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If you’re building or renovating your home, you need to know about NatHERS star rating.

It may sound like red tape, but a high star rating increases the comfortability inside your home while potentially saving you a bundle in energy costs.

Without further ado, let’s dive into everything you need to know about NatHERS.

What is NatHERS?

NatHERS stands for the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme. It’s a scheme implemented by the Australian Government which aims to uphold design standards and make new homes more energy efficient. A NatHERS star rating gauges the thermal performance (heating and cooling) of a home using a 10-star rating system.

The system calculates the ‘shell frame design’ using NatHERS Accredited Software. NatHERS only accounts for the home’s design, not the appliances plugged into the wall. As NatHERS expands, there are plans for the score to include components like hot water systems and lighting.

Why should NatHERS matter to me?

Building or renovating? Imagine your home feeling cool in summer and warm in winter without artificial heating or cooling. As a result, you’re using less energy, thereby lowering your energy bills and carbon footprint. NatHERS can help you achieve this.

Is NatHERS mandatory?

Yes, under the National Construction Code (NCC), there are minimum requirements for health and safety in the design and construction of new homes in Australia, which includes NatHERS. If you’re building or renovating, it’s mandatory to get a home energy rating and NatHERS Universal Certificate issued by a NatHERS accredited assessor.

an energy-efficient home with a 10-star rating.

What is a good NatHERS rating?

The NatHERS rating scale goes from zero to 10 stars. The more stars, the less energy required to heat and cool, which reduces energy costs. A 6-star energy rating is a minimum standard in most Australian states.1 Anything six and above is considered a good score.

  • a 0-star energy rating means the home’s structure fails to cool the inside in summer or retain warmth in winter.
  • a 6-star energy rating is the minimum requirement in the majority of Australian states and territories.
  • a 10-star energy rating is the top score. A home with this rating may not need any appliances to cool or heat.

Your home’s rating depends on several design factors, including:

  • Building materials
  • Size of rooms
  • Dwelling orientation (shading from the sun and access to breezes)
  • Location

What are the design features of an energy-efficient home?

Great news; you can include many energy efficient design features at no extra cost or for minimal expense during the design phase. Here are a few features of note:

  • Northern orientation (captures the most direct sunlight)
  • Insulation in roofs and walls
  • Glazed windows and wider eaves and awnings for shading
  • Ceiling fans in communal areas and bedrooms
  • Roof ventilation

Frequently asked questions

What is a NatHERS certificate?

It’s a government certification that indicates the energy-efficiency of your home’s design. To receive it, a NatHERS accredited assessor must conduct an audit using NatHERS approved software at an early stage of the design process. After the assessor evaluates your home, you’ll receive a NatHERS Universal Certificate with a house energy rating.

How to find a NatHERS accredited assessor?

To get a NatHERS star rating, you or your builder or architect need to go through one of the following three Assessor Accrediting Organisations (AAOs) in Australia:

  • Australian Building Sustainability Association (ABSA)
  • Design Matters National
  • House Energy Raters Association (HERA)
Can I get NatHERS star rating for my established home?

Yes. If you’re thinking about renovations or you’re just curious about your house energy rating, then you can get one. Your NatHERS Accredited Assessor can review your house plans.

How much does a NatHERS star rating and certificate cost?

It typically costs a few hundred dollars; however, prices vary depending on the complexity of the design and the overall scope (e.g. single-family home vs a multi-unit development). If you want, you could request a free quote from multiple assessors and compare.

How could insulation affect my NatHERS star rating?

Insulation in the roof, walls and sometimes floors helps keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year round. Insulation can protect your home against cold in the winter and heat in the summer. Learn more about sustainable building materials.

Learn more energy-saving tips and tricks

Are you keen to lower your energy bills while reducing your carbon footprint? Check out more of our easy-to-read and informative pages on the topic:

Sources
  1. gov.au. What the stars mean. 2020. Accessed October 2020.

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