Regardless of which path you take to plan and design your home, at some point your house plans will need to be checked against the minimum state and territory building energy efficiency requirements based on the National Construction Code.
The most common way to meet these requirements is by getting a home energy rating done using the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).
A NatHERS Accredited Assessor can conduct your home energy rating, but it’s important to know that an energy assessor can also provide you with advice about how best to design and use your home to reduce its heating and cooling needs.
Using NatHERS effectively
Architect Sid Thoo recommends using the NatHERS energy rating to fine-tune your design, rather than just to demonstrate compliance. “Most people only get the rating done after all the major design decisions have been made or are locked in because of planning approvals that have already been received. This is a missed opportunity.”
“I recommend getting a preliminary energy rating done around the detailed design stage of the project, before anything gets submitted for a planning or development approval. These preliminary results can then be used to adjust things like room sizes, window positions and opening types and the size of eave overhangs to improve the overall rating. You will pay more for this kind of service, but an experienced and knowledgeable energy assessor should be able to provide advice on design improvements and changes that can save many thousands of dollars on the final cost of the build.”
Get more advice on how to approach a new home project in the Sanctuary magazine article Getting it right from the start: Dos and don’ts for your sustainable build or renovation.
As part of Sustainable House Day 2020, this webinar features experts from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to learn more about the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).
Owner-builder Matt Luthi chats to Zada Lau about his home, the Tamborine 10-Star Home in Tamborine Mountain, QLD for Sustainable House Day 2020. This house harvests more energy than it consumes, achieving a 10 star NatHERS rating.