Ratings change to cut energy use in new homes

Australian Energy Ministers have agreed to a major change in energy efficiency ratings for residential buildings that will help cut their ongoing costs and put them on the path to net zero emissions. 

The overhaul to the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is the biggest since it first began 30 years ago and will support important energy efficient upgrades to new homes across Australia.

NatHERS provides a rating out of ten stars that takes into account the home’s design and all the construction materials (including walls, insulation, windows, and roofs) that are used to build a house. 

Now, for the first time, whole of home energy ratings will be provided accessing the energy performance of major appliances such as hot water, heating and cooling, pool and spa pumps, as well as solar energy generated onsite and battery storage.

This will provide a second rating out of 100 and will encourage home builders to consider the efficiency of the appliances they recommend to their clients.

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister said the changes will mean more homebuyers will have access to energy efficient and comfortable homes that cost less. 

“With more than 150,000 houses built every year, these efficiency measures will help constrain energy demand which is vital to support the economy’s transition to net zero,” Assistant Minister McAllister said.

“Energy efficient houses are more comfortable to live in – cheaper to heat in winter and cool in summer. They have new, high performance electric appliances that are more functional and can cut energy bills.

“We want more Australians to have access to these technologies.

“Much of the energy Australians pay for every year is wasted. Billions of dollars of energy leak out as hot air from poorly constructed buildings in winter, are lost up by inefficient air conditioners in summer, and wasted by old appliances and business equipment year-round.”

Australia’s residential building sector accounts for 11% of total energy, around 23% of electricity consumption and is responsible for around 11% of national greenhouse gas emissions.

The changes will reduce energy use in buildings and help with the reliability of the energy grid.

The major updates to NatHERS align with proposed changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022. This includes a proposed move to increase the minimum energy rating from 6 to 7 stars NatHERS equivalent and introduce a new whole-of-home energy budget.

To support consumers to make energy efficient choices, the Government is also introducing minimum energy performance standards for LED lighting and phasing out of the market inefficient lightings such as incandescent filament and halogen lamps.  

To see the updated rating system visit: NatHERS.gov.au