be comfortable and efficient to operate.

Where can I find more information?

Download the free Liveability Easy Reference Table for a summary of the available home energy rating tools in Australia.

Download the free Liveability Easy Reference Table for a summary of the available home energy rating tools in Australia.

Currently, there are many different home energy rating assessments available for the property owner to measure energy and/or and water efficiency. These reports are a great way to understand the strong and weak points of your home’s energy efficiency. To help you make sense of all the home energy rating tools (software) and the various degrees of detail they offer we have compiled an easy reference comparative table. It outlines all the tools available and their features; what they assess, their cost, and the rating they provide.

For all new homes: See NatHERS website for more information about NatHERS energy rating.

For NSW only: See the BASIX website for more information about BASIX energy rating.

For the ACT only: See the EER for more information about BASIX energy rating.

For information about accredited assessor: See the ABSA and BDAV websites.

Liveability offers a great introduction to energy rating with more detailed information on the ACT EER program.

Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes and

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

If you’re in the planning stage, consult with your architect, designer and builder to make sure the property is constructed to the thermal performance listed on your energy rating certificate. Understanding what features are built will also help you understand the energy and water efficiency benefits in your home.

The energy rating of a home can be highly rated, but if it’s not built the way it is intended or the property features are not used correctly, you will not achieve the full potential for reduced running costs and increased comfort.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™

It is important to remember that an energy rating certificate is generated using information from a plan of the house not the actual final built home. Energy rating software uses detailed scientific calculations to arrive at how all the elements of a building work together to increase thermal performance. The program has been in use since 2006 so many of the homes which were originally energy rated may have changed hands a few times and may have undergone renovations or alterations which do not align with the original plan and the certificate.

Depending on the energy rating tool (software platform) used, the majority of the 17 Things™ will be found in a home with a high star rating. For instance: NatHERS (national) and EER (ACT) and the associated software focus on thermal performance of the plan stage of the house and encompass as the Liveability Features™ based on passive design principles such as No. 3 Orientation, No. 4 Cross-VentilationNo. 6 InsulationNo. 7 Density of Building MaterialsNo. 8 WindowsNo. 9 Shading or Sun Control. BASIX (NSW) encompasses the same features and adds water efficiency such as No. 15 Water Efficiency Devices and No. 16 Rainwater Tanks and the energy use of fixed appliances such as No. 10 Efficient Heating and Cooling DevicesNo. 12 Hot Water Systems, and No. 11 Energy Efficient Lighting.

The 17 Things™ are not an energy rating but they do recognise them. They are individual features which are verified in property appraisal inspections of a built home by a real estate agent or a property manager who has undergone additional training as a Liveability Real Estate Specialist. These features offer the potential for reduced running costs and increased comfort if used correctly by the occupant.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

What Is It?

NatHERS certificate

The NatHERS House Energy Rating Certificate.

Energy rating certificates are generated by software which looks at the thermal performance of the building. This is the heating and cooling energy you are likely to need to make the home comfortable. An energy rating can be assessed by a building professional but is only accredited by an accredited assessor.

Assessment of a building’s thermal performance at design stage by a qualified assessor can identify simple, economical ways to make it more comfortable and reduce utility bills. To indicate how efficient the design of an existing or yet to be built home is, it is given a star rating between 0 and 10 stars. At the moment:

  • QLD:
    • Minimum 6 stars for new homes and townhouses (class 1 buildings)
    • Average 5 stars for multi-unit residential buildings and renovation to units
  • NT:
    • Minimum 5 stars for houses
    • Minimum 3.5 stars for new flats and caretaker accommodation (Class 2 and 4 buildings)
  • WA:
    • Minimum 6 stars for residential buildings

In theory a robust home energy rating should enable a home owner to make a more informed decision when buying, selling, renting or investing in property. The assessment is completed from a plan and the home is not reassessed once it is built.

There is a range of energy rating software available in Australia. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is the most common and national software available.

State-specific mandatory assessments are: BASIX for NSW and EER rating for the ACT.
A home energy rating measures a property’s energy efficiency potential (thermal performance).

Mandatory Home Energy Rating Assessments

Currently, all new homes and some renovations by law in Australia must be energy rated. Existing homes do not require a home energy rating unless you live in the ACT, where it has been mandatory since 1999 to provide a home energy rating at the time of sale (see more information in Renovators Hub).

