An energy efficient property will maintain a steady comfortable temperature inside whilst incurring as little energy costs as possible. This is often best achieved by firstly improving the thermal performance of the property by providing high levels of insulation on all surfaces and adopting passive design techniques.
What is a NatHERS Thermal Performance Assessment?
A Thermal Performance Assessment determines a building’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature all year-round with minimal drain on energy consumption.
The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) was initiated in 1993 by the Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (later the Ministerial Council on Energy) to provide a standardised approach to rating the thermal performance of Australian homes.
NatHERS thermal performance assessments are the most trusted way to meet the minimum residential energy efficiency requirements of the Australian National Construction Code (NCC).
NatHERS uses a 10-point star system when rating a proposed new residential dwelling. On this scale, the higher the number, the more ‘thermally comfortable’ a home is, meaning less energy is required to heat and cool the property.
So, in effect, NatHERS assigns a star rating to a dwelling based on its ability, or lack thereof, to maintain a comfortable year-round internal temperature without excessive use of artificial heating or cooling.
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Navigating 7 Stars
The Australian National Construction Code released its most recent triennial edition in 2022 which stipulated that the minimum standards for NatHERS ratings be increased from 6 stars to 7 stars nationwide.
As this change will have a significant impact on builders, designers and homeowners, federal ministers agreed to allow a 12-month transitional period for these changes to come into effect on 1 October 2023.
As a result, the first to adopt the complete suite of new energy efficiency requirements will be the Australian Capital Territory on 15 January 2024.