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NatHERS – Thermal Performance Assessment

The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) provides energy ratings for new dwellings. This is helping create energy efficient, resilient and comfortable homes for the future that cost less to run. NatHERS has been upgraded to provide world-leading measurement tools the building sector can use to support the move to net zero emissions by 2050.

An energy efficient building 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. 

Why NatHERS Matters!

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 7 starsNatHERS accredits various tools for assessing and rating a home’s energy efficiency. These tools act as a ‘measuring tape’ to evaluate the energy performance of Australian homes.

State and territory governments rely on NatHERS for regulatory purposes, aiding the building industry in showcasing compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC). NatHERS has become the preferred method to validate adherence to the NCC’s energy efficiency criteria.

NatHERS is utilised by the finance sector to support green loans, encouraging the construction of homes that surpass minimum standards.

Additionally, it aids in disclosure frameworks and rental standards, ultimately enhancing the energy efficiency of residential buildings. This helps reduce bills, enhance comfort, and contribute to environmental conservation efforts.

What is a NatHERS Thermal Performance Assessment?

  • A NatHERS Thermal Performance Assessment determines a building’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature all year-round with minimal drain on energy consumption. 

 

 

  • 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.

 

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.

Navigating NatHERS 7 StarsAs 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 TerritoryQueensland and Victoria on 1st May 2024. Other jurisdictions will allow the use of the NCC 2022 compliant software during their transition periods.

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