Examples:

  • NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) National scheme): This tool can measure the thermal performance of a home at the design stage and predict how much energy the home will use to maintain thermal comfort. Only an accredited NatHERS assessor can provide a credible rating.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

The costs of running a home and the environmental impacts of heating and cooling can be reduced through good design and construction. Home owners can make use of home energy ratings to inform modifications to existing houses or in planning the designs for a new house so that many features included in the 17 Things™ are considered early and can be quantified at the planning stage through a scientifically based system.

A NatHERS star rating is calculated using software accredited for this purpose under NatHERS. The software simulates expected conditions based on climate zone and other known factors about the location, occupancy and dimensions of the house. Allowances are made for different sized houses and different climates to ensure a fair comparison of buildings and consistent ratings across Australia. The higher the star rating score, the less energy required to maintain comfortable temperature within in your home – which means lower running costs for your home.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

You should consult with an accredited building designer, architect or accredited thermal performance assessor before you talk with your builder. That way, vital decisions such as building orientation to the sun, building shading, capture of natural cooling breezes and other site-specific considerations can be taken into account well before building design decisions get locked in. This simple step could make all the difference when making the single biggest investment of a home owner’s life.

Look for Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) accredited assessors.

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

If you are buying, building or renovating a home and want to learn how to achieve better energy ratings, it’s a good idea to visit check the Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes. Understanding basic building sustainability and building energy efficiency concepts can make it much easier to discuss your needs with an accredited energy assessor.

What is the price range I can expect?

The price depends on the type and complexity of the building being considered. An accredited assessor will help define the price involved for an energy rating of your property.

A Thermal Performance Assessment (Star Rating Report) can range from:

  • Standard building design: $250–$600
  • Complex building design: $600–$1500+

Prices can also differ according to the energy rating assessments and certificates you want. For example, to provide a BASIX Certificate (NSW only) and Thermal Performance Assessment

  • Standard building design: $450–$650
  • Complex building design: $650–$1650+

These professional service fees fade into insignificance when compared to construction costs of the building, and the savings that can be made from reduced energy and water costs over the life of the building. A small initial cost gives you peace of mind that you have a real building performance professional working with you to provide a building that will be comfortable and efficient to operate.

 

Where can I find more information?

Download the free Liveability Easy Reference Table for a summary of the available home energy rating tools in Australia.

Download the free Liveability Easy Reference Table for a summary of the available home energy rating tools in Australia.

Currently, there are many different home energy rating assessments available for the property owner to measure energy and/or and water efficiency. These reports are a great way to understand the strong and weak points of your home’s energy efficiency. To help you make sense of all the home energy rating tools (software) and the various degrees of detail they offer we have compiled an easy reference comparative table. It outlines all the tools available and their features; what they assess, their cost, and the rating they provide.

For an overview of home energy ratings, Liveability offers a great introduction to energy ratings. The Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes is also great place to start.

For all new homes: See the NatHERS website for more information about NatHERS energy rating.

To find a local accredited assessor: See the ABSA website.

You can also check your state or territory government’s website for the further information:

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

If you’re in the planning stage, consult with your architect, designer and builder to make sure the property is constructed to the thermal performance listed on your energy rating certificate. Understanding what features are built will also help you understand the energy and water efficiency benefits in your home.

The energy rating of a home can be highly rated, but if it’s not built the way it is intended or the property features are not used correctly, you will not achieve reduced running costs and increased comfort.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™

It is important to remember that an energy rating certificate is generated using information from a plan of the house not the actual final built home. Energy rating software uses detailed scientific calculations to arrive at how all the elements of a building work together to increase thermal performance. The program has been in use since 2006 so many of the homes which were originally energy rated may have changed hands a few times and may have undergone renovations or alterations which do not align with the original plan and the certificate.

Depending on the energy rating tool (software platform) used, the majority of the 17 Things™ will be found in a home with a high star rating. For instance: NatHERS (national) and the associated software focus on thermal performance of the plan stage of the house will encompass the Liveability Features™ based on passive design principles such as No. 3 Orientation, No. 4 Cross-VentilationNo. 6 InsulationNo. 7 Density of Building MaterialsNo. 8 WindowsNo. 9 Shading or Sun Control.

The 17 Things™ are not an energy rating but they do recognise them. They are individual features which are verified in property appraisal inspections of a built home by a real estate agent or a property manager who has undergone additional training as a Liveability Real Estate Specialist. These features offer the potential for reduced running costs and increased comfort if used correctly by the occupant.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

The 17 Things

The 17 Things

The 17 Things™ are property features that have the potential to reduce running costs and increase comfort if used correctly. You can discuss incorporating these into your renovation with with your architect, building designer or builder. The real estate industry is now identifying these Liveability Property Features™at point of sale or rent through agents that have completed additional training as Liveability Real Estate Specialists